The Scream by Edvard Munch
Capturing the Rage
Allow me to travel back to Sunday, September 14, 2008. We schedule a meeting for 6 pm to refine all problematic points and rehearse our presentation to be delivered the following week. The room selected is perfect: well-lit with a long conference table providing ample space to spread out and organize our information. Understanding the importance of this final opportunity, we are punctual - but apprehensive.
At the beginning of our program, we are a productive team collaborating well. Gradually we deteriorate into a dysfunctional group of four. I did not anticipate the severity of the underlying hostility permeating the space. We are inside a pressure cooker ready to explode. And erupt it did.
POW! He verbally sucker-punched me. Startled, I look up and see his face contorting and growing a blotchy beet red. I am not comprehending why he is directing his venomous insults only at me. As the other two team members recoil into the background, he continues his brutal, repeated diatribes against me. I refuse to indulge in a war of words and stare blankly in disbelief as he morphs into an unrecognizable creature.
The entire scenario is foreign to me, and I remain paralyzed in my chair as the others disperse. Escaping inwardly, I attempt to seek refuge by analyzing Edvard Munch's painting The Scream. We manage to overcome this traumatic upset and somehow pull ourselves together, regroup, and focus on our project well into the night.
I arrive home close to 2 am and continue to fine-tune the PowerPoint presentation incorporating the suggestions offered by my teammates. Unfortunately, I continue to relive the evening's tumultuous episode. I can neither erase the vivid image of his contorted face nor tame his haunting screams.
The following day begins with little sleep. Cognizant of my approaching deadline, I hesitate to take a break for a refreshing one hour swim to clear my mind - but indulge anyway.
Monday, September 15, 2008, at 1 pm, I take an abrupt, unplanned detour. Even though I prefer to schedule my days - not this time - I have a massive hemorrhagic stroke. At this moment, the journey to redefining my life begins. Step by step, I massage the many layers of my foundation. The path to recovery is rarely smooth or direct but often filled with exciting adventures and interesting people.