When Servalbear and I decided to go on hiatus, I was a bit concerned that I’d get used to not posting and have trouble starting back. Sure enough, inertia sets in and the days fly by and then it starts to seem like I should come back with a great post and that gets harder to think of and more time goes by… and finally, I just had to sit down and write something.
So here I am. Breaking the ice.
We’ve been talking about doing some new things with the blog – adding some new voices more regularly, hearing from some old-timers, adding some different types of features, and exploring new aspects of supporting access to reproductive health. I’m excited about the possibilities, but a lot of that is still in the planning stages – in the meantime, I’m back.
I’ve been thinking about polarities ~ I often do in conjunction with being on the sidewalk, but I was at a workshop this week, and it gave me new food for thought. We were talking about trauma, and healing from trauma. The presenter was saying that when people – or systems – resort to polarities, it’s a sign that the person – or the system – is overwhelmed by trauma.
Now I’ve taken that statement out of context, and so it may not make as much sense to you as it did to me at the time. But I thought about our culture and how polarized we are in so many ways – whether it’s race or abortion or poverty or ~ so many things. And it made me think about a funny story from the sidewalk that happened a few weeks ago. See what you think about this.
I was down at the corner of First and Market, it was early, and there were a couple of cars with clients already there. I’d talked to one of them them, someone else had talked to another, and I was moving back towards the corner. One of the chaser/protesters was ranting about how they were going to regret this, that they’d never be ok again, that it would be so harmful to them… and on and on…
Then suddenly, he says to me “That’s right, you’re a therapist, aren’t you? That’s right, you are!! You’re some kind of psychiatrist or something. So I guess the more of these women that go in there and get harmed, that’s just more business for you, isn’t it? The more they hurt, the better for you. Is that what you’re doing down here, just getting more business for yourself?”
I was so taken aback, I had to laugh ~ I had never considered the possibility that being an escort could be a form of ambulance chasing, right?
Of course, I didn’t say anything back ~ what could I possibly say to that? Well, except, no, I’m not a psychiatrist, I would like to set that straight, but I just laughed and shook my head, no, I’m not actually down there drumming up business.
I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that he might really think that’s really what I’m trying to do.
I don’t think I can connect all the dots in my head here, but ~ I think we are a traumatized culture. We are confronted with perceived threat after perceived threat, over and over and over, until our ability to absorb and process them is overwhelmed.
I think the protesters are emotionally threatening to clients with their “in your face” chasing and yelling. I guess the protesters feel threatened by their own belief that little innocent babies are being slaughtered. They think people are traumatized by abortion, and I think the idea of not being able to access needed healthcare is a bit traumatic. (Not to imply that perceived threats and trauma are the same thing.)
But the polarities exist to protect us from having to think in shades of gray. If I am an evil woman ~ if I can be demonized as someone who wants to see women hurt because all I care about is money ~ then that protester is justified in his own actions. And…
…yeah, I don’t know where this goes, except I always have this sense, this feeling, that then they burn some witches.
My commitment ~ my stance ~ is that we need to push back against the things the protesters do. We need to expose the things they do, because otherwise people can’t know what’s going on.
And I will try not to demonize them. I will step up and speak out and not be afraid to expose the things they say and do, but I’ll work against what they’re doing, not who they are.
Yeah, it’s a fine line. I invite you to try to walk it with me.