Another day, another scheduled meeting, another undercurrent of anxiety. Another time to note just how many unnecessary meetings come with a management position. Did we really need to wait around for fifteen minutes for a five minute meeting where we’re told that time management training is now available on the company intranet. Oh, and enrollment will be visible to the higher tier of suits. FFS!
It was in that navel-gazing period that I realized that while I had the usual amount of anxiety (for me) that came with being kept from completing what I believed were more important tasks, I was not afraid.
Have I mentioned that I am a fearful person? Not afraid of snakes or spiders. Not afraid of trying new foods. Somewhat afraid of heights but if I’m pissed off enough, I’ll get over it. Am afraid of failure and disappointment. (Insert a five thousand word rant about systemic abuse in American public educational systems.)
But this day, I was not afraid even though the point of the presentation was to let us know that we all collectively suck at managing. Whoever put the presentation together was self-aware of what they were doing, as the last slide included a joke that made the entire presentation the punchline. My laughter at that slide was genuine.
Once I got home and decompressed for the day, I reflected on this first week and realized that for the entire work week, I had no crippling fear. Anxiety? Present. Anger at stupid people? Yea, that too. Stress? Isn’t that what keeps the heart beating?
But unreasonable fear? That dark and clingy undercurrent that chews the warmth from my legs and makes my joints ache? That background noise was absent all week.
The only fear I recall experiencing was a result of external stimulus. A coworker botched a backup and for ten long and agonizing minutes, I thought the archive of fifteen years of committee minutes had been irrevocably deleted. That’s a cold pit in my stomach, for sure. Idiot on the freeway trying to race in the rain, hit a shallow puddle of water, and started to spin out in front of me. It was hard to remember the fear as it was completely smothered by the near incoherent rage and desire to unmake the driver’s physical form, but yea, it was there.
Meeting with the new
corporate overlords vice president and division manager and knowing that when they heard about how I entered this industry, climbed the ladder with proven work, and earned my present position, they had raised their eyebrows presumably with doubt of my merit? Normally I would be hypothermic with fear. Instead I was complaining about the heat. I was okay.
I know it can be said that all the work I have been putting into rebuilding my psyche is paying off, and that a folded piece of paper in my wallet has no bearing on physical reality. And if that is what you want to believe, I am not going to waste your time.
But I am going to point out the purpose of this particular version of the SATOR Square:
“Carry this seal with you, and you will be delivered from all fear, and against shot to be further off.”
I’m going to split hairs and point out there is a difference between merely experiencing fear, and being crippled with fear. (This rant may be based on the limitations of the English language, which is another ten thousand words for me to properly express in said language.) All the fear I have felt since making and carrying the talisman, were sourced from conditions where said fear was an appropriate response. And that fear did not immobilize me. I felt it, acknowledged it, and kept going.
This talisman did not prevent me from experiencing any fear. Which is good. Some fear is necessary in life to function properly. I dare to claim that we all need a voice of caution and concern to make us pause long enough to make a well-informed decision, whether we’re deciding if to go skydiving, driving in the weather, or purchasing lunch. We need to regard if the thing we’re about to do is okay for us in the circumstances that we are in. That is experiencing fear.
As far as I’m concerned, the talisman in its present form is a success. I did not recite the magic phrase each day, but reserved it for the few times I needed a little extra help here and there. Tomorrow I’ll look through the Book of Oberon and other magic books I have for a sigil, seal, and/or symbol to add to the mini-book that will assist me with other mundane and boring tasks.