After migration, there was an issue of weird and confusing stereotyping, which fed me the wrong sort of information. I have since been led to understand that PROBABLY a cultural stereotype was at work, as well as most certainly a gender stereotype. This information I received, fundamentally another culture’s stereotypes about my identity, made it very difficult for me to get the information I needed to make the necessary cultural adjustments.
It didn’t help too much that I spent the first few post-migratory years not communicating, and then when I did, I spoke about my problems, which had become substantial by then. I couldn’t understand things fundamentally. That was my most significant issue. I hadn’t been brought up to understand the world I’d been transferred into. I spoke English and was white, so I didn’t look like I should be having cultural problems, yet I was.
Ten years down the track and it was becoming clear that I was out of step with all sorts of cultural expectations. Actually, this may or may not have been true, but it was my sudden analysis, bought on by a heavy episode of dysfunctional workplace exposure. My project to adapt and adjust, in order to “save myself” became extreme — my motivations became extremely energized. I looked around for all sorts of advice. I mean, how does one stop the abuse? Is there some form of conformity that assures it comes to an end?
People told me that there surely was: I had to get off my high horse and stop being so “sensitive”. So I took that lesson to heart. I developed a rude and abrasive manner. I also tried not to feel anything much at all, unless it was the anger and aggression that had been building up over a number of years. I sought the ideal solution to defuse this anger and aggression, by joining the army. I would blow up people, and then the anger and aggression would be out of me and into them. It was uncomfortable to have so much rage building up, but if I got off my high horse and mixed it with the worst of them, I would surely find a way to move beyond such an uncomfortable inner state.
I learned a great deal from this period of time how it is possible to be extremely calm whilst enduring a state of rage. I had a bomb ticking inside me and I had to find a way to manually defuse it. If it did harm in a socially acceptable way, I was fine with that.
I also found it was quite possible to be comfortably alone with my inner state, with no sensitivity at all. I could respond to people and at times present outward emotions without feeling any inner change at all.
I never forgot, even for a moment, that I had only one goal — and that was an issue of my life and death — to defuse this inner dynamite in the safest way possible.