Friday, August 7

i'll be bulletproof

In my new Internship...which is just a fancy word for 'work a lot for no pay'...we are learning lots of ways to protect ourselves.  Patients, at any moment, could decide to smother you with their bag, punch you in the throat, kick your legs out from under you, bite your forearm, or turn a clock radio into a Mission Impossible 5 weapon of which you will need to protect yourself with a nearby chair until police arrive.  And really, because we are Crazy Counselors, we look at these individuals with a lot of compassion and care, and mild understanding that where they came from has led them here, to protect themselves against posed dangers and threats.  We do so, and then we get killed, or, at least, injured. 

(You should know, the week I've had may have led me to be a bit over-dramatic.)

So, as we are sitting in training and discussing the many possibilities, all of the escape routes, what Codes to call, and how to "talk them down", I didn't actually feel any panic until the trainer said, "You will be called every name in the book."  And then he embellished.  "You will hear things you have never heard before.  You will be called things that sound familiar to you, things you have been called before, and you will be called things which make no sense but are still somehow deep insults.  You will be blamed for many bad things, bad things which happened decades ago, and things that happened after your shift and you were long gone, home and in bed."

Oh, well goody.

You see, they gave us all the right moves for disarming someone, for getting out of their choke-hold, and for utilizing the entire floor's team to put someone in restraints.  Well, and plus I've been lifting weights.  I may be short, but I can pack a mean punch.
However, no one even mentioned how to protect myself against the words, the insults, the blame.  No one discussed what body armor to wear, what move would disengage the situation the fastest, or who to call for help when your core being has been punched by someone's words.  No one thought to debrief what happens when your emotions take a throat-slitting.

(Seriously, you don't know my week.)

So, for the rest of the day I bounced ideas around in my head about how to protect myself, how to remind myself I do know what is true...That I am rubber and your are glue and whatever you say...
But I'm not sure anything can prepare me for what may come.  Just recently, I had a conversation with my dad that shook my world.  I had this assumption there was a mutuality, a fairness, a respect for one another.  I assumed there had been lots of growth and change.  I assumed we were all human beings here, and tried our damnedest to be kind.  Instead, words were thrown and accusations were played which I believed were true.  I think, today, I am certain of what is true and what is not, but the pain is taking longer to ease.

I've been told many times to not take things so personally, to try and understand others are not being personal, but then I found I miss out on a lot of things by ridding myself of what seems natural.  Cecil died last week and I cried for days; then I raged with anger.  My neighbor was talking about cancer the other day and I made mini-plans in my head for what to do over the next few months for her.  I take things in, pretty personally. And, for the most part, that serves my soul in wonderful ways.  A red leaf on a tree gives me abundant hope.  Baby bunnies make me feel pure and childlike.  A good song takes me back to the best moments in life, and gives me a script for future ones.  I take a lot of things personally, and it connects me to Truth, to Hope, and to Life.

So, how will I stand against an attack of words?  How will I hold myself up against the fear, anger, and hurt of another?  Well, no idea, really.  What I do understand is how often I have done this to others...How often I have said something in relation to my bad day, to my weird mood, to my hurt feelings, which were 100% unrelated to the person I was with.  I've seen myself hurl insults at another like it was a pie at the fair.  I've also seen the damage it can do, and the awful, disgusting feeling I'm left with inside.  Touching my own skin feels dirty, unworthy.

So I will hold onto that, the feeling of hurting another and how it is never about them.  How I can be strong and loving and still tell another how they have upset me or made me afraid, but sometimes I do it in fear, instead.  I'll hold onto the fact that these patients have really been hurt and have learned to become afraid and how maybe, just maybe, if I offer a heart that remains open and caring towards someone who intends to hurt me, one day they may learn to do it another way.

At least until I find the Words-Proof Vest.

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