Posted by: terrapraeta | February 25, 2010

The “F” Word

Lucretia walks into a room.
Because she does it’s not the same room
The one she wanted to be in
She says, “Everywhere I go, damn! There I am.”
And I just want to walk away
Won’t you let me walk away sometimes?
Won’t you let me walk away?
Every one of you is fired
I’m just an ordinary guy
And all I want is to be loved – is that so wrong?
Don’t think that I don’t know what you’re saying about me
I hear it all through these thin walls
And I just want to walk away
Won’t you let me walk away this time?
I just want to walk away

Ben Folds, Fired

So once more I find myself unemployed. I probably shouldn’t put it that way – it has been a while since I was in this situation and I have rarely stayed unemployed for long. But even so, this is how it feels. As I find is the case, over and over, when something happens in my life I not only feel the current emotional reactions to my situation, but I feel also the emotions from every similar situation in my past. So my thoughts are drawn to prior experiences of losing a job, or having to walk away from a job, and the complicated motivations driving those previous experiences.

Sometimes, I have spent a lot of time soul searching, to resolve prior experiences so that they do not unduly influence current and future experiences. The time that I spent with “my honey” breaking down my past and his, trying to find a future path for us together, and coming to understand myself so much more fully was very much about letting go of our past. So today I wonder if I have more of this to do. But honestly, I don’t think so.

Last week, when the difficulties at work arose, there is no doubt that my emotional response was heightened by the similarities between my relationship with my most recent boss and another I had some years back. So part of the anguish was residual. But rather than that residual pain driving my choices, I think it helped me to understand that I could not, should not, attempt to internalize that pain, nor pretend that it was less important or less real than it actually was. Because in my prior experience once the betrayal occurred, there was nothing I could do to stop the process of disintegration. I tried. I failed. It merely hurt me more. So this time I was able to stand up, expose the depths of my feelings and allow the situation to unfold naturally. This is probably why I ended up fired. Because I did not hold back or pretend that everything could be okay. Not without significant contribution from them toward healing. They were unable to make that contribution and so I no longer work there. Perhaps, in some months, we will be able to talk and even be friends once more. But if I had hidden from them how serious the situation was, for me, then we would have descended the spiral until there was nothing left between us.

Dave, today, wrote about people he has met, and spoken with and actually been attentive of: how they all seem to be “broken” and asks if we all are. Yes. I’m certain we are. He writes:

We have all been conditioned, by parents’ reprisals, by the school system, by peer pressure and by the work world, to hide what we feel, to suppress it, to take on a more stable and mature persona than the one we really are. We assess people as a result by their demeanour and their appearance, by what they do rather than who they are underneath all the gunk they have taken on to act out the identities expected of them, the only identities tolerated in this harsh, homogeneous and judgemental society.

That is truly the core of it, I think. We hide ourselves away, ofttimes even from ourselves. We pretend we can deal, we pretend we don’t care, we pretend that we are on it and got everything covered. And each time we do, a little bit more of who we are dies. When part of our self dies, I don’t think there is any way to bring that part back. Yet when we begin to develop authenticity in ourselves, with ourselves and with the world around us, other, unknown parts can emerge and we can, eventually become “whole” again, even if it is a different whole than it might have been at a prior point in our lives.

Relating it back to my experiences this week, one of my strengths, particularly in the eyes of my employers, has always been my “cool head.” I rarely get angry. I rarely get stressed out, especially by my job (my breakup with Eddie occurred during the time I was employed on this job. Both of my bosses, and several of my coworkers saw quite a bit of the anguish that I experienced during that time. But it did not affect my work – my work was, in many ways, my sanity. The casual interactions with my customers serving to bolster my mood, distract me from things I could not change, and ultimately, keep faith in myself. And so, when the explosion occurred between my boss and myself, they saw the other extreme of my personality; the honest, deep emotions that such extreme circumstances evoked in me. I think, partly, they let me go because they were afraid of the damage those deep emotions could do to me. In reality, releasing those deep emotions, letting them witness my pain, was a healing step. But just as honestly, if nothing changed, then the emotions would also never heal. So they were probably in the right, whether for the right reasons or not.

Dave closes the article by asking:

How do we do that? It has taken a lifetime of practice to appear to become (and to the point we have taken these false identities seriously, to really become) someone we’re not. What ‘healing’ practices will it take for each of us to become who we really are? In this world where money is valued too highly and time not highly enough, can we even make enough time for such practices? What will others think and say and do if we start to become our true wild selves again? Will they fight us or follow us? Is this the first step, perhaps the only needed step, to walking away from a civilization that no longer serves us and which is destroying our planet?

Long time readers should already know some of my answers to these questions. I have written about my own process of coming back to myself. I did have an advantage; once upon a time I was my true self, although much more timid, lacking the self confidence and trust that I have since found. But it was (and continues to be) a long process. A difficult process. A path that no one else can help us travel – although certainly having people that love us enough to be supportive and at least attempt to be understanding does help. But yes, I think that as individuals, this is the single most important thing we can each do to move beyond civilization. It is not the only thing, but then, I have yet to find myself surrounded by others that have done this. So mayhap the combined effect could be inconceivable. I am absolutely certain that a group of people working toward community that have done this would be light years ahead of communitarians that have not.

My posting may be a bit unpredictable over the next couple weeks. I find myself somewhat cast adrift at the moment. I feel the need to get another job post haste. Yet, I have also applied for and expect to receive unemployment. I have a good job on the horizon, that may not come through for a couple months, and I hate the idea of taking a job and then leaving again in short order. But I also hate the idea of sitting at home for an extended period. Yet my son comes to visit in a few weeks and wouldn’t it be nice to not be working while he is here? But then would I be able to justify spending money while he is visiting? Issues I need to resolve in my mind so that I am not so scattered. So bear with me – I may post a lot, I may only post a little, but I will get my head together and get back on top of things before long.



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