Orphans of Democracy

Why is it that people depending on food banks is near the bottom of most election debate? What does it say about the elected and the electorate? Even in democratic countries the issues of the vulnerable are often lost in the fight for better contracts. We can fight and strike but what power do the vulnerable have? They can’t rally or march but still we consider them equal participants in democracy.

What if that one voice is not heard? Should we erect a monument to the “unknown member” of democracy? The one affected by every decision but without the ability to participate.

In sport we do not have to question what is fair. The entire Olympics are built on rules whose only purpose is to give each participant an equal footing. Why do the laws that govern our lives not have more of the same?

How is it fair to sleep on the street? Society will embrace you if you are a baby but to be homeless as an adult there isn’t even pabulum; only its box to call home. What changes in the child that they begin to lose worth as they age? The ones we see struggle are always someone’s child, it is up to us to see that they do not become orphans of democracy.

Thanks

yogawithmaheshwari http://yogawithmaheshwari.wordpress.com/ has nominated me for a Sunshine Award and mindfulness4now  http://mindfulness4now.wordpress.com/ has nominated me for a Reader Appreciation Award. My thanks to them both. When someone finds your blog and responds with likes, comments or a follow it is an acknowledgement of ourselves. I put my self into my words and it is I who am appreciative of being seen. Thank you Leanne and Maheshwari.

Some of what I write is my way of allowing readers to see that mental illness is not something to be hidden. It is part of our world and touches most of our lives; shutting it out impoverishes us all. We are connected as humans by what shines within us but also by the fact that most of us are broken in some small way.

I’m trying to address two awards and will fall short at both but I would like to acknowledge a few bloggers.I try to wander the web and see what other creative people are doing. I like words but also enjoy those who record the world with photo’s. One that caught my eye and more was http://tracielouisephotography.net I’m not done exploring her images or words and I would recommend anyone to start.

http://prideinmadness.wordpress.com is one of my online neighbours. She came out and spoke to me when I first arrived here. She is a passionate person and I hope the conversation continues.

http://infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com or NZ Cate is a far off friend who I have even tweeted with. We have only met through words but if you look over her blog you will see that words can be enough and infinite sadness is infinitely more.

http://bethlemheritage.wordpress.com has sent me on a journey of thought through posts and comments. This person knows more than me and has graceously chosen to share. Bethlam is an interesting blog surrounded by a fascinating place and its passage through time. Bethlam has taught me that the way we see things now is not how they will be seen in the future.

I am most familiar with these individuals but if I have liked or followed you, there is admiration without words.

Something about me:

I enjoy woodturning. I am not a craftsman, I simply enjoy having a dangerously lopsided piece of wood rattle my lathe until I can tame and tease it into something I can put my keys in.

I have more good people behind me than have ever stood in my way.

Normal

If I assume I am perfect, I will see nothing but fault in my neighbour. I walked out my front door yesterday and saw a sign in my neighbour’s front yard. “My Neighbour Is Normal.” I thought it was a little late coming but I was pleased by their opinion. It was like stepping into an alternate reality for a moment as I did not associate it correctly.
There is a beautiful building and park a block away. The building was once “the Normal School.’ I’m not sure what lead to its closure but I have always been disappointed I was unable to attend. It is becoming vulnerable to development and the community is rallying to have a say in its future. There are hundreds of signs up now but it is my neighbour’s that speaks to me.
To be accidentally recognized as normal was once a dream. When I would go on passes into town it was normal I sought. I wanted to shed the uniqueness of my life. I only wanted to drink a coffee among you. I only wanted to cut my grass and take out the garbage. I only wanted to find my food in a grocery store, not on a tray.
Now I live in a neighbourhood where “normal” is rampant and I am content to be immersed in it. I am normal, just ask my neighbour.

“Worthy of the pay….”

This posting is some more of my psychotic thinking. For entertainment purposes only.

“I only want to help. I mean no harm so someone simply let me know what to scribble on my sign.

You give us political views and publish budgets and agendas and offer them as gifts. You elect to keep much of what you do a secret. We only want to know what it is you devise behind closed doors. A child does not leave their artwork in a drawer; we gladly display the work we are proud of. An employee does not hide in a box the fruit of their toil; they want their employer to know what they have done to be worthy of the pay. You are employed as my representative; it is I who employ you, why do you hide your efforts from me?

Freedom of Information should not be and Act, it should be a Right! When we learn of your blunders without you telling us first, what are we to think? You cling to innocence but what seeps from your mouth is always more lies!

We need to think why the government and how the government voted that governmental business was something to be uncovered. Where is it written that our elected should carry out OUR affairs and business in secrecy? The enemy will always have secrets; all I ask is should our government also? If it is to the essence of by the people and for the people, why are the people not given eyes to see what it is you do for them?

I can carry the flag from my car window and even pin it to my chest but it is only you that wraps it about your body as armor. Why are you protected by the flag but not me? If I can serve and even die for my country you have no right to lie to my country.

You pound into our heads “more jobs” all the while not doing yours!

I am a flea on the ass of government!!!”

