Somewhere in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Sometime in December 2019
A few days ago, someone I truly respect and also fear a bit, which inevitable hinders me being natural in front of him, told me, that I have a dangerous combination of putting high expectations on myself while lacking the protection from external (let me add also from internal) factors.
What happened is that someone who has been around a lot, lived enough and I do believe have this ability to see through people and knows how to use it for his benefits, just poured out the truth about myself that I sensed but never had the courage to formulate in words.
Do you know your combination?
It was a time when, as all facades must do with time, mine was crumbling. I did let it happen, thinking, come what comes. So people like him who do not just look but also see could start noticing my real self through the cracks.
We did not plan that chat, it happened, as many defining moments, just by the utter chance or fate, call it what you want. He also gave me a tip on how to survive the Complexity that was coming upon me and that I was by no chance ready to face. I was glad and the tip helped me a lot. He also mentioned there are some people, obviously unlike me, who could be called Teflon. Nothing sticks to them.
Let me tell you about two moments, decades and lands and social layers apart, where insect plays the main role:
As a kid, spending almost all school-free days at my grandparent’s house (Mum, what have you been doing all that time?), I grew fond of nature and animals. I used to almost go mad about saving all the drowning insects from the surface of our little makeshift swimming pool. I would wake up and run there, pulling one by one out, focusing mostly on wasps and flies, because no one seemed to like wasps and flies opposed to bees and bumble-bees. I was in a hurry thinking if I am a few seconds late, I am responsible for their deaths. Somehow, naturally, I gave up. I mean there were so many tree houses to build, neighbor’s gardens to explore, fields and forests to be conquered. Life went on and insects had to keep dying.
Last winter, I was on a business trip with my colleagues in south Germany. After a long day spent in a supplier’s meeting room overlooking the snowy slopes with neat houses and in the production halls full of metal pressing and metal being bent, we were coming back to the hotel. We walked into the elevator and there was that thing that looks like a big mosquito and lives very short. It was struggling at the bottom of the elevator.
What did I do?
Without thinking I stepped on it because I did not want it to fly up and touch me. All of my male only colleagues looked at me horrified and asked: Why did you do that?
Why did I do that?
As Ina Wroldsen sings in her song Mother: I’ve been chasing dreams and sparks but on the way, I lost my heart.
Coming back to that unplanned chat I mentioned at the beginning, where the man was trying to help me see how I can further strive in a corporate world, how I can turn the mess and craziness to my advantage (and I am very grateful for his sincere intention to help), yet I failed to convey the message to him that I am fed up doing things for me and that I wish to include others more.
I am learning that people, as well as insects, will keep on dying and that I am not responsible unless intentionally stepping on a confused living individual.
That little struggling thing at bottom of the elevator was called True Crane and unlike mosquitos is harmless. Sorry, true crane from family Tipulidae! You just wanted out of that elevator. I know how it feels being stuck in a place you do not want to be.
So, are you Teflon or a wasp savior?