The art program, if it ever actually becomes one...as in people showing up once in a while...is really going nicely. I am appreciative when projects begin slowly and build. That helps me gain experience and comfort in that particular role. It is as if all of us are growing into it at the same pace.
But, and maybe because of the stressors held by the clients, there are two people who are worried about not being able to come every time. I continue to highlight the drop-in, no responsibility to attend, casual nature of what we do and hope for the best. But, you know, people are just so darn sweet and tender and vulnerable and it reminds me that doing extra projects like this is, oh, like doing the right thing for the right reason, and if I get to take other people along at that little jaunt, so much the better. Because I will show up and make stuff even if no one else happens by to share the fun of making messes and cool stuff.
I had a breakthrough at therapy this week. It is in an area for regular conversation for us, there in that room, and it knocked my socks off. Well, it would have if I were still wearing socks, but I have switched to birky-type sandals, so no socks (like men of my vintage often wear with this kind of sandal. I had been feeling out of sync with life in general, my therapist prodded me and, kaboom, there it happened. I cannot count the number of times we have discussed this exact same issue and I was able to honestly invest in complete denial. I still have some thinking about it before I am ready to put words to ether.
I could hardly believe it when it happened. You know, like the cottage cheese fell out of my head. I got so much out of that session and I joked that I would be pissed if I felt better for the rest of the day. Anyway, I will be reporting that I felt better for the rest of the day when I see her next. Lordy.
One of our shelter residents has a great idea for a mascot. Because we are a program for women who have experienced domestic abuse, she thought that a raccoon would be perfect because it already has two black eyes. I tried to explain that we are more about healing and recovery than stressing the violence part, and she then asked if it would be better if the raccoon was purple. I totally love people.
I mean, is she not the sweetest person? Yes. Yes, she is. She is one of the treasures that shelter work brings into your life. A blessing to know someone without artifice, a sweet soul trying to make the world around her a better place. I just love this stuff.
I probably already wrote this, but I am working only three weeks each month for the summer. If it works out, and I do not freak out because I not using work and volunteering and other projects to avoid dealing with the empty spaces in my life that should be available for having a real and actual and functioning personal life, I will continue that from then on. I do not remember what Julia Cameron wrote about this process of filling one's life with all kinds of crap as a tool for avoidance, but that is what I have been doing.
Maybe I can find time, no, make the appropriate time to get back into art stuff. I would like that.
This one is more of a gripe. If you regularly use the laundromat for doing your laundry, and you have to bring your two, small children with you each week, and they spend the entire time stressed by the environment and all the coming and going and noise, or fussing or crying or feeling more stress because there is absolutely nothing to do except fuss or cry or try to run around, and you know this happens every week, then puhleeeeeez, stop by the dollar store two storefronts down and spend a fiver plus change and buy crayons, a couple of coloring books or pads and a couple of three-packs of those little metal cars that all little children seem to love. Grandmas, too, but that is a different story.
That woman stresses my pacifist heart. She does not even bring snacks or something to drink for them, although she does manage to get herself a soda or two from the vending machine.
This week I stopped to get lunch and had grapes, a small salad and a banana with me because I did not have time for breakfast, you know, head-shrinking and all that jazz. So, I ate my salad, the boys not being all that fond of spinach, bleu cheese and red cabbage, and shared the rest with them. The mom thanked me and I accepted, but I wanted, really-really wanted, to suggest that she could bring something for them next week. Unfortunately, or maybe it is a good thing, it is not all that much my business. Anyway, next week I will have a small sack of cheap crayons, books and toys for them. Not to stress or shame her, but because my granny heart wants to have some fun with them, whilst minding my own beeswax, which I guess is not truly keeping my opinions to myself.
There must be some way for me to do this nice thing without being the laundrobitch. I hope so.
One last thought before I get to bed, and that it is doing something nice for someone else this week was certainly helpful to them, but the truth is that I do this stuff mostly for myself. Loving someone does not mean that giving is all that altruistic. I guess if this kind of thing did not feel so wonderful that giving would be more uncommon. I like to share, and I especially like giving and sharing without strings. It is so freeing and it makes the times of struggle worth something, like the pay-off for having survived a lot of crap. I share this only because I need to remind myself to do it more often. Way more often. I wonder if this is supposed to be part of working less and living more. I would like that.