Still Standing

She could not believe it.

She had come to the meeting, thinking that it would be easy. Most of her colleagues who would have to decide today, knew her. They knew, what kind of work she had been doing all over the years. She had been responsible for the monthly publication, which had been published regularly, every month, without delay, due to her committment.

And now? Nobody mentioned that. Nobody even mentioned her. Other people were nominated for the office, people with no experience.

She felt like running away, hiding in some secrete corner. “They don’t want you!” She could not think of something else. “They don’t want you!”

She slowly got up from her chair. Suddenly, the discussion stopped. People turned their heads towards her. She had their attention now. “What do you think you are doing?” When these words left her mouth she realized that she was not going to run away. She was going to fight. “I want you to talk about me. I have been doing this job for four years now, and I think that I did it well.” Ah, she felt much better now, though she noticed that her voice was trembling. They looked at her, some of them with a kind of guilty look on their faces. “But you know, I can pretty well do without that additional load of work. I can pretty well do without you!”

She could not believe that she had said this. Now she had got their full attention. Some of them definitely looked like pupils having just been reprehended by their teacher.

She moved towards the door. Then she turned round:  “I’m fed up with this discussion! If you don’t want me to do the job, I’ll just go and let you manage on your own!” “Come on, get back to your chair – we didn’t say we didn’t want you.” “Calm down, you know we need you!”

When she thought about the whole thing in the evening she knew that she had learnt one important thing: If you want something, you have to speak up. Don’t expect other people speaking for you!

This is a contribution to the “What you learn from Adversity” Group Writing Project over at


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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

18 responses to “Still Standing”

  1. Isabel Joely Black says :

    This is a great piece, Ulla!

  2. Emma Newman says :

    This packs such a punch, especially for someone who is always bad at standing up for themselves (me). I might have to chip in on that project, you’ve inspired me!

  3. Betsy Wuebker says :

    What happened next?!

  4. Joanna Young says :

    What a great story Ulla, and powerful lesson learned.

  5. Brad Shorr says :

    Ulla, You are an amazing storyteller. I felt like I was right there with you, feeling the discomfort, the bewilderment, the disconnection, the anger … It’s a story most of us, myself included, need to hear again and again. Thank you!

  6. Robert Hruzek says :

    Great story – told well, Ulla. I was there with you!

  7. Wendee says :

    Ulla – this is fantastic and so very powerful, inspiring! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  8. Ulla Hennig says :

    Thank you all so much for your kind words and comments!
    This is a short story, a piece of fiction. But something which happened to me last winter inspired me to write it.

  9. Count Sneaky says :

    My Dear Ulla, Forgive the Count for not getting back to you sooner, but he has had a disabling bout with vertigo this week and is running behind. Thank you for viewing my blog.
    I do like your work. This story seems to happen to us all and few have the ability to stand up for their position. Your blog should help others to stand up for themselves. This scares the hell out of them and they are usually unprepared to deal with forthrightness. I have spent a little while in your beautiful country and my father’s ancestors came from Hesse. Feel free to drop by anytime and I will try to keep you amused. My best. Count Sneaky

  10. Terro says :

    I’m wondering what happened next as well. Don’t you think she should have stayed around and faced the issue through? She expressed herself, a positive, but then retreated, or so it seems. She didn’t wait to hear any explanation or even criticism. I’d feel unsatisfied if I were she or even if I was one of the lumpen crowd who didn’t appear to appreciate her work. She might have found or won some supporters there.

    • Ulla Hennig says :

      I am sorry that I could not make it clear that she did not retreat, but stood up and spoke for herself. In reality, something like this happened to me, and standing up was the first step to get what I wanted – at least a part of it.
      I did not want the story to become too long and wanted to concentrate on the moment when she decided to fight for herself. But now, as I am reading my text again, I must admit that I should not have stopped where I did. Thanks for your comment, Terro!

  11. Terro says :

    Hi Ulla,

    I knew there had to be more to this. Thanks for updating me! It is important , I think as you do, to stand one’s firmly believed ground even if few or even no one comes to one’s aid.

  12. Ralph says :

    Hello, Ulla,
    this is great. Also the ending. Might everybody find their own continuation.

    No doubt that this is not fiction, but real life. The best stories still are written by life itself. This is my experience, and you have just proved this.

    The best way to write what is called fiction is to write about real situations and human experience.


  13. Alina Popescu says :

    Wow, great piece, Ulla! I could experience the exact feelings she was going through. And you make an important point: we need to work on getting what we need and deserve, instead of expecting others to think of us.

  14. Robyn McMaster says :

    Ulla, like you, I do not speak up often. What a great demonstration of just plain saying what you thought in the face of adversity. I used to take such things in the stomach, too. Thanks for sharing courage to speak up in the face of adversity.

  15. mother earth aka karen hanrahan says :

    Bravo for speaking it!! Bravo!

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