I was lying on the same couch I had been on for 7 days when I leapt up to avoid the shattering of glass from what had to be my bay window breaking. I ran out the front to catch the offender who obviously threw a brick or stone through the glass. Nobody. I inspected the damage. No damage. I spent a good hour searching for any evidence of any shattering anywhere around the house. Nothing.
Then I got a call.
I had been flown home from work the previous week from the remote site I worked on, deemed as non-essential staff, whilst the company used my accommodation for the executive team visiting. This was a week after I approached the whistleblower hotline to ask for assistance on behalf of a teenager who was under racial attack from co-workers. He came to me in tears, I helped. Confidence was broken and the retaliation was brutal.
In a parallel universe, at my desk, I had also discovered a large body of evidence pointing to misleading information. The shareholders annual general meeting was imminent and I had 17 pages of false data that I acquired from the back end of a system that I built, and that no one in my team had access to. I did this based on a pure gut feel when I saw numbers in the database change overnight. The last time I saw numbers that did not make sense the finance manager was arrested for pay rolling 4 highly paid phantom employees over 4 years, or so I found out later after a manager took the credit. I kept the 17 pages to myself, but queried the figures with my manager who said it was correct, no further discussion.
The call I received was a request to attend a psychiatric evaluation as my behavior was upsetting the team, the same team that had been bullying our token ‘social licence’ employee for months now, the same team who tormented and ran “a lesbian” off site months ago.
I was unattached. No family, no partner, no clubs, no belonging, just me. When you don’t fit into all the categories and labels the world has pre-prepared, you automatically become an ‘Other.’ People don’t like the ‘Other.’ It is too open to interpretation. The unknown does not sit well when most people want to feel secure and in control of their environment. The brain is like a database. When you design a database you create selection boxes to record your data. An open text field makes it extremely difficult to pull data into succinct reports for the purpose of trend analysis. Its messy and the ‘Other’ then becomes left out because it doesn’t group well. I did not fit into any pre-designed boxes. I tried some of them and felt oppressed in each one. I was a little of each with a large dose of me. But mass consensus is very powerful. My ugly duckling days were far from over so my exterior helped people comfortably pull out the label maker. Projectors were set up and pointed. I had already lost one job when I refused to “take one for the team” and date an influential politician that could pull some strings for the company, and another when I refused to date a VP. I left silently each time. My mind was highly developed, my spirit was alive, I just hadn’t found my voice in the masses, so I subconsciously and continually changed the goal posts. Just when they thought they had me sized up, about to plaster that label on my forehead, I moved. People did not like this.
I attended the psychiatric assessment and was reported to be an extremely resilient individual, rational, enthusiastic, open, but perhaps slightly intimidating to others. A second opinion was sought, from my team. The colleague whose advances I rejected said I was promiscuous. The colleague who I confronted for discriminating comments said I was not a team player. The colleague who put in about 1 hour of work a day said I was lazy. The colleague who I angered by not joining a ‘woman’s group’ said I was too aggressive. The list went on. Lawyers were consulted. All my employee privileges revoked. I was called in and asked to resign. I won’t lie, the thought of making it all go away by walking away crossed my mind, but this time something inside me started to roar. Other things started happening around this time also, which is another story altogether. I said no. This cycle went on for weeks. In those weeks I built my strength. Rather than go mad at all the injustices, I ran off the anger before the sun rose, I ate only organic food, I stopped drinking, I danced to my most uplifting tunes, and read inspiring books. Besides the gossip mongers who tried calling me I had no other contact with the outside world.
Weeks later, as Venus began its passage in front of the sun, I sat in a board room opposite the company’s management team. It was final, I was being dismissed. I sat there alone, calm. When they had all had their say, I spoke.
Looking the general manager directly in the eye I reminded him about the promise he made to all his employees, the one that was signed and hung on office walls, and the one he delivered with passion to us on our first day with the company. I then pulled out my wildcard. I lay 17 pages on the table. I explained what they were and stopped to allow them to take it in. I stared long and hard into the crimson faces of 8 fools. I stood up and walked out.
Later that day I could not feel the ground beneath my feet as I walked over to the solar filtered telescopes they had set up in the city center. There I saw the most glorious thing, a little black spot moving over the sun.
Did you know you can hear planets?
Rise Against – This is letting Go
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