Prompt 23

How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

When a toy is wound up, it has to be released to get it moved, or it will be broken without performing its feat of vitality. Likewise, when stress is raised to the highest on a mercury thermometer, my body shudders in a quiver, and my hand turns to a white slate, inhibiting my speech faculty, which results in murderous migraines. It’s a genuinely psychosomatic experience, which makes me dumbfounded and speechless by a poisoned arrow to the heart.

Such is my present status of mind. The stress from working under a manager who lacks experience in leadership, patience, understanding, and knowledge is so high that going to work every morning feels like a daily ritual of torment. She belittles my ability by magnifying the mistakes I make. She constantly intimidates me in such a toxic environment that I see no point in demonstrating my capabilities to the extent possible. However, this ordeal of mental torture can’t go on any longer because it affects my physical and mental health. I deserve respect and recognition. So, I have decided to bring this issue to my supervising attorney, as encouraged by my colleagues at work, who have also witnessed the mistreatment by my manager. I will tell him on Monday that we are incompatible with working because of personality issues, which prevent me from performing my work to the extent possible. Even if my voicing out will bring about a counteractive result, I must tell it to him in defense of my abused spirit.

Shakespeare said, “We are not ourselves When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind To suffer with the body.” That is what I am experiencing, and because of it, I have lost my motivation to do things I used to love doing, such as writing and reading. Even if I lose a job, I want to let my crying soul be heard and protect myself from her ongoing raving rants like a foaming rabid dog.

“A Man Called Otto” (2023 Film)

If you run into Otto on the street or in a store, your eyes will see him as a grumpy old man who would cavil at one cent for everything. But if we look at him with the mind, he is quite a character for sure, and you will fail to dislike him once you know him and his secret. He is very good at fixing machines, from dishwashers to radiators, bicycles, and cars. He is also a fine babysitter and a great driving instructor. But as God is arguably fair in evenly distributing talents in us, Otto has a hard time mastering one thing: the art of killing himself. And boy, shouldn’t he thank God for such failed experience?

Otto is a lonely man in his sixties who lost his love of life and dear wife, Sonya, to cancer. Sadness comes not in a single spy but in the battalion, for he has just been forced to retire from his long-term job due to the juggernaut of changing generations at his workplace, as with other places. He has no children but himself, and as Sonya was the beacon of Light in his already reticent and shy life, he sees no light, joy, or meaning in life. The world suddenly turned grim and dreary. Otto is wrapped in his sorrow and besieged in loneliness under the roof of distress. We are privileged to look into the psychology of the destitute in the darkest night of the soul distressed in utter loneliness, which can be broken with a light of kindness and humor as shown by Otto’s new lively and lovely neighbors Marisol and her family. 

Humor is a handmaid of Hope, which Otto needs on the dark night of his soul. So, as the name suggests, Marisol and her pleasantly vivacious family bring the beauty of Sea and Sun to Otto’s Dungeon of Despondency with lots of laughs followed by tears and more laughs that will make anyone harnessed with a yore of life lightened. And since Otto is secretly a big-hearted person – literally and clinically – he slowly but surely warms to the warmth of friendship and love and shows his true colors as radiantly gorgeous as afternoon sunshine showering the brilliantly golden orange trees in summer. Oh, and there is a homeless cat that seems to be Sonya’s familiar in cat skin sent by her from heaven to be his company.

Otto is one lucky person to be surrounded by a loving community of neighbors, who becomes an alternate form of a family with emotional support and care, often overlooked and ignored by overtly advocated individualism with no face of humanity. Indeed, that doesn’t mean returning to agrarian society or something to the effect of the notoriously puritanical Salem, where everyone cast a jaundiced and suspicious eye on the targeted loner in the community, with trademark gossiping and ostracizing. Showing care shouldn’t be complicated because one can just say hi by trying to understand why the person behaves the way they are. I believe that is how we can prevent suicides by detecting sadness from the person instead of devolving the person to a therapist or counselor or ignoring them as if they were invisible or a burden to care. Just like Marisol and his family have shown, Light defeats Darkness. And everyone deserves Laughter.

i speak

Look not with the eyes but with the mind

To write a litany of daily woes is not my priority, nor do I feel proud for sure, but if I just bear it with a grin today, I may fall apart. So, I want to leave it in words. After all, I am my own counsel, defending myself against injustice and abuse forced on me just because of who I am.

It’s been over two months since I started my new job as a case manager’s assistant at a personal injury law firm. I like my job, and I am a good worker, always willing to perform my tasks given diligently, even if I may make mistakes because I am also learning a new trade on my own. But my case manager denies this, magnifying every mistake I make as if it were fatal because she is relatively new, feeling overwhelmed by a heavy workload. She vents her frustration upon me, assailing my introverted personality, diagnosing it as a mental case, and belittling my entire personal ability and outward appearance. Besides, she mistreats me with contempt and criticism under the pretext of toughning my sensitivity. Everyday is like being in a toture room of the Inquisition.

Today she told me I did not comprehend English very well, upsetting her. That was a massive mental blow akin to verbal abuse enough to dispirit my will to write and read. True that English is my second language, and due to my insufficient social interaction with others, my verbal expression may seem inhibited. Still, I have a BA degree in English from Rutgers University with a decent GPA, and my letters to an editor of a British history magazine have been published more than five times. In addition, my book review of a certain well-known novelist got a raving compliment from the author himself. Yes, I am proud of these facts because I love the English language and always strive to be a better writer. But to hear such a callous rant from her plunged my spirit so low that I could not help but sink into the abyss of finiteness, then into a pit of the bottomless pit. People told me to be tough, but that’s disrespectful of individualities because otherwise, there would be no poets, essayists, or novelists whose eyes and sensibilities, and senses are exceptional from the melee.

I am so tired of all these abuses from the people who pride themselves in being the survivors of the fittest. My mind is a river of tears, and my heart is broken to pieces repeatedly. I wish I had someone who would always be on my side and support me. Maybe, it’s my fate to suffer, but I want to be happy. Is it too much to wish for?