What are you, anyway. What’s your type?
Is the assessment accurate? What are they going to do with their judgement? What are the consequences? How are the results broadcast, publicised?
I couldn’t finish the tests. I failed the tests in hospital. I failed and it hurt.
Tests to make the obvious explicit: let’s prove to everyone how damaged you are.
If I ask others now, they’ll say yes, I was upset by it and yes, I tried to reject it all, but that that was just my brain being defensive. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I don’t know how to think about my brain, how to judge my own brain.
Consequences. No-one was telling me what would happen to the failed me. All I had left was fear. I knew I was failing but that’s all I knew. That, and confusion.
Waiting in the corridor beforehand. The office. Polite small talk. Tests. Assessment. Failure. Nothing explained. Perhaps they’d judged I wasn’t able to understand. Perhaps they were right. Even if I didn’t understand my fear, I felt it.
I’m sure they meant well. I’m sure they are simply too used to it all – used to day-in, day-out dealing with the damaged. I’m sure if I could swap shoes with them I’d end up too exposed to it all as well. I’m sure I don’t know what the answer is. But I am sure everyone knew I was damaged. Everyone, perhaps, but me.
I wasn’t always like that. I don’t know who. It was years ago. Someone once said I was a ‘plant’ type of personality. A Belbin type of behaviour, whatever that is, however valid that is or isn’t. This happened when I was at work. A ‘plant’: creative, imaginative but not necessarily one to trust with the details. So they say.
I’ve also been called a ‘power behind the throne’ type of person. At other times they’ve said I’m someone who works best alone. Even tests I’ve done myself – supervised, not required, not coerced – have said that.
These were professional assessments. Professionals can be wrong. Human history includes a numbing chronicle of wrong judgements, professional and otherwise.
And even if judgements are right, how are they broadcast?
What’s the point of someone being judged a ‘plant’ or anything else if no-one else knows? What are they going to do with their judgement? What are the consequences? Should we all wear badges declaring how we’ve been judged?
But the shadow over it all is who’s judging the judges.
Perhaps all that’s worth remembering is that it’s wise to be wary of assessments and what’s done in the light of them.
They knew I was damaged. The most I knew was that others were judging me. Tests. Asked to join the dots between the stars of different shapes, I failed. Asked to join letters and numbers in sequence. I failed. Now, yes, I can understand it when I’m told that all I was doing in response to the tests was trying to defend myself. Now … now I learn that they were testing to see which parts of my brain were damaged because ability is tied to damage. I don’t know if I could have understood that at the time. I just don’t know.
The why of it
I don’t know why this episode returned. Perhaps it was triggered by something random, a simple accident.
That I can’t remember why I’m again thinking about my fear and my failure is disconcerting. But at least I’m trying to give judgements a context; at least I’m trying to do more than just revisit my fear.
Judgements will always dog us all, one way or another. Thinking about them is fair enough, sensible.
And if it’s hard to maintain any rational detachment, at least knowing your limitations is positive.