Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Returning to the rough waters........

Time to put the canoe back in the water.
We're gonna shoot some rapids along the way

As much as I love being at home and seem content to be home for long stretches of time, I thrive best when I'm busy. Juggle, juggle ........move, move .........plan, plan ..........dobeeedooooo........meet, arrange, listen, write, drive, organize, teach, learn, laugh, talk, strive, stretch, refresh, irritate...........

Did I say irritate?

Yes, I'm back at work meeting with people who are living each day to the best of their ability only to be pushed down and marginalized every step of the way. And, what is my natural role in this work that I do besides counselling and consulting?

Irritating. I'm a full fledged shit disturbing irritater. I can't help it. Issues and concerns meet me at my office door. As much as I have been told to "stay under the radar" and "keep my head down so as not to pull the focus spotlight in my direction" ......... this advice given lovingly by folks who don't want to see me hurt by the system we work in..... as much as I've been warned and told ......... I simply can't do it. I see injustice or mistreatment and my head just about pops off.

Then, I go to bat.........for the mistreated and misunderstood. Radar? What radar??? I can't find the radar let alone work under it. Where's the fun in that?

Sure, I can be diplomatic. I am a respected leader. Many seek me out for consulting or spilling their stories. But, for some reason these attributes are not wanted in my environment. My questions or challenges to the rules and policies of the day go against the status quo most people are comfortable living with.

I seem to refresh their irritation. By doing so, I seem to refresh my own irritation.
Yes, I'm back at work.........loving the encounters and the stories and the feeling of being needed. I love hearing the person stories and know I can help them deal with some of their obstacles........or more importantly help them deal with their own obstacles. I love the interaction, the communication, the pace, the drama, the successes and the triumphs. I want to be there to help them bear their sorrow, share their dilemmas, speak of their beliefs. I want to work to understand what it's like to live with Schizophrenia, how difficult it is to have a child with Attention Deficit, when it's time to say stop to violent abuse. I want to be surrounded by these strong willed defiant people who tackle mountains EVERY day and live to see another beautiful sunrise with hope in their hearts. How do they do it???

I want to understand. And then, I want to help them fight the systemic marginalization....the rules and policies.......the bullshit........the insincerity they hear in the voices who hold power. You can't change the system extensively unless you can work inside it. That's my theory anyways.

It's what I do. I irritate, advocate, communicate, demonstrate, complicate, negotiate, and commiserate. And in return? I get a whole lot of smiling thank yous from the ones who matter. Hugs too. Lots of hugs. And in the long run? Perhaps some system changes will take place......
That is what matters.........it's a messy process, but a good fit for a misfit like me.

I'm back at work, ready to refresh a few irritations, including my own. It feels right. However, I get the feeling that some don't have the same feeling as I do.


taycreekcropper said...

Awareness....I do not envy you for the job that you do, I've been in that department talking with these people and man my personal life was almost the best it had ever been - why? Because those stories made me open my eyes and realize my life is a bed of roses compared to some.

Changing the system....well what can one say to that but good luck. I truely hope you succeed and there is no doubt in my mind you will make a difference.

Be the little engine that could....

Caroline said...

Oh Dana, how I wish there to be people inside the mental health system I am currently battling with who will see it as their role to irritate as you do.
Systems need irritants. My psychologist, when we discussed my sense of being a nuisance, pointed out that a grain of sand can be seen as a nuisance to an oyster - but it is that irritation which produces the pearl. I'm sure your irritations are producing pearls - and may you continue to act in this way.

Shaz said...

If only there were another 100000000 like you Dana the world would be a better place indeed. I admire your work your compassion empathy and vigour to fight the good fight you are a hero in my eyes and i am sure in the hearts of all who experience your devoted help. xx

Awareness said...

Tay thank you......I love what I do, and quite honestly learn more from them than I ever feel like I teach. And youre right.....it sure puts life in perspective pretty darn fast.
I don't have any illusions that I can change the system thank God....but I will do my best to promote excellent client service while I'm there.

Caroline...your experience in the UK unfortunately is the norm here too. Irritants are good.....and will continue to work on the pearl thing. Lovely analogy.

Shaz....I don't know how to respond. I'm flattered and humbled.....I will continue doing what I'm doing and hopefully I don't get fired for my demonstrative ways. :) That would be ironic now wouldn't it. I get fired because I want to work with clients in a respectful manner? It's so weird it may just happen.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Sometimes people just want to talk good and not do good ... bravo to you for stepping up & bringing action and spirit to your work ... peace & love, JP/deb

Gypsy said...

I agree with Shaz and loved what Caroline said. You may be a million miles away from me but you sure have shone a light in a very dark corner of my world. Thankyou.