`"You are flawed, you know that right?", the owner of the hostel told me.
"Of course I know, everyone has flaws and I'm no exception".
"Do you know your flaws?" he asked.
"It is difficult to see your own flaws, they are often in your shadow and you can't see them, you often have to ask someone else to tell them to you so that you can notice".
"But you should have some awareness into them, if you are not a complete idiot".
I smiled, yes, that's true. I volunteered my flaws:
"I'm a recovering people pleaser, I prefer to walk away from problems rather than to resolve them. I will often say what people want to hear, not what I really think".
"And you only think about yourself. You don't consider how other people feel". The hotel owner was upset because I showed up with $350 for a week stay, ending my volunteering responsibilities.
"And you are insecure and anxious. You are initially very friendly with people but then you want to backtrack and you hurt people doing this. You have trouble establishing boundaries. You are impulsive, you don't think things through. And people at your age don't change. You will always be like that".
I felt some truth in his words, it hurt a little bit and I grew a little bit combative. He accused me of not listening to him because I was interrupting and shutting down. I apologized and tried listening, but we were not going anywhere. In the end we agreed to a guest-owner relationship, so both my priviledges and responsibilites about being staff were terminated.
At 10pm, the last hour of my duty, I left the hostel wondering what I would do. I overheard bangs in the sky, it was Thursday and the fireworks show was on! I quickly biked to the shore and I was treated to a wonderful show. I somehow knew this was connected to what had happened before, "yes, I did the right thing" I felt it in my body, in my heart and in my mind.
Yet I had difficulty taking my mind off "my flaws". It no longer hurt, but with a little bit of perspective I could discard everything that was not useful or true.
It may take more time and effort, but people can change at any age. I'm a very different person today than I was ten years ago. The main impediment to change is thinking you can't change.
My decisions appear to be impulsive to other people because I tend not to communicate insatisfaction. I don't communicate insatisfaction because as a child I learned that expressing your needs will not get them met. I'm working on it.
The rest is true. Especially difficult to accept is my own insecurity, but I meet it in full self-acceptance and love.
By the end of the night I understood this was a gift. People rarely evade my defences to get to my core, in both love and in hate. Even though the words came out from a good hearted if not manipulative man, the source is divine and allows me to see there is still work to do before I settle down with the king archetype. I know soon I will settle in self-assured, confident, calm, mature energy of someone who has seen both hell and heaven on this earth.
Four days ago, the owner of the hostel fired a volunteer. I supported his decision as said person had grown bitter and I could see darkness in his heart. I knew I was in for extra work because most of the hostel's upkeep was done between the two of us, but I underestimated the time it would take me to complete his tasks.
He was in charge of making beds and laundry. Before doing his work I thought he had pretty relaxed responsibilities and his main virtue as a worker was simply hanging around and being friendly with guests. After he left, as I struggled to place a cover inside a douvet, I understood he was trained and effective at his work.
Additionally, my presence at the hostel during certain hours became more important, my schedule was assigned to be on duty from 5pm to 10pm, this interfered with my yoga practice, and more importantly I had agreed with the girl I like from yoga that next time we coincided at class we would grab a coffee afterwards. I don't have her phone number.
I asked the owner for a break on a Tuesday, which was when we were most likely to coincide. He granted permission and covered for me, but when I got to class she was not there. There was a waitlist on class, it was likely that she couldn't make it to class. I couldn't ask for a second permission at the hostel. That's when I realized I was caged. I refuse to be caged. I told the owner we needed backup, I could't do the work of two people. He refused. I brought up the fact that he wanted me to work five hours and the bed was $50 a night. He was "paying" less than minimum wage. He riled at this fact: I would rather take your money than your labor at this point. "Oh that's good because I agree, I would rather pay you too". He demurred, I pressured on the point: "How much time do you need me to transition into a paid guest?".
He stared a long while into emptiness before saying "I might temporarily close the hostel, I don't give a shit, I need a break". I left the hostel for the bank, I put a week's worth of stay in an envelope, I gave it to him, and that's when the previous conversation happened.