Eventually, I decided to leave the main campus and transfer to the school of marine science where I completed my M.S. and Ph.D. This meant that I no longer had her as my major advisor. But we parted on friendly terms and years later, there she was. I stood politely while she was talking to someone, waiting my turn to say "hello". I stood there for over 15 minutes without so much as a eye flicker of acknowledgment of my presence. I felt hugely uncomfortable and small as time dragged on. Eventually, I began to inwardly fume.
In hindsight, it was my shortcoming to accept the unacceptable and not simply wave at her and move away. I stuck around, feeling as if I were a bother, and was critical of myself while building a resentment towards her. That situation taught me a lesson that I still remember. I no longer want to be around or cater to the inflated ego of someone.
Sadly, I've seen this kind of behavior at meetings as well. Newcomers show up and seem to stand off at a distance, not really knowing what to do. Or they may flee from the room quickly so that they don't interact with anyone. It's hard to walk through the doors into a complete room of strangers and admit that you have a problem related to alcoholism in a loved one. I know that I was sensitive to the critical scrutiny of others and worried a lot about being judged when I first started in Al-Anon.
I remain uncomfortable around people with inflated egos. I like to introduce myself to newcomers and welcome them before or after the meeting. I appreciate anyone who is genuine.
This week is my seventh Al-Anon anniversary. I passed it doing what I wanted to do most--go out on the boat. Next Monday, I will share my story at my home group. I don't know what I'll say but hope that it will be something that is encouraging to those who are looking for comfort. I feel a great deal of humility about where I am in life. I'm happy to not be engrossed in self so much that I don't remember what it was like to first walk in the rooms, to be the newcomer, to be the one wanting to find a friendly smile and an acknowledgment of hope.