Sunday, December 16, 2007

Naked Reflections on my Naked Reflections

My notion when I began this blog was to 'nakedly reflect' my experiences and ideas. But I have such a poor opinion of my capabilities and I experience so many negative emotions as a result that many of my entries have been bleak and despairing and have probably turned away most of what few readers I ever had. This might not be so bad if I were writing this blog only for myself, but I'm not. While I'm not trying hard to entice people to read it, it would be nice if people liked this blog enough to stop by and read it anyway. But why would they want to if they encounter one depressing entry after another crying about my learning disabilities and their emotional fallout?

On the other hand, my learning disabilities or cognitive impairments along with their psychological repercussions have had and continue to have an enormous impact on my life, and to what extent does a blog that ignores this 'nakedly reflect' me? And if it does so only very little if at all, why not change the name of this blog to something else and write about other things?

Perhaps I could keep my entries impersonally philosophical or "spiritual," or I could write about myself only when I have something "positive" or uplifting to say. I have long thought that it's cathartic and, therefore, good to bare the pains of the soul. Yet, I'm coming to wonder if this isn't like, to borrow an Easwaran simile, wearing an unwanted groove in a vinyl record by tracing the same path innumerable times with the phonograph needle.

I'm reminded of "gangsta rap" or whatever they call it these days, of how its revolting, at least to my ears, concoction of monstrous misogyny, mindless hedonism, brutal machismo, and reptilian sociopathy is often defended as an "honest reflection" of life in the "hood" and of my questioning how people can rise above such an awful life by wallowing in it like a pig in slime. I don't have the answer to that question or to the question of how I can rise above my crippling impairments, self-doubts, and sense of helpless hopelessness by nakedly reflecting them here. Maybe I can't. Maybe I need to take another path with any blog that I continue to write. Or maybe I at least need to be a little more moderate or sparing in "reflecting" negativity about myself. I don't know, but I'm trying to work it out.

In the meantime, below is a very 'naked reflection' of how I felt at work the other night. I wrote it during one of my breaks. Since then, I've had times when I felt better and times when I've felt even worse. Over all, I think it speaks for how I essentially feel about myself and my (and my wife's) future when I allow or force myself to take an unsparing look at myself and at what I truly believe about my prospects.

I'm into my fourth week of my new job, and I wonder how many weeks they'll keep me on until they decide that I just can't meet the demands of the position. Am I being unduly pessimistic? Perhaps. But I struggle every day to understand the blooming, buzzing confusion around me and my supervisors' and co-workers' explanations of it, and I fail dismally.

As for executing certain tasks expected of me in a reasonable period of time, forget about it. One of my co-workers takes only 20 minutes to accomplish what it takes me two hours to do. This is no exaggeration. I can certainly understand how his five years on the job would make him more efficient and quicker at his tasks. But six times faster at such a relatively simple task as filing medical charts back into the wall in their proper places? No matter how long I stay on the job and no matter how much I gain in experience, I don't know how I'll ever be able to perform that particular task significantly faster than I do already.

And that pretty much speaks for all of the tasks I perform and for how much slower I am at most of them than everyone else, including those who haven't been on the job much longer than I have. And I'm referring now to those rare, simple tasks where I know what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel like dead weight in my workplace, and it seems to be only a matter of time until I'm treated as such. Still, I keep doing my best, watching what and how others do, asking questions, and taking notes so that, if it's at all possible, I can do better and stay around longer.

Because if and when I lose this job, how long will it take me to get another? And if I can even get another, how long will I be able to keep it until I'm let go again? I really feel quite hopeless right now. I feel as though I may well be incapable of doing any job that pays enough to help sustain my wife and me beyond a poverty level requiring us to count literally every penny we spend and be consumed with constant financial worries and stress.

I sometimes wish I had never married my wife. Not because I don't love her but precisely because I love her so much that I don't want to see her stuck with a loser for the rest of our lives.

I know I may sound extremely depressed right now, but I'm not. At least not in the stereotypical sense of choking back tears, feeling suicidal, or anything of that kind. It may sound as though I'm being unduly harsh with myself and pessimistic about my future. I don't believe that I am. I believe that I see my future with all too realistic clarity. Of course, Buddha said something to the effect that we are the result of what we have thought, and thinking that I'm going to fail in life could well contribute to my failing. But in my case I think it's likely to contribute about as much as a drop of gasoline to a raging forest fire.

Yet, even if the contribution is bigger than that, what do I do about my pessimism, especially if its based on reality? See a therapist? Been there, done that. It cost me a veritable fortune and did little if any good of which I'm aware. See a different therapist. I don't know how I can afford it. Get a doctor to prescribe me an anti-depressant drug? Will that make me any less incapable of meeting the demands of job and life than I am now? Any less likely to fail? If not, why fool around with my brain chemistry and perhaps mess myself up even more than I am already?

Well, I do plan to meet soon with a neuroscientist from the local university. His specialty is the neural basis and psychological consequences of learning disabilities in children. Even though I'm well past childhood, at least in a chronological sense, I wrote to him about myself, and he immediately wrote back expressing an interest in seeing me and exploring with me some possible research (and, perhaps, clinical) options. I don't want to get my hopes up and have them squashed. After all, what can anybody really do to help me or to help me help myself even if they can pinpoint precisely the nature and location of my brain malfunction and the type and extent of my impairment? Yet, I need to have hope in something, and I don't seem to be able to find it anywhere else at the moment.

Well, my break is over. Time to get back to my snail's pace of work and rock-like incomprehension of what's going on around me.

1 comment:

Night Stranger said...

If writing a blog is therapeutic for you, why not continue to do it? Some of us are impressed with the way you've approached an often difficult life, and stop by your blog just to see how you're an old friend we might actually someday meet in person.

I find the spiritual ruminations and daily adventures in spite of the debilitating "disabilities" inspiring in their way, and I always find myself wishing the best for you. It is in that spirit that I hope this new doctor will be of some real aid to you on your challenging journey.

We all wonder why we blog sometimes. It could just be a habit that grounds us, gives us greater clarity to our own life situations. I'm pleased that you share your life with me and others who happen by in this very strange medium.