Truth and Reconciliation

4 years ago in psychotherapy when I was trying to understand why I allow myself to be a doormat, why the white middle class director thought she could bar me from my own rehearsal, why I quaked inside instead of standing up to her, I learned a technique called mentalisation that made me feel entitled to self worth.

It is simple. I am entitled to ask people what they mean. As long as I am prepared to not react but genuinely listen to their answer. Then give myself time to process their answer.

In our original Reno memoirs I practise this. Many have said telling their memoir was cathartic. They got to express themselves as people. I got, we got, to listen without reacting and process what they said. Listening to their memoirs was cathartic for me too, for all of us.

I want to broaden that scope. Maybe one day I might even get the opportunity to listen to the white middle class director’s story cos I know now there will be something in there that reveals her insecurities that entitled her to treat me like that.

Mine, and her story, together, is a crystallised version of colour and class oppression. I think what we have achieved so far in our Reno project has made us strong. It certainly has changed me. I think we can afford to listen to the memoirs from outside our immediate community. 

Cos at the end of the day we all eat, shit, piss and love. We'll all die one day. We each have a story about our time on this Earth before that day. Each of those stories has formed each others’ story. The white middle class director thought she was entitled. I thought she was entitled.  Because we believed the perceived structure of this world. Never in a million years would she get away with that now. But I’ve only got here asking people what they mean, being prepared to not react, but genuinely listen to their answer, then giving myself time to process their answer.

We can learnt that inside the Reno we build inside the Whitworth, we can learn to be entitled by listening and allowing it to enlighten us. 

Me: ' Get an old person from before 1947.'

Laughter

Me: 'Who are dying to tell their story.'

Phil:' From their perspective?'

Me: ' Cos, they're dying to tell their story.'

Susie: ' And not only that – they're dying.'

We should collect their stories now.

Here is why and how.

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