don’t tell me it’s too scary

real goddesses

a few weeks ago, i got a series of messages from a friend of mine that made it clear she was struggling.  that she needed someone who loved her fully.  that sounds familiar, right?  so i bought plane tickets, found someone to take on my nanny work and packed my bags to go west.

as i was making preparations to go out there, looking for other spaces my friend and i could be in to live and work together, i was reminded that “mental health” scares people away, that at the times when we need our communities to stand behind us the most, they cower and avoid looking us in the eyes.  as if “mental health” problems aren’t something we all go through from time to time.  as if it’s something we can’t help with unless we have a fancy degree.  i got pretty angry.  angry and disillusioned.  people kept reminding me that it’s a lot to take on, that it’s a big request, that it’s scary.  but is it really?  and if we can’t rely on our communities to hold us when we need to be held, then who the hell can we?

and it’s not the first time i’ve hit this wall.  i’ve seen intentional communities balk at bringing in single parent families; i’ve been in a small community that couldn’t offer the support needed for someone with autism.  hell, recently i lowered my eyes and almost blocked someone from moving into my house who i was afraid would consume too much of my energy in support work.  which is absurd.  because it was clearly  my own shit that i was letting rule my decision.  that i was letting someone else who was reaching out to my community, who needed that space, be run over by my own unchallenged fears.  and isn’t that what’s usually happening?  don’t we say no or look away because of something inside ourselves?

through a comfortable series of otherings, we offer ourselves distance from people who might need that extra bit of support.  and from that distance we let their needs grow and stretch into giants.  and then we step farther away.

some of my anger was tempered by the support we found in an old circle of goddesses.  while i am lucky enough to have the flexibility to be in denver,  other friends have sent financial support for lesley and i.  and through some couch surfing requests, we’ve met new friends who will likely form part of a new community in denver.

i am hungry to start a conversation about how we can build communities that take on every part of our selves.  that don’t sit mired in our own self-fulfilling fears but open up to the spectrum of society.  if we are trying to create a better world together, how can we bar the entrance to people who need it?

i’ll return to denver in a few days and until then i’m brainstorming the things i want to accomplish in the next few weeks.  before i left, my friend and i made a list.  we want to have sleep overs with some of her other friends, we want to get involved with a “radical mental (health) collective,” we want to find her a different home.  all of our goals are about building up a stronger community, a stronger support network.  i am convinced that all the love we need, we can find in the people around us.  i guess i just want to challenge us to step up.

my anger was tempered some by the support we found in an old circle of goddesses.  while i am lucky enough to be able to leave my life behind for awhile and go to denver, our friends whose lives are less flexible are sending us financial support.  it feels like we’re all coming together and offering what is in our capacity to offer, and that feels great.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. paxus
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 20:27:35

    is it your shit to be afraid of how much time of your a new housemate might take up? You can know yourself. You can see that you are (perhaps) the most care taking person in the house and adding someone with needs means those needs are likely to fall on you. Were i you, i might be careful about these things.

    And were i really you, i would be driven by compassion and possibility. The notion that there is enuf if we share and that if you step forward and offer, it is being who you want to be in the world (and with some luck the world will step up too).

    i am in awe of your capacity to reach out and help others.


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