I will try to describe the pain, or more precisely how it influences me. I think most of it is called PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don’t see it strictly that way; but I find the PTSD is close enough to a portion of the pain that I live with.
Every morning of my life, I was/am depressed. I think there were only a handful of days where I was happy when I woke up; and they generally have nothing to do with what the day is bringing. I mean I could be slated to go canoe-camping for 2-3 days with my best friends; it sounds like a blast. But inside of me, there is this stress, that never stops: I have to deal with people. And in this context I am often responsible for people. Although I love to share this experience, deep inside this turmoil awakens when I have to deal with people.
You have to understand how my relationship with other people started. First there was alcohol, which I was introduced to by 9 months old. Then there was sexual abuse (1.5 years old), and then beating (3 years old) and then drowning (3-4 years old). Trust me I tried everything to figure out how to avoid, I always though I was doing something wrong and so I was trying to find the right way to be. And so I felt guilty, and I felt like, all my life I was owing something to people. It was my fault. I was doing something wrong and this is why I was getting punished. What was I doing wrong nobody will ever figure out; because I wasn’t. But whenever I met with someone, friend, foe, casual meeting, I felt I had to deliver something to keep the danger at bay. I felt I had to meet their expectation. Not even once did I feel completely at ease. It never stopped. Ever; ever; ever. Where I felt it the most was when I was teaching skiing, or being a ski guide. In fact whenever I had to be the person in front, responsible. It felt like shit. I wanted to leave; every minute, every second before work would start all I could think about was an escape route. How do I get out of here now? I stayed, and I felt like shit. My belly hurt, I didn’t understand, I just wanted to be a ski instructor, a ski guide or a rafting guide like all other guides. But I was plagued from the inside by how I learned to interact with human beings from the get go, from my very family; from the very first people I interacted with.
And so whenever I have to interact with people I need to fight this inside. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Even if you are my long time friends, even if I have known you for 20 years and that you never asked anything of me. Every one of our interactions is going to be tainted by this perception. Which made me the ‘nice guy’, ‘always ready to help’, ‘always ready to give’; until I hit internal road blocks and back off completely, inexpicably. And then, why is he angry. Oh dear if you only knew what I have to deal with.
And so to all of my friends who have never understood my behavior, that is one huge piece of it. Maybe now you will understand better.
How did this influence my life? I always had a huge problem working in groups of people, having a normal job, dealing regularly with people. I wanted to work alone, I wanted people to leave me alone. I wanted people to let me do the work the way I intended to and pay me and interact with me a little as possible. But this comes into conflict with another important piece: recognition. How will I get recognition, which I really need, if people avoid me cause I make them avoid me? I haven’t figured that part out yet to be honest; I don’t know what to do about it. at all. Turns out teaching was wonderful; although I did run into problems because of my style (completely unorthodox) of teaching. You see I prefered having 100% engagement over structure. I figure people really learn while they are engaged. But some (anal) people felt the lack of structure as seriously disconcerting. They brought up stupid, crazy arguments against me; well one guy in particular. He would have preferred a boring teaching, who doesn’t engage you and is well organized. Truth is if you know where I am heading, do you need to pay attention? no. And so one goes against the other. I’d rather engage you, engage you so much you are standing on your feet yelling at the person typing on the keyboard in front as if you are assisting to a cock fight in mexico somewhere and about to loose 10,000$. And I did it, I got people who couldn’t care less about programming, about flash, 100% engaged about 70% of the time I had. I had 8 hour long courses. It’s pretty hard. I improvised the WHOLE WAY THROUGH. I gave exercises of different levels of complexity to everybody simultanously. And they learned. And it worked for 80% of people. In the end everybody passed the finals; and they had no material, I must have done *something* right no?
So I have these moments of anticipation, where I anticipate ‘dealing with people’ and it hurts so much I almost want to run away as if I will be tortured. But then once it starts, I settle in and I enjoy it thoroughly. If only I could fix the anticipation; because the torture has ended. I will not be tortured anymore. I am safe now. I AM SAFE NOW CALISSE!
Amen to that.
Oh I almost forgot. When I used to teach, and I taught a lot, I can feel the people in my class (provided there less than 15 of them) to the point where; lets pretend I am writing on the white board, my back facing the students. I can be writing something and when a question arises in one of the students behind me, the SECOND it arises I feel it. And so I won’t turn around, I’ll just ask, : “Kevin, what’s your question”. The thing is Kevin hasn’t even raised his hand yet, he hasn’t even decided if he is going to ask the question or not. It startles them… but after a while they get used to it. I seriously loved that part. hahaha!!