The first week I worked in an office I was stunned by the numbers. It was not the math that solved theoretical problems, nor the algorithm writing I was originally hired for. Space, time, people and energy were manically tracked as dollarizable items, indices on ever ascending productivity curves, I was accountable for on a quarterly basis. My self became a function of KPIs, I performed for my life and it was key to indicate that.

It is not completely true though, this was not my first encounter with measuring sticks, above averages and ranks. Everywhere, numbers were trusted, unsentimental, blatant and objective. I played a number of numbers, and the more I complied the better my numbers got. I over relied on them to tell me my truth through real measurable victories.

My friends don’t believe me when I say I am scared. But I am a, fundamentally, at all times, scared person. Most my life, I feared people, places, failure, bad reputation, speaking up etc…I don’t mean nervousness from excitement mixed with anticipation, I mean anxious sleepless nights, appetite loss, obsessive thinking with catastrophic projections of humiliation and shame of not getting the numbers right. I lack metrics for my latent fear running in the background of my being, like a malware compromising my integrity, creeping, unhurried, gentle, non life threatening, paralysis.

My mid-thirties came with a new set of experiences. The first time I remember feeling worthy was in Singapore. Having grown up in oppressive places, living in South East Asia was soothing. The region breathes natural abundance, generosity, obedience and reverence for the West. This is when I started to think of Dignity, a restorable quality that does not operate under the classical laws of physics, conservation; I helped my self to some from my white expat fellows.

Dignity matters traditionally live at home, in the private spheres of conversations with trusted people. The resulting outer world is a fearful arena of failing against victorious egos, whose core values’ buttons are turned off from 9am-7pm. In the scarcity mentality we live by, it seems decadently luxurious to live with Dignity. Sometimes, in trying to keep current levels of Dignity, we chose less dignifying routes, tracking net victory amounts and making sure they are always positive, above the line so to speak.

The business of Dignity is new to me, I don’t know its market, I don’t know how to make it, give it or acquire more of it. The only strategy I found is to put my self in abusive situations, experience non-dignity as a proxy for Dignity. There aren’t many books or tools for the modern life wonderer and the silence around this concept has a taste of premeditation, an overnight currency shift, victory instead of Dignity, that took place before me, us, and left everyone deeply discombobulated.

I experience fleeting Dignity, I know it’s akin to freedom and strength, opposite of oppression and fear. The level of comfort I achieved surviving oppression is my victory, conversely not surviving an oppression is my failure inhabited by fear. Escaping this paradigm requires a detox from erroneous definitions and starting assumptions which is hard on my identity and body; a dialysis of my ideas and impulses to re-inject only the elementary constituents free to bond in new ways that’ll allow Dignity back.

Dignity comes from Dignus=Worthy. According to the number of mentions shown on Google, its use sharply declined in the early 1900’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.