By this point in my drafting career I was the right-hand of the project supervisor responsible for checking every single drawing that was produced by the group and making sure all of the materials to be purchased were correct. My boss had relied on me and entrusted me to the point that he called me his “Petal”.
There was one technical part of this project that none of us in the group had ever encountered so whoever was given this task was as ignorant as any of us on the subject. It first went to one of the engineers who threw in the towel quite quickly so then my boss tasked me with the design. I had to call in the industry rep to try and explain what the criteria were for designing this system so that I could determine even how to begin the design. It is also noteworthy that this system was going to cost a lot of money and any mistakes would be felt. It also had a very long delivery so any errors would also set the project back. I endeavored to do my best and upon presenting the design to my boss I reiterated that I had no previous experience with this system and I hope it’s right. He understood that but also realized that another pair of eyes on it wouldn’t hurt.
It was given to one of the designers in our group who also happened to be a former electrician. He never liked me because I was also an electrician and the fact that I was a woman making the same money as he had once didn’t sit well with him and now that I was his superior in this group rankled him even further. But he didn’t know anything about this system either but he was going to take this opportunity to bleed as much red ink on my design as he possibly could. He took this bloodied drawing to my boss and told him in essence that I’m an idiot.
It was late in the day and my boss came with the drawing in hand and this guy right behind him and came into my cubicle and starts by telling me that I am a fucking idiot! The conversation was the word fuck or fucking peppered with nouns and verbs but mostly just fucking this and fucking that!
This was the same guy who a couple of hours earlier in the day called me his Petal and knew full well that my work had been not only flawless but I had saved the project countless thousands of dollars by my vigilance. But no, that didn’t count for shit right at this moment matter of fact that all seemed to vaporize.
I sat there in my office as if suspended above the entire melee and just watched him unleash his fury upon me. I didn’t say a word. That asshole that started all of it was gleefully delighted to be a front row spectator to this beheading. By now the rest of the group had gathered close by because my boss didn’t feel the need to do this in private when a public display was what was needed.
A little technical point at this moment was that the design was actually correct and the guy who checked it didn’t bother to contact the technical rep but rather went off on his own ideas and was completely incorrect in his review of my design but hey, let’s not let the facts interrupt this whole thing.
While I watched in the out of body mode I found myself in I saw the skies open up and a huge ray of light envelop me and there it was, my epiphany. My boss was doing to me what my Father had done to me my whole life. I was the perfect victim and everyone around me knew it, smelt it and took full advantage of it. Had I been raised to defend myself I would have, instead all of that self-protective ability I might have possessed at one time was beaten out of me, physically and mentally. My Mother stood by and was happy that the more my Father vented against me the less she got.
I just sat and allowed my boss the empty his well of venom and let him leave with everyone else, I quietly packed all of my personal belongings I had in my office and left for home. The following morning I presented my boss with my resignation and by the afternoon I was sent home. This moment in my life changed everything that I knew about my life up to that point it also cost me a very well paying job and the over $100,000 bonus I would have received the following month for the project I was on before.
Ironically though, that afternoon that I would have been at work, sitting at home I heard the sound of water in our basement only to discover that the water line to the furnace’s humidifier had broken and was spewing forth water into the basement. Had I not been home, we would have come back to a flooded basement.
The following day I went to see my Mother and told her all that had happened and what the consequences would be to her and my Father. The consequences being that I would no longer take any form of that kind of treatment from them or anyone from that day forward. I was very clear and very concise with my Mother about every detail, I really wanted her to understand this and how serious this was for us as a family.
A kept a low profile with them for a month but then I went over for a coffee and sat with my Mother when my Father arrived home for his morning break from work and we got talking about the slate patio he was in the process of installing. I had just spent the previous two years getting my landscaper/horticultural certificate so I had some experience with the subject. My Father begins by saying that he wanted to lay the stones with an even spacing on all sides which I said would be impossible given that they are shaped in various sizes and he would have to expect to see uneven gaps. His response was to tell me I was a fucking idiot and I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. I finished my coffee and left, it took the next year and a half to actually end the relationship.
My father’s take on that event was that I came and interrupted an argument between him and my Mother about the stones and my disagreeing with him would be the cause of their marital split and he hoped that I would be satisfied that I was the cause of their divorce.
During the following year my Father felt the need to stop me on the street and try and provoke me into falling over the edge. I can only thank the fact that we did not own a gun because if we had I would have gone over to their house and shot them both dead followed my shooting myself. Thus began a very dark descent into many years of suicidal depression.
I was in essence an orphan as not a single family member chose to side with me despite being lifelong witnesses to the abuse I took at the hands of my Father and the silent cooperation of my Mother.
One key point in life is to live one’s true passion and desire and in working as an electrician and all that flowed from that was putting me in a very wrong place. It doesn’t matter that I was very good at it and it made me a lot of money. I had always expressed the desire to go to the Banff School of Fine Arts when I finished high school and that this is where I should have been following my true passion and my true talent into art. When my Father decided that his needs outweighed mine he told me that I could always get back to art school when I was older, it just doesn’t work like that.
Even in writing this some twenty years after the incident I can barely keep my hands from shaking.