There are endless ways that one can measure a person or one’s self. One of my favorite songs makes special mention of this, ’525,600 minutes’ indeed. For a person with emotional problems I’m sure the answer is almost always ‘by whatever yields the least.’
For the time being I’m going to work on a series of blog posts that I’m going to call Disconnects. They shall have comments disabled as they are not for the purpose of open discussion. More simply they are musings, placed on this back shelf of the internet should someone ever find them of use or interest.
And my first musings are on identity… Or at least the measures I take of my own identity. There is room in this topic for identity politics, but oddly I don’t actually want to get into that. Rather this is about my identity and consequently how I measure it.
My father was a workaholic. Perhaps not to the most fearsome extreme where he abandoned his family for his job, but a wholly different extreme where he was incapable of leaving work at work. His job was his life, at work, at home, weekdays and weekends. He didn’t especially love his job, and made it quite clear that any job would get equal fervor… It was simply his concept of how to live. The few times that home life became a part of his life it was again through the lens of work.
This time it would be work around the house, home improvement, moving bedrooms, fixing cars. It didn’t matter so long as there was a project. Of course since these were not projects for his employer, not that that usually stopped him much either, his children were his swiftly conscripted helpers. Now this would probably not be so terrible if he didn’t have a temper and a profuse desire that things be finished in a single session or as close to it as possible. To be a slow moving and thoughtful child who didn’t always understand everything he said meant I endured a great deal of his anger as a child.
Yet in the end a lesson was instilled. He intended it to be along the lines of ‘You must work if you are to have worth’. I’m sure he would have been perfectly satisfied if that was exactly how it was understood, but as I said, I was a thoughtful child. My lesson, the enduring truth that I came out of my childhood knowing, was that your worth was equal to your work.
If your work is great, your worth is great. If your work is pointless, you are pointless. Is it wrong? This commutative relationship between work and worth is unhealthy at the best of times, destructive at the worst. I know few others who would find working as a middle manager of some corporation a suicide worthy state, but for me it certainly is. To be a germane worker has become a fate worse than death… Or rather always was in my mind.
Its self sabotage on a terrifying level. Yet it is a fundamental part of my existence. It instills in me a drive to excel or die trying, yet leaves me vulnerable before the worst of fate’s barbs. In reality, failure is always an option. So should I be seeking relief or thankful for strength I have found in adversity.
As is so often the case, I am quick to leap without a chute… And just as quick to reap the consequences.