I never know who I will meet or what stories I will hear at the domestic violence shelter. The residents are inspirational. The high amount and spirit of people giving donations at this time of year is incredible… Gotta love last minute tax-write offs…and skepticism. But regardless of any self interested ends, the means are helpful so, meh.And the people I work with are all, so, so interesting. To sterotype my fellow case management assistants: women of all ages, colors and experianes who love to read and express themselves through writing, conversation and art. To sterotype the case managers and staff who run the place: compassionate, patient souls deeper than wells with this uncanny vital energy to understand and give which exudes a rejuvinating sense of hope. These aren’t people, they’re closer to an embodied liezon between the environmental reality and some lofty, intangible ideals of equality, justice and rebirth. They’re like wombs. This all sounds sooooo cheesy; to clairfy, I’m not as much enamored with these women as I am perplexted. I wouldn’t be cut out for a career in social work.These people are nuts.And I never know who I’m going to meet…
…Today I met caught up with someone old and met someone new( nothing blue…hah.) The old first. This summer, I bonded with a lady who defined resiliance. On paper, she with a schizophrenic ex-meth addict. Labels aside, in person she was painfully honest and wise and insightful.One time on the bus, some douchebag dealer spotted her meth tracks and tries to sell her drugs. Do you know how hard to it would be to say no to a thanksgiving feast when you’re ravenous? But since it’s a dry shelter, the choice was her roof or her love. I know what choice I would have made, and that’s why I won’t try meth. She held strong, and money says that’s not the only time she’s had to. She candidly confided in me about meth and what it’s like inside a mind clouded with hallucinations and delusions.I thought I would never see her again when i left work for school because her mental stability was deteriorating…but low and behold, I was thrilled to find out that she is out of the shelter,out of the trenches of schizophrenia, and able to live independently in a welfare-government aided situation where she doesn’t have to pay rent while she is going to school. Damn, I want that. She came by the shelter today to pick up gifts donated to her by ‘santa.’ She looked like a second chance realized, with the same beautiful eyes and grace but the paranoid breathing was gone and she spoke to me as if i were one person, not five. understandabley, she recognized me but couldn’t remember who I was or what i meant to her. So i filled her in on what she meant to me. She was passive about this disconnect, which makes me think that bridgeing her old life to her new life is filled with this dissonance. I can’t explain how great it is to see her overcome what most people would have wallowed in and died a homeless, anonymous death. It is so good for me, so theraputic, to witness this overcoming.
Person New. New co-worker, new knowledge, new perspective.A story teller, a liberal, bleeding heart, a deeply religous and spiritual woman. We worked together from 7 am- 3pm. About 80% of that time was spent storytelling. I admit: Although I love history, I am not a history buff. Wish and I was, and in due time I will be, but there are just a lot of gaps and one-sided stories I have to reinvestigate first. This lady, who is a grandma in her 50 somethings, has a boatload more life experiance and more substantial mental library than i do, obviously, so she helped me out. I now could hold a conversation about the kings of 4th century britain. I could retell the ful story of King Arthur, the knights, the round table, and that whole shabang. I understand what a female anthropologist might say about the demonizing of the female in the story of creation to shift from worshiping goddess’s to male gods. I know the native american method of seeking morality. Will any of this come into handy, ever? welll I’ve gone without it alright for 19 years, so who knows. But now I have 3 recomendations on must read books.
So here is the story I originally intended to blog about. After 7 hours of deep conversation, we are eerily similar on the way we see most things, but others, such as the belief in the judeo-christian god, her man jesus chris, and religon in general, are blarringly different. I just want to point out that we trailblaze through life using the same moarl compass to guide ourselves, despite the fact she is a devout christian and I am a religously non-affiliated jew, which makes methink that these labels really don’t matter much.Anyway, she eventually asked me about my love life.I told her. She commented, ” when a man and woman are together and in love, it’s the closest thing to heaven on earth you can get.” Picking up on her exclusive word choice, I asked her out of curiosity,” You’re both a deeply liberal and religous person, so how do you feel about the divinity of a man-man or woman-woman relationship?”
She went pale. Her knuckles went white. A deer in headlights. With hesitation, she asked if the guy i liked was really a guy. I almost, ALMOST, lied and just to see where the conversation would go from there. But I told the truth, yes he’s a he, and her color returned. Her anwser clifnotes: Gay is unnatural; love the sinner, hate the sin; the usual sighting of self-experiance as a case study for what is natural and what is not. That last one is my favorite: I am a woman–>I crave man–> therefore, all women naturally crave men too. That means even if a woman was aroused by another woman, that is an excess movelty to her primal attraction to man.That is the way it is, so that is the way it should be.Humph.
What the hell could I say? I wasn’t going to change her mind, and I sure as hell wasn’t about to take advantage of the fact that i don’t get awkward and humiliate her. So i tell her that i respect her honesty and opinion because I respect her and the fact that she has an opinion. Then i tell her my point of view, kinsey scale and it is natural for some and humans are just sexual beings yada yada, and that i’ve studied some neuroscience at school, and homosexuality has a correlation with different parts of the prenatalfetal environment and mothers excretion of horomones. She argued with my sciience with more science, which was actually a really poignant argument. What a strange way to end a great conversation.