Brave

I was brave today.

Not Brave, like a mythical Scottish princess in a tantrum.

I am not now, nor ever have been, a Scottish princess. At least, to the best of my knowledge I have not. I have no affinity for tartan, although I don’t mind haggis or bagpipes, but am neutral on the Campbells. Sigoth meanwhile can trace his ancestry back to the Ancient Kings of Scotland via Rob Roy McGregor, which means the Offspringses may have Scottish princess in their veins, in a more or less diluted form. I, however, hail from different stock, more English, more Southern, more stiff upper lip.

So I was brave with a small b, but also in a big, heart-thumping, screw myself up to it kind of a way. Worse than a sack full of spiders, worse than an attic full of wasp-nest, I had to talk to someone about my feelings.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am of the IT Project Manager persuasion. This means people think I am logical, rational and reasonable. No doubt any one of you who reads this blog will be able to tell them better. EBL is a right-brain mess of emotion and fanciful ideas, popping and fizzing with little structure or coherence.

In every test known to humanity I score right-brain, creative, intuitive to the extreme. I’m not just a bit that way inclined. I am X-treme with a capital X. Yet I work in a job requiring logic, process, and structure. I can even do those things passably well.

Partly people see what their prejudice expects. It’s enough of a shock for some people that I am blessed with more than the usual number of X chromosomes for an IT goblin. After that they redefine me as a weird bloke in a skirt. I comfort them by drinking beer, watching rugby and laughing loudly at my own jokes.

Being expected to behave a certain way can result in behaving in a certain way. You need processes and structure? Fine, I’ll give you some. Then when I get home I kick off my shoes and knit, or write, or teach myself Anglo-Saxon.

Hwæt! Þū willt leornian Eald Englisc? Yes, actually, it’s fun. And the poetry is magnificent.

Whatever the reason, I have learned at work to be a veritable Vulcan. Sometimes due to the need to control excess emotion I have to meditate or perform the Kohlinar (on this planet, also known as having a nice cup of tea), but otherwise I try not to let my feelings get in the way. My colleagues think I am thick-skinned.

Today I had to talk to someone about how I had been feeling about a problem at work. It took me days to summon up the courage to do so, but after three sleepless nights in a row I knew I must. I didn’t have the opportunity until mid-afternoon because of meetings, and the fear of it prowled around me all morning. I couldn’t eat lunch. I barely tasted my cup of tea. I refused to look at emails in case the person had sent me one that I had to answer. I rehearsed what I wanted to say, doubting that it was really a problem, doubting that I was allowed to feel like this, but then recognising finally that if I wasn’t sleeping and felt sick it might be important. Eventually I called.

My dears, I look back on that phone call now and it was such a little thing. We talked and I felt better.

How big I make these problems, which are in reality so small.

So, today I was brave. In being so, I took a small step on the path to peace. One day I may be able to take another. And if I can do it, so can you.

Namaste.

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