Waking up at 2:30 without the power to fall back into slumber is disconcerting. In the darkness, in the quiet, there is nothing to do but think. And the things one thinks about at 2:30 in the morning are much different than anything thought about during the daylight hours. For me at least. This is when I take full stock of myself. In the clear light of day, I can delude myself. In the thick of darkness, I cannot. I hate this.
I thought, last night, about the early days. About "Lodge 11" at Glendale. About first walking into the ward and first having to decide who I will be. No one told me that providing service to people with disabilities was nothing of the sort. No one told me that power would be thrust into my hands and I, like a emperor newly proclaimed, had to decide who I wanted to be. I had the power to actually decide who I would be in relation to others.
Too new to know that every single person who worked on that ward, and every single person who would ever work in care providing, had to make the same decision. I decided, then and there, that I didn't want to misuse the trust given me. (It would be years until I learned that what I thought was trust was merely subserviance.) I walked up to a man with a disability who had a comic face and a relaxed demeanor. I thrust my hand out to greet him.
He flew into rage. His hands grabbed at my face and got hold of my hair. His knee slammed into my groin. In seconds I was on the floor watching him being carted swiftly into a time out room.
I had arrived on the behaviour ward.
It's now 3:30 and I've been awake for an hour. The memories of Glendale haunt me. Not because of what was done to me ... but because of what was done to them. It only now really hits me - with the force of a knee - how he saw me. Who I was to him. What I was to him.
What I want to do here on this blog is to think, aloud, about what it is to be in a position of service and a position of power at the same time. About those I've met along the way. This blog is about remembering as well as about imagining.