Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Strange Dream

This post was started over a year ago. It sat unread and unregarded in my Drafts folder, and today I decided to read it. So here's a blast from 11/11/2017.

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Here's what I remember about a recent dream.

I was late for a meeting and was punished. The punishment was that I had to take a shower; it was a stand-up shower stall and was in the meeting room. Glass doors and everything. Somehow I had to contribute to the meeting from that shower. I was naked. When the water came rushing out of the shower at an impossible rate, I was shoved out of the shower. Fast forward a bit. I finally broke down and said I couldn't work in that environment. When asked "what environment" I replied that I had to take a shower naked in front of my peers and the water came rushing out and I got flushed out. Worse the water was full of piss. I remember feeling doubly embarrassed by the realization that I had just told the world (at least, the people in the meeting) that I peed in the shower.

There's a lot to unpack there, and I won't try to. And at first I let this dream go; I put it aside as I fed the dog, ate my granola over skyr yogurt. Got dressed and drove to Starbucks. But that dream wouldn't leave. It stayed with me. So I thought about it, and I came to a realization.

That dream was spot on.

In my life (personal, school, work, whatever), I've always been prone to do whatever is asked of me. Need a task done? The answer is to have John do it. If I was on a group project and didn't agree with the direction we took, I didn't say anything, just went along with others and did my job. I go on the trips others want and I don't argue. Instead, in all of the above scenarios (and more), I am prone to later regret my lack of conviction. Sometimes the person we come to depend on is also the person we come to abuse. Not in a way we might typically recognize.

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I don't know why I didn't publish the post; probably fear of retribution, though it turned out there was retribution without the post ever getting published, so maybe I should have just pushed that "Publish" button and rolled the dice. But after re-reading this, I realize that nothing has changed. I am still the go-to, still the person who gets told to do things with little regard to the actual level of effort required. In the year that's elapsed since I wrote those paragraphs, I have done my best to be a better steward of my own time and sanity. Yet as I predicted to my not-yet-manager in August 2017, I got a bad review because of trying to take care of myself, because that meant doing less work than before, never mind that I worked hard to communicate the need for resources and help to finish tasks.

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. I am thankful to still have a job; I've been reminded that depression isn't an excuse for poor performance, and I recognize that. So I'm thankful to have not been fired. I'm thankful for a family that I love, including a child - no, a young man - that is a long way away at college yet still calls his great aunt every week, still calls his grandfather, and still makes time to call his mother and me. I'm thankful for friends who will meet me for coffee and beer and let me use their tools to make things, including a mess. I'm thankful I live in a city that's growing and vibrant. Thankful for too much to list.

Yet like many humans, especially those with The Affliction, I watch the sunset outside and see much of my life in it.

Here's to all that suffer and all that don't.

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