I was warned on Wednesday, warned off revealing too much about myself.
“You should be careful Omani… this is a small country…word gets around… it only takes one person to put you in a really difficult position… especially if you’re looking for work…”
We were two bloggers in a Dublin hotel.
She knew what she was talking about from personal experience. I felt she had good reason for saying what she said. She’s not the kind of woman who doles out advice without experience behind the words. It made sense to me to consider carefully her point of view.
The Annual Irish Blog Awards (or is it “The Irish Annual Blog Awards” or even “The Irish Blog Annual Awards”?) are coming up. The nominations are in. The voting phase is next.
If this blog is nominated for an award - and it only takes one mad reader for that to happen…
If the short list were to incite a whole load of newcomers to log on here - and this happened to at least one blog last year…
If it chanced that those new readers swelled in sufficient number, and “the right kind of disposition”, this blog might win (or even be a runner-up) - and such improbability is not beyond the realm of possibility…
If Omaniblog wins, even an honourable mention, a journalist looking for a unique selling point might publish something - and, on a poor news day, media tycoons are always looking for a fresh headline…
The next thing that could happen is that Omaniblog might be in the firing line for questions about the author’s habits:
“So would you say you’re mad?
“How long have you been mentally ill?
“Have you a history of derangement in the family?
“How many drugs do you take every day?
“How can someone do business with you? Isn’t it true you might break down and go into hiding?
“Why don’t you do the same as the rest of us and keep your weakness secret?
“When’s the last time you let down a client?
“How do you know that your mind is your own?
“How could anyone trust you to say what you think, when what you think can be sometimes at the mercy of your nightmares?
“Ever felt you were a fraud?”
I’m LOL. Chuckling to myself @0612. As if there’s a good joke in there somewhere…
But this isn’t a funny business.
I have enough memory to know that, from personal experience and re-experience.
I remember the terror that the doctor might write “suffering from depression” on the medical certificate.
I remember the fear that my voice on the phone might reveal I was cracking or cracked up. When I phoned work to say I wouldn’t be in the next day, I might not be able to hide the real reason.
I well remember the first time “depression” got written on the sick note. I was past caring. Things within me were so bad. But I still had enough life in me to be really worried about who was going to read the note. I knew I had no control over what they’d say to others. I was sufficiently paranoid to ‘know’ that within hours everyone in the organisation would know about my breakdown. They’d all get emails from the personnel director to let them know that their worst suspicions about me had turned out to be true: I was unreliable… it might even be dangerous to be around me… they had better watch out… if (and thankfully if was only an ‘if’) I ever came back to work, the organisation would have had time to prepare its defence… its defence against risk of infection from looney Omani…
I remember those streams of unsubstantiated nightmare that I entertained during daylight, every morning.
The memory is fresh as a leaking wound. It was terrible thinking. I was very worried about my work finding out. I think anxiety was perched on fear of being out of control, being in a position where I could not control in any way what others would think of me, and what others would do with me, and what others might do amongst themselves to deal with me.
Ultimately I was scared that I would be out of a job…
… unemployable, fit for the dole and the park bench, the paper bag and the cider bottle, with flees.
Have I EVER spoken about the phantasy I’ve had since childhood: that I’d be a vagrant by 48?
So when my fellow blogger, showing nothing but care for me, said:
“Be careful. This is a small country and you never know who might say the wrong thing to someone…”
I remembered all those voices, my guardian angels.
And I left that hotel an hour later with an important conversation going on in my head.
To reveal, or not to reveal: that is the question:
whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
and by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
no more; and by a sleep to say we end
the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
that flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to hide;
to sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
for in that sleep of death what dreams may come
when we have shuffled off this mortal toil,
must give us pause: there’s the respect
that makes calamity of so long strife;
for who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
the pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
the insolence of office and the spurns
that patient merit of the unworthy takes,
when he himself might his quietus make
with a bare bodkin?
Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to drop out of the employment market?
… find a quiet corner where no one might notice me
become disabled on disability benefit and
take the tablets twice a day for the rest of my life?
Wouldn’t it be softer to transform from flesh and coursing blood to innocuity
Nto trouble folk.
To leave the world of work without the complication of conversation with the “mentally ill”?
The next person I met was John McCarthy. That’s another chapter and I suspect it’ll be a very long chapter.
Finally, for now, @0654, and the child sound asleep:let me wish Ben a staggering audition.
May he knock their socks off. May he enjoy strutting his stuff in front of a panel of judges who will decide whether he’s to be one of the fortunates, or misfortunates, shortlisted to stage two of the drama of applying to drama school.