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Archive for the ‘Disability’ Category

I arrived back from another fruitful collaboration in India at the beginning of February.  I  focused the work and time with two Playback Theatre troupes in Bangalore (the Actors Collective and Yours Truly theatre companies),  attend and support the Indian Art Therapy Association Symposium on Using Art Therapy with Children and as well offer an introductory training of Expressive Arts Therapy to Master level clinical psychology students at Christ University. It was a full 3 weeks for sure.  Each time I go to India, I learn something new both about myself and about the work, and of course about India. One of the things that I learned about myself was actually that I know what I’m doing and I was able to structure the trainings from that place rather than ” What do I do? How do I do it? Do I really know how?”The  trainings felt different and energetically flowed in an organic way.

Since being home, I have thrown myself back into work, and local,  community politics.Admittedly, I find that I do not have the energy or bandwidth that I once had, and so am being far more judicious about what I actively work on, and spending more time at home,with family and in the studio. I do what I can with the energy I have. I show up where I can and now try to not make decisions to others that I cannot keep.

I now am getting good at making phone calls to my representatives in Washington. I sign a lot of petitions. I raise a ruckus on social media. I try to attend things in person, and find that my in person protest /social action work needs to be balanced with my in person work as a therapist. There is so much to be done and so very much needed.

This morning, as I voted for change  and watched in dismay at the national news of how everything I hold dear is getting gutted, I had a vivid memory come to me from grade school. School was always a deep challenge for me. Thanks to the Special Education Bill S91(that my mother was on the team to develop), I was able to mainstream at the local school. However, I stuttered, I lisped, I walked funny, and I couldn’t write very well. I left class each day to be in the “special needs ” class which clearly earmarked me, often in not a friendly way.  I was not considered the brightest bulb, and  I remember how incredibly painful it was to simply show up.

Anyway,   In 4rth grade during gym class one day, we were running laps and getting timed. These were probably 1/4-1/2 mile lengths.  The teacher divided us up in pairs. I was paired last with a young woman, named Susan who struggled with her weight. Clearly we were paired for a reason, and I’m sure that we were thought to be the slowest of everyone. I’m not sure that the teacher thought either of us would be able to finish.

One thing I could do, and do well was run. And that day, I ran as hard and fast as I could even though I knew it meant leaving Susan way behind. I felt bad about that in a way as I didn’t want to show off. But I needed to show up. I had finished those three laps by the time Susan was beginning her second.

I remember people teasing us as we began. I remember people cheering as I, then she finished. I went up to Susan after and slapped hands. I wanted her to know I saw her. That she had finished even though it had been hard. That she showed up. We didn’t talk.

I’m not sure much really changed after that day.I still got bullied, and in fact left that school the next year. But I think for me, it was an important day in which we showed people, to question assumptions. That regardless of appearance or intellect, we had skills that were there waiting to be seen. We showed up.

 

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