Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 2015

(Brought to you in part by mental (sk)illness)

Imagine with me
for a moment: You're in
a dry Sahara, not much around
but you
begin to notice
a massive hole in the
parched earth.  The unfortunate
truth is that you must pass
this hole to
continue your journey.  You

look for ways around it, you
try and remember what
you've been taught, but
there's no way
around it.  You see the edge
and beeline for it.  As you try to
rush by on its side
the foundation begins to crumble.

You suddenly see
a familiar face and
she reaches out
her arm.
You're safe, but you can't
seem to find
the solid ground on which she stood
and she's gone.

You trip on your own
feet and
begin to fall again.

Another familiar face appears,
"I'm here
to help!" she shouts down at you.
"Take these and
put them under you.  They'll ease
your landing."
"But I don't want to
live here,
this is not my home," you
retort.  "I just want to be
back on solid ground and
you're keeping me down."
"Here's a rope and
some string, when you're ready,
build a ladder.  You're keeping
yourself down."

As you tumble
further down the pit
you see posts
lining another end of the expanse.
You reach for one and it's
not very sturdy, so you grab another
and another and another,
gradually rising out

from the vast hole.  You whisper for help.
Every so often a post crashes
to the bottom   or you
lose your grip.
Your cries for help become
clearer, more audible to
the faces above.  Some faces jump
in after you.  "I'm here," they say.

You use their arms
for support (somehow they stand
on solid ground), trying
to avoid stepping on their faces.  You repeatedly express
endless gratifications as you reach the top
together.  "Just one final push
and I'll make it," you tell
yourself in a daze.

Then your mind rushes
to remember:
I'm not out of
this forever.
As you crawl
                                  the hole's outer edge
you see broken glass bottles and
smell olive oil,
so you cautiously rise
to your feet.  In the distance
you see shadows, but the dark clouds
haven't reached the horizon.
The hole next
to you hasn't vanished.

A flag that has been
quilted with
a mosaic of voices, tools, and faces
all culminating in
                                                         a self-portrait of you
has been placed along its edges.

You pick up
a rope you've fashioned yourself,
thank the hair that
holds it together, and
continue on your way.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Becoming a Professional through Child-like Discord

Where is the line between advice-giving and creating awareness?  I know that a large portion of my duties as a professional is advocacy though conversely it is frowned upon to be the one giving advice.  So how do I make people aware of the options that are available to them without coming across as recommending one over the other?  I think that is where parity of services and a thorough knowledge of the diverse range of resources becomes key.

I want so desperately to be of service to those around me.  However, I so often am stopped short by the others' voices inside me telling me not to give advice.  Still other voices come at me, telling me not to appear overbearing.  "Don't be a part of the problem, but a part of the solution."  "You can inform them of our policies, but don't try to convince them one way the other."

It is not my intention to convince people that one way is correctly.  On the contrary, I desire to show others the many options that are available to them.  When you tell me that I am overly siding with one group or allowing my values to have to convolute my judgment I get lost and don't know where to go anymore.  My values say "strive toward egalitarianism and equity."  Apparently, I must come across to some as attempting to sway people one way or another.  I'm sorry for being myself.

So then you blame me for making this about me.  How can I not?  How is this not victimizing the victim?  I know, my own struggles pale in comparison with those in the world starving for justice and hungry for compassion.  However, when you tell me that I'm making it too much about me I wonder how can I change?  If you're striving to convince me that I'm blowing things out of proportion, then aren't you the one who is giving advice or labeling unnecessarily?

So I ask you what I can do in an effort to not see things so much from a victim's perspective.  You say, "You have to come up with that yourself."  So the message I get is that you have every right to point out my problems and shortcomings, but when it comes to suggesting methods for changing those thoughts, behaviors, etc. you are unwilling to work with me.  How is that just?  "I want to empower you but when I begin to give you suggestions (advice), it is coming from me and not you."  So where does that leave me?  When I'm stuck and part of you is willing to work with me and the other part says it has to come from within you, what do I do next?

Your efforts to "empower" me live me disempowered.  They leave me wondering, "What am I really getting out of this relationship?"  I understand your reasoning around not wanting to become an enabler to me and thus create a sense of codependency, but really?  How do you expect me to learn this way?  I feel this mentorship is very one-sided and it has begun to leave me worse off.  Sure, I've learned a lot about myself through this time, and it hasn't all been of my own accord, but I have begun to question your motivations for mentoring me through this.  Do you truly have my best interests in mind?  Are you really thinking about how I might best succeed?  Or are you just hoping to make it through our mandated meetings so that you can add to your own experience, your own CV?

It doesn't seem fair to me though I'm trying to work through it.  I'm not one for confrontation, though I know few people who are.  Therefore, though you might see my frustrations come out, you may not know their true extent because it seems that the more interactions that we share, the more you lose my trust.

So I'm sorry for coming across as a brash, little child but I'm learning to live this life and lately it just seems like some of the people that claim to be for me are working against me.