Welcome to my inaugural blog post. I have started this blog as a way to explore the truth as it is right now, today, in our dynamic, crazy, modern world. The title of the blog is a reflection of that and has a two-fold meaning which will be characteristic of content published here. Let me explain: the ‘Dragon’ in the title is both the truth and my daughter. You will find that most of my musings start from an observation about my daily life, then evolve into an exploration of something in the wider world. The microcosm giving way to the macrocosm, if you will, but why ‘Dragon’ at all?
One of my earliest memories is standing in the kitchen with my mother as she talked on the phone to someone, I don’t really remember or perhaps know to whom but what I do remember is that she was telling a big fat porky to this person. It was not something that she was doing out of malice or deceit, rather her English sensibility was resorting to lying to save this person’s feelings. I must have been about four years old but even at my very young age I actually understood that. I realised that although my mother and father had taught me not to lie, they themselves sometimes did. The last part of this memory is me thinking: “All adults are liars” and I did not like it. The salience of this early memory is so strong that growing up and to this day, I am the biggest truth-monger alive. This compulsion with the truth and the manner in which I have manifested it, nay, become one with it, has cost me dearly. It has cost me jobs, opportunities and relationships.
Of course in my life I have told a lie, but these occurrences are totally separate from my wanting to live in the truth and have everyone around me do the same. This is why my obsession has gotten me into so much trouble: most people do not want to live truthfully. The truth is like a sleeping dragon which they do not want to disturb because if it woke up, they would have to deal with a snarling, spitting, fire- breathing beast who cannot be ignored. There is fear in facing the dragon because it can destroy their reality. People are often so averse to disturbing it that they will go out of their way to get rid of anything that might wake it up. A good example is when I worked on a help desk for a bank. I worked for what was then a well-known computer company who had a contract with a major bank out of New York City. We were sitting in Canada remotely supporting New Yorkers and the cultural sensibilities made for some great comedic moments. The people at the bank hated the IT rules handed down by their management and enforced by ourselves. The polite Western Canadians were ill-suited to supporting the bolshie New Yorkers and mayhem resulted. Many team members simply side stepped the rules and gave their favorite ‘callers’ whatever they wanted without following protocol. You can imagine the next time that person called with a problem and reached yours truly, I stuck to the established procedures and usually had an irate person on my hands. If this person complained to my manager about what I would or wouldn’t do for them, it fell on deaf ears because I was following procedure. After too many calls of this nature, I realised which co-workers were bending the rules (think truth) and showed the damming evidence to my boss. There were a series of changes made, but to no avail. My boss was weak, our project was flawed and my co-workers were unrepentant. Eventually, rather than praise my efforts at standardisation and fairness (and truthfulness), I was fired. I therefore learnt right out of university that in the corporate world there is a game to be played, a game worthy of Versailles, but I couldn’t play it. It didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now.
Thankfully, after all of these years, I don’t have to because I am in the right profession: mother to an almost-two-year-old. Being a mother to a toddler is very well suited to someone like me. Children don’t lie, they are little truth mongers themselves. I think part of that has to do with language acquisition. From the time my daughter wakes up in the morning, she starts practicing her speech by narrating our day: “Wake up”, “Eat”, “Sandwich” (to which I reply, “No we are not having grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast.”), “Popcorn” (see previous comment and insert ‘Popcorn’), “Phone”, “Watch”, “You Tube” (our TV is on the fritz), “Pepee” (her current favorite cartoon; said Pepe not peepee), “Walk”, “Park”, “Going” and on and on. The only abstract words she has uttered so far are ‘happy’ and ‘funny’, otherwise it is all about what she is doing or observing, just the bare facts. I think that the toddler mind is a perfect truth monger in that the thinking process required for the abstract is not yet present, or at least not able to be verbalised. So I do not have to deal with any untruths when it comes to my days with my daughter. I will take a toddler tantrum any day over adult intrigue. I like living in the simple toddler truth world.
Of course that is not my total reality and this is where my blog comes in. Although I am a full-time mother, I am also a person who is well-educated, widely travelled, experienced, interested and I hope, intelligent. I am a person who watches the world and wants to talk truthfully and considerately about what is going on in it. This medium is a place where I can poke that Dragon awake and watch it spit fire; a fire of purification where what is left is the truth or at least the truth as I find it. All this I will do on a regular basis when my duties as a mother have been temporarily suspended. Usually when my own little baby Dragon is fast asleep not to be roused, for that is one Dragon that I never want to disturb.