Monthly Archives: October 2014

Got it? Yep.

A shout out to my sister who has grown to be one of the few people I can talk to about almost anything and feel like I’ve been understood.

-Sam

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Both Sides: part 2

I don’t know how to start this post. I don’t know how to write the introduction. So I am just going to write it.

~

It is so important to me that we remember that we are all human, that we all have our struggles, that we really should be helping each other get to where we want to be, as best we can. And maybe that sounds idealistic. But it is possible.

I don’t  want to be miserable, I don’t want to make other people miserable. I don’t want to be a statistic, categorized or stuck in some stupid little box where my participation in life will be stunted, where passersby have all the choices and I have but a few.

Inside I have to follow the rules. I can pace, yell, smile, plot and politely request assistance and revisions of the rule book, the expansion of my enclosure. Outside they can choose to gawk or heckle, help or pity or ignore me. And I don’t want any of that. In the box, the odds are not in my favor; the conversation, the division of power it’s all one sided. It’s “Us” versus “Them”.

~

I work for the Canadian Mental Health Association – North and West Vancouver branch. My coworkers and I gathered to brainstorm some ideas for our next event, a way of celebrating and giving back to the awesome community we live in.

And that was what we wanted it to be from the moment we sat down, an event where the giving would be heartfelt and the celebration genuine; where we could come together as a community and have a great time!

And I just about cried.

Because everyday I come to work, I get to help people. Everyone is so supportive and tries their very best to help everyone they come into contact with find what they need. The diversity, learning and growth of staff, volunteers, clients and community is respected and encouraged.

There is no “Us” there is no “Them”. There are no stupid questions. When someone asks, “How are you?” they really want to know. There is no judgement passed, everyone who comes in the door or over the phone gets a genuinely happy smile and a sincere “How can I help you?” My colleagues are wonderful people, true professionals who are both knowledgeable and approachable.

Brilliant, I know. But what makes it all so much more incredible is the contrast between this, and its darker counterpart. I have seen both sides, I have been on both sides.

~

I have had to ask for help, for information, for support from different organizations where I am greeted by stony faced employees who just want to make it through the day with as little effort as possible and have forgotten how to smile. When communication is required they use your file number instead of your name. In these places and situations, I become a number, a statistic, a specimen to be placed into a certain category and either studied or forgotten. My human qualities and individuality become irrelevant. And I hate it. It is dehumanizing and demoralizing for everyone, no matter what side of the counter you are on.

So now you see why my colleagues are so amazing.

At this event, everyone will be on equal footing. We will come together as a community of individuals and celebrate.

Both Sides: part 1

I know from experience, it is not something that you get to understand or worry about, until you have to, until you are catapulted into a brand new way of thinking, a new system, a new circle. When those things we take for granted are no longer there.

Love, support, advice, your health, your confidence, your ability to cope. Everything is fine- until it’s not. And then where do you go? What do you do? How do you find your way back home having been thrust into the middle of a vast, hostile and alien environment without any backup, no compass, no food, no water? Where everything you say to the locals gets lost in translation?

You have 3 choices: Fight, flight or freeze. Many freeze. Many flee. And too few fight to affect positive change. Humanity fades and the structure crumbles, and people fall terrifyingly fast, through the cracks.

I have visited this place before. And let me tell you, the culture shock was extreme. I froze, I tried to flee, I tried to fight. I fell through the cracks, but I was lucky, on my way down, I found some amazing allies and we climbed out again 🙂

 

 

Almost

Almost, as in not quite. That’s about the gist of it…

Anyways! It’s almost Friday, and I am stoked, for the following reasons:

  1. I had a decent sleep
  2. I had peanut butter for breakfast
  3. I studied smart
  4. I connected with friends
  5. I finished a midterm
  6. I ate some pudding
  7. I laughed
  8. I ate a meat pie (to die for)
  9. I put on pajamas
  10. AND IT’S ALMOST FRIDAY 🙂

Crest and Valley:

This is one of those “I just have to write it” posts- with a paddling theme.  And a throwback to the dog days of summer, when this was originally written. I think it gives a good snapshot of one of those worry yourself sick/I’m  so done with all of this crap, kind of moments, that we all have on occasion 🙂

***

I had to take a break from paddling recently. Things were getting too busy, and I was feeling I was reaching a point of burnout. As I mentioned before, training can get intense, and lately I just wasn’t interested. Though one of coach’s favorite motivators is the phrase, “You’ve always got more!” I was completely empty. I was irritated, unstable, at war with myself mentally and physically. And I just wanted to quit and go to sleep.

As it turns out, a break was exactly what I needed. But I came back filled with dread. Coach has been pushing us- it’s race season, and what if I couldn’t do it? I hadn’t paddled in a week and a half, what if I’d missed too much?

I shouldn’t have worried. I made it. It was great. The sun was shining, the boat was swift, I felt good. I hope I can “push through the wall”, stay in the happy harmonious zone for the rest of the summer and finish the season on a high note.