Virtually real- Virtuellement vraie

Micheline Harvey: Virtual Assistant, real person/Adjointe Virtuelle, mais tout à fait vraie

In between June 18, 2013


As far back as I can remember, I’ve always felt like I was in between. Not fat, not skinny, not even thin, just something in between. Chubby from some angles, athletic or muscular from other angles, or just a little too soft to be considered thin. You see, I’m only 5 feet 2, and believe me, you don’t have to eat much at all to fill this up.

This in between state has never been comfortable for me.

When I was a little girl, I remember standing on the playground with the sun at my back, casting a slightly elongated shadow in front of me. I’d twist my legs together to make it look like my tall, thin shadow was wearing a mermaid gown and I’d toss my hair behind my shoulders so that my shadow would look like she had straight, thick, long hair like Cher. In reality, even my hair was very so-so. It was thin, poker straight, baby fine and ended up full of split ends when it hit my shoulders.

In the mirror, the image I saw has always been okay, but not quite beautiful. Not interestingly ugly either. Just in between. Why couldn’t I at least be interestingly ugly?

Oh how I longed to look like Brooke Shields when I was a teenager, with those gorgeous eyes, tall thin build and those fabulous eyebrows. I tried to mimic her “nothing comes between me and my Calvins”, but I ended up looking like a sausage stuffed into the jeans, that were always just a bit too long and that I had to roll up. Rolled up jeans are not sexy.

Sometimes I wished for a prominent nose, skin that would tan deep and dark, because my skin tans, but only very gradually and you can’t tell unless you see the actual tan lines, so that too is sort of so-so and in between. Besides, I don’t go out in the sun much anymore.

It was as if someone tried their best to erase me, to make me nondescript, but didn’t quite succeed, condemning me to the in between, forever.

Two years ago, I tried a fad diet and lost 17 pounds. I felt fantastic. My collarbones stuck out, my clothes were loose, I actually felt confident in skinny jeans. I even kept the weight off for over a year. But then I started eating real food again, the pounds crept back on, and now I’m back to… in between.
In my defense, I work out, I do cardio, I eat well, I have pretty good muscle tone. I think the goal is being healthy.

You’d think that being exquisitely beautiful or very large would be exhausting. To tell you the truth, I think being in between is worse.


Big decision number 3 – Not worrying about what other people think February 10, 2013


I had an AHA moment during my recent trip to Cuba in January, when I turned to my husband and said “That’s it! That is my Big Decision Number 3. Please remind me to blog about this when we get back.” Well, of course either he completely forgot or he wasn’t really listening (I vote for option 2), and I really need to carry a pen and paper around or something so I can write, even when I’m on a tropical vacation, because whatever it was slipped my mind as well.

Of course, at the moment I was still angry at him for acting like a toddler and having a temper tantrum about an outing we were supposed to book while on vacation, so perhaps it wasn’t really a Big Decision, but more an immediate reaction to the situation.

No matter, Big Decision Number 3 snuck up on me on its own, perhaps with the help of Big Decisions 1 and 2 that required much effort on my part and are still ongoing. This time, it was natural.

Big Decision Number 3 is not to worry about what other people think, or at least worry less about it. Not that I am obsessed with what other people think. I’m able to be silly, even in public, laugh at myself and I’m not that easily embarrassed. But I have always been self-conscious, and believed that people watch me and see just about everything that I do. In reality, most people are quite oblivious to what is going on around them. Unless it involves them directly, they mostly don’t give a crap.

This may sound silly, but feeling like this has kept me from trying or doing many things, and I’m sure I missed out on quite a few opportunities specifically because of this tendency to be so self-conscious, unsure, much too preoccupied with what other people might think, and afraid.

Well, today I can honestly say that I don’t feel like people are watching me. Also, I don’t really care what they think if they are looking at me. I had proof of that just last week when I brought my lunch to the research center on Tuesday and the only plastic bowls that I had to mix my oatmeal and my soup in were a Carmen Campagne bowl for little kids and a Disney Princess bowl, both very flashy and ridiculously juvenile. Normally, I would have waited for the staff kitchen to be empty to prepare my meals and wash my bowls. This time I didn’t even give it a thought. I marched right into the full staff kitchen and did my thing in full view of all the young lab employees, without a care in the world. I OWNED my silly kid bowls and did not care.

This may seem like nothing to you, but it was a significant step forward for me.

As a reminder:

Big Decision 1: Severing ties with a major client.

Big Decision 2: Letting go.

Big Decision 3: Not worrying about what other people think.

Stay tuned for Big Decision Number 4!


Me time/Du Temps Pour Moi October 27, 2010

After weeks of being extremely busy with many client projects and endless things to do at my on-site office with next to no time at all to myself, this week ended at a more “normal” pace. I handed in several projects that were due, put finishing touches on some ongoing things, tied up loose ends and sent my on-site client on a trip very, very far away for a few days.

Suddenly, I actually had time where I could work ON my business instead of IN my business. I was able to spend time on personal projects that had been put aside, to write, and to work on my ongoing plans. I even had time to read and take care of myself.

The funny part is that I was sort of bewildered for a moment, unsure, confused. And I must admit that I was also a bit afraid. I felt that all too familiar fear that everything might come to a halt and no more projects would come in. I felt the urge to make calls, send out e-mails, do some PR to drum up business for the week to come although this makes no sense, as the work always comes in.

A healthy balance is important, as is taking time for oneself. I realize that even after three years of being an entrepreneur VA, I am still in the process of learning this lesson.

One day, I’ll be a me-time expert. This is my goal.

*Upon posting this, the author already had new projects in her queue! 😉


Après plusieurs semaines extrêmement occupées et remplies de projets de pige et de tâches à accomplir pour mon client « sur place » en ayant presque pas de temps pour moi, cette dernière semaine s’est terminée sur une note un peu plus « normale ».  J’ai pu terminer et remettre plusieurs projets qui étaient dus, ajouter des touches finales ici et là et envoyer mon client « sur place » pour un périple de quelques jours dans un pays très, très lointain.

Tout à coup, j’avais du temps pour travailler SUR mon entreprise et non seulement DANS mon entreprise. J’étais en mesure de terminer des projets personnels qui avaient été mis de côté, écrire, faire avancer des projets mis sur la glace et mettre sur papier des idées. J’avais même le temps de lire et de prendre soin de moi.

Curieusement, je me suis sentie un peu déboussolée, incertaine et confuse. Je me suis sentie aussi un peu effrayée. J’ai alors ressenti cette peur irrationnelle mais trop familière que tout s’arrête complètement et que je n’aie plus du tout de projets de pige de mes clients. J’ai alors eu envie de faire quelques appels, transmettre des courriels, faire des relations publiques afin de faire entrer du travail pour la semaine à venir, et ce même si cette réaction est insensée, car le travail finit toujours par entrer.

L’équilibre c’est important et prendre soin de soi l’est tout autant. Je réalise que même après trois années en tant qu’entrepreneur et AV, je suis encore en apprentissage de cette précieuse leçon.

Un jour, je serai une experte du temps pour moi. Ceci est mon but.

*Au moment de mettre ce texte en ligne, l’auteur avait déjà quelques projets dans sa file de production. 😉