That was printed on the front of my T-shirt in 1991 at the Communication Commando Course… a week long Landmark Education program.
What was that about?
Here is the story.
In the course, on the 2nd day, if I remember correctly, we were talking about your “default” albeit hidden way of communicating. We formed small groups of five, and we looked at each other and made up a little statement of what we thought the person was communicating under their usual facade.
One guy in our group had the statement: “It doesn’t compute, it doesn’t compute, it doesn’t compute…”
Another was: “Beware, vicious dog… will bite if you are not careful”
No one could guess mine. The course leader, an older woman from Mexico, came over, took a look at me and said “Recovering victim”
As she was leaving, sensing my vibes (I guess), she turned back and added “Get the f… out of my way!” She spelled it out… lol. I was mortified.
When your statement was done, you needed to go to the back of the room, where a group of busy assistants painted the statement on a white t-shirt.
At the end of this exercise, we went up, one after the other to the stage, and told the group what our statement was… while we were also wearing the t-shirt.
When it was my turn, I said mine, with a huge amount of resentment, and then, as I was leaving the stage, I felt my legs move into a military march, like Hitler’s army, with the same amount of hatred and determination. It was awful. It had been hidden. From me. It had been probably there since the time I was raped at 3 and a half. It was anger, it was hatred, it was “you are all going to pay for this.”
It was horrible. I felt ashamed, disconnected, an outsider, a leper.
We went to have dinner soon after.
The dining room had big round tables for 18 each. I was there early, and filled my plate and set by an empty table.
As the room was filling (there were over 100 people in the course) people were looking for a table to sit by. Many came to the table where I was, put down their plate, ready to sit down. Then they took a look at me and my t-shirt, picked up their plate and left looking for another table.
I ate by myself that night, and then the next day, and the day after. We were wearing our t-shirt, till we transformed it.
My “transforming” statement was “Being available to play with all.”
It didn’t quite do the trick.
When the six-day long course was over, I called the airline and moved my flight to the next day. It was mid-November, it was chilly. My hotel was by the airport. I felt even more isolated and an alien than in the course. I bought some food and ate it walking on the roads…
At night I called a friend in NJ and told him that I was ready to end it all. The leper wanted to check out.
I don’t know what gave him the words, but he turned me around. He said: “It is not over yet. People need you Sophie.”
OK, I’ll hang in there then, I said and hung up.
And here I am, 17 years later, weeping at my computer. Not much has changed. Instead of being the “Nazi” 100% of the time, I am rarely it. But it did not leave. It did not transform. It is like antisemitism… deep roots. Deep roots in evil.