I didn’t do it perfectly. But I did it.
I showed up every day and gave it what I had to give. Some days there was more to give than other days. Some days I did it with a smile. Other days I could only keep my eyes down, grimace, and get through.
I used what I knew to make good decisions and asked questions to figure out the direction to go when I didn’t know how something worked. I regularly offered my help, opinions, and intuition to big problems. I often struggled with the constant need to sell, convince, and persuade others to a position or decision. Selling my expertise was new territory for me…and stayed new territory the entire time.
I listened. I learned a lot through the process of listening to people different from myself. I listened to the insane, the brilliant, and the ridiculous. I learned to listen between the words. I learned to listen through the filter of this particular culture. I learned to listen with active ears. To really hear the people around me. Really hear them.
I laughed and made jokes as often as possible. I laughed and made jokes at times others thought inappropriate. I laughed and made jokes that others accused me of being poorly timed because what we were doing was serious. I laughed and made jokes as often as possible because what we were doing was NOT actually serious…not in the grand scheme of life and meaning.
I cried when I felt betrayed and belittled. I watched others cry when they felt that they’d lost the battle for the day. I cried with others who felt they’d lost the battle for the day because they’d been betrayed and belittled. Each day in this place was an opportunity to use my empathic nature and yet somedays the best thing for me…for everyone…was for me to turn it off. Or so I thought in the midst of the battle.
And a battle it was. An epic, armor wearing, word-weilding, battle for power. And many many days I forgot to wear my helmet. A lot of days I left my armor at home altogether. But the days I wore my armor, those days I won the battle but then hated myself for fighting at all.
Making friends in war…it can be done. These friends are heroes that you fight alongside. Ones who cover your ass or your face or whatever part of you happens to be exposed that day. Your heart? Your fear? Your mean spiritedness? They cover until you can recover yourself. And they are comrades forged in ridiculous circumstances. Comrades that you keep because only they understand the pain of this particular war.
Given what I know now, would I do it again?
It is done. I learned. I hurt. I grew. I received. All is well