Where’s the Onion?


Recently a dear friend of mine asked me about my Onion. What? She was talking about her life and struggles at work contemplating and reflecting on her reactions to stress and all of the interactions that surrounded her. Together it is our kismet. She finally asked herself, really more than me, “Where is the Onion?”

If you peal an onion it all the way down – is it at the center? For cooking most of us know that the onion is a wonderful aromatic addition to many things. The outer tough skin is removed and maybe the the first layer or so before the gastronomic concoction begins. I personally have never found an Onion at the center of that aromatic goodness and I have sauteed fried basted and chopped a few. However, she got me thinking. Where is my Onion?

The movie, “So She Married an Axe Murderer” which came out what seems like a long time ago featuring Mike Myers, left me with such a lingering memory. Just a peal of the Onion that is still really pungent in my memory. I was recently widowed and found myself in love with a beautiful wonderful woman. I was left with three young children teenagers -sort of – and she had three young children. I remember, no its more than memory, its burned into my soul, that movie and how much in love I was with Erin. I still love her and always will. The Onion or several layers are tied to the loss of my wife and all of those feelings afterward. These are all triggered by that movie. Does it ever really go away, those feelings of love and loss – regret despair or frustration? I am still digging down further pealing off layers to find the Onion.

Its now 18 years later and a new life with wonderful relationships. During these so many years I have achieved so much graduating from Cal State University Los Angeles First in my class and going on to two graduate degrees one from UCLA and another from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and enjoy such a wonderful career as a nurse anesthetist and faculty member as clinical instructor in anesthesiology at USC. These onion layers are so diverse involving multiple and various work growth situations that the onion has grown very large the more I keep pealing. The chopping block is overflowing now. Have I left out anything. Of course I have. The onion is huge and today all I am thinking about is my friend at work and the lingering taste of  the “Woman, Woman, Woman Thing” Ala Mike Myers.

My life, like the onion, has had numerous layers. Is this what the Onion is all about? Really I have to say no. Well maybe – partially at least.

OK, coming back to the original situation at work in which my friend and I have been caught up in. We work together and deal with an array of personnel all having their own agenda’s with personal demands and goals. Its really tough dealing with conflict in interpersonal relationships especially when they are tied to role identity and professional performance. Hence, the Onion. Its kind of a matter of He Said, She Said whipped up into a frenzy by a monster food processor. Here is just one idea about this layer of the Onion.

When I feel attacked or threatened at work or in my personal life my first reaction is either defensive self justification or anger.  Often if I get really upset its followed by depression. Its almost a Kubler-Ross thing. There are a couple of onion layers there to peal. After I get past those, its a lucky day when I can see or peal outside of myself.  I had an Ah-Ha moment the other day when I was able to see a piece of some one else onion.  This got me thinking about writing.

A major Onion layer was revealed when I was able to see or appreciated what others were dealing with in these conflict’s. Conflict always has these multiple layers. All I can say now without being too cryptic is that for me a major step forward in pealing the onion of conflict down is appreciating the other side and seeing their Onion.  People are amazing when they are onions.

Categories : General

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