Second Chance

Sometimes a second chance is simply recognizing where you fell short the first time. I was given a second chance this afternoon. I take my dog to get her nails clipped at a plaza near my home. The plaza I frequent is also the home to a rather elegant liquor store. I’m not sure why picking up a bottle of booze has to be a person’s greatest shopping experience but in Ontario it usually is. As I entered the plaza I noticed another man in a motorized wheelchair with a hat in his lap. This was my second chance. The last time this opportunity presented itself I chose differently.

After Ani got her nails clipped I approached this man. He wore very dirty long pants but I could clearly see both of his feet were amputated well above the ankles. His hat had fallen to the pavement in front of him and he was pleading for someone to pick it up. Two people entered the liquor store doing their best to ignore him. When I got close enough his pleading was clearly directed at me. “Can you help me pick up my hat?” “Sure.” His change was strewn about ‘his feet.’ There was a Loonie, a couple of quarters and a dime. I showed him the money I intended for his hat and he smiled. “What’s your name?” “Murray.” “Nice to meet you Murray, I’m Brett.” I picked up his money and gave him back his hat which had doubled in worth. He grasped my extended hand and I wished him a good afternoon; I too had doubled in worth.

As a society we care for Murray or he would be without a wheelchair. I fear though that our mandate of accessibility and inclusion slips from the hands of some. We ensure that Murray can get from point A to point B but when point B is the entrance to a liquor store we need to re-assess. Clearly Murray needs more than his wheelchair and a ramp into McDonald’s. We all want the dignity of standing on our own two feet. Just because we are without them doesn’t mean we can’t. To be disabled is a shame but it doesn’t have to be shameful.

Slug

When I was a youngster we would sometimes happen upon a slug, a counterfeit coin. Most that I remember were the same size as a quarter but they had no markings; they were faceless. According to “rural myth” they had the ability to procure a cola. We would optimistically place them in coke machines only to have them trickle down into the coin return.

Can we draw parallels to incarceration? We all have opinions about criminals but for most they are faceless. At times they are simply a problematic statistic. They are seldom associated with families, friends or any sign of worth. Like a coin or even a slug they have another side to their nature. (Excluding sociopaths) As a society we deposit them into the penal machine and expect them to turn into something else. The system is filled with individuals with mental illness, addiction and brokenness. Without treatment they land back on the pavement only to be picked up by someone else once again. Many simply trickle through the system and are even deposited again and again with the same expectation. Einstein’s definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

When I was in jail a fellow inmate was released one morning. Within five hours he was back on the range. He was a “speed” addict. He was not addicted to the speed with which he was apprehended but he might as well have been as that was more dependable.

Put the face of a neighbour or fellow citizen on the criminal. Etch on their surface the face of addiction or mental illness and they may catch on a gear within the system and return as something else.

Obviously not all crime is related to illness or addiction but incarceration does little to reduce crime, mental illness or addiction. If we spent the same quarters on treatment that are spent on incarceration for these individuals maybe we could turn the slug into something of value. Just for the sake of argument put aside your belief in retribution.

“Building more jails to fight crime is like building more cemeteries to fight cancer.” Author unknown

Clean Shoes

When I first landed on the Forensic Assessment Unit (FAU) I had hair and eyebrows; this constituted what remained of my sanity. There were a couple of nurses and a psychiatrist interviewing me in the visiting room. There was a camera on the ceiling to record my arrival. I was on a mission of love and was explaining myself and my mission. They seemed more interested in their notes than my lessons. I don’t recall if I was the Second Coming but I was certainly a disciple. The Forensic Assessment Unit was referred to as FAU and I immediately associated myself and those in my midst as residents of the Fallen Angel Unit.

There was a battle between good and evil on the Fallen Angel Unit. There were no balls of fire but rather traces of chalk. On the chalkboard in the dining area I would post messages of love and equations of affection. As cameras watched me float down the hall I would return to find only obscenities. Eventually a tiny Asian nurse removed the chalk but I don’t recall who had the last word. My mission then turned more verbal and tactile. I spoke to anyone slightly interested with compassion and sincerity and I literally gave one of the patients the shirt off my back.

When I was allowed into the fenced yard for exercise I would remove my shoes to keep them clean while I ran the dirt path on the perimeter. I was ordered to keep my shoes on for sanitary reasons but I failed to see the logic. When I returned to the ward I was the only one with clean shoes! Some of the nurses were quite exasperated by me. I wasn’t always meek and I was not medicated for easily handling. One of the male nurses who was most offended by my continual barefoot runs was watching me as I walked down the ward hall. I usually rolled up my pant legs past my ankles to save the only jeans I had. I bent down in the hallway and unrolled my jeans. I left small piles of dirt and debris. I looked at him and walked away.

My psychosis met further resistance when I shaved my head and eyebrows. As a disciple I was using one of the wards electric razors to maintain my religious devotion. The male nurse monitoring the morning shave informed me that the razors were not meant for people’s heads. I quickly pointed out that my face was part of my head. He was silently unimpressed but I assumed he was better informed.