Posted by: Tina M | 30 July , 2012

The Vibrations of Judgment

I’m feeling stirred. I think that’s the best way to describe it. It’s the feeling of holding something in but not knowing how to name it. Most of healing is done through storytelling (in my experience) and with the work that I’m engaged in there are two concerns with doing the sort of daily debriefing that I need to feel sane. The first is confidentiality. I try not to share details about the people I work with training on sensitive topics and thus need to create a space where folks can share whatever they need to without fear of being judged and then publicly ridiculed. The second issue is that of vicarious trauma. Being a victim to it (experiencing trauma through working with folks that directly experience trauma in their own life) I have become keenly aware of the ways that I too play into the cycle of vomiting emotional thoughts and conversation on people without their consent.

So, I tried to find comfort with two very close family members of mine and though they both brought me closer to feeling ok, I left feeling unable to really open up to them. So, in my attempt to avoid both faux pas I am going to write letters to some of the people that touched my day.

To the Father

Your story sank into me as I identified with your daughter. The weight of a primary caregiver’s opinions, especially when steeped in the bitterness of resentment about your absence, can definitely color a child’s perception. I can understand the road that led you here to my office. And yet, I have a hard time letting go of the sad response that you’ve received as you’ve moved forward. If my father reached out to me, in any act of kindness and reconciliation, I would run into his arms. I hate to admit it but if after all this time I saw real emotion in his eyes I would break down at a primal level and run to my daddy. I understand mistakes and I’m sure I only know part of the picture; but you deserve love. You deserve an abundance of community. You deserve second, third, and fourth chances. Even if policy gets in the way of you being a part of my organizations work, I want you to know that you have so much power to change the world around you.

To the Righteous

In the moments of your true expression I am unable to feel because I know the fallibility of emotion when it comes to rigid thinking.  I never meant to put you on the spot- however, when you say things in certainty; geralizations about oppressed communities most of the time. It is important that I engage you in critical thinking around that. But until you’ve met all of the characters in the diverse story of our community, you can’t begin to understand the complexity of people’s everyday lives. To imagine you sitting with a young woman who tells you about her desire to get pregnant; and knowing that you might scowl in disgust and immediately respond that they are too young, too immature, too unhealthy to have a baby successfully. It hurts me in honor of my friends and community that have chosen/stumbled down this path and are loving every day of it whether it’s a struggle or not. I can acknowledge the concerns you may have and the experiences you’ve travelled to get to your wisdom- but in the end you must support people’s choices so that they make the best choices they can. I feel the anger that fuels your arguments and I wonder where it comes from. I fear it may flash at any time.

To myself

It’s just right now. Things change and I will feel better soon.

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