Monday, 30 September 2019

Shelters Are Scary Places

Many citizens of Calgary still don't understand HOW SCARY staying in a shelter can be for most people. Besides fear and anxiety from the issues that necessitated you seeking out a shelter and not knowing if or when those issues will be solved, the actual experience of staying in a shelter can be in the least, disarming, and at worst, terrifyingly traumatizing!

(BTW, If you are a shelter resident and say, "It's not so bad once you get used to it," you have already become "homeless conditioned" to put up with junk)

If you are someone who thinks, "Oh hey - but it's only temporary... people can 'suck it up' for a little while," I'll have to say that this is a cool mind-set for removing oneself from thinking about shelter experiences and realities...

A lot of 'suck it up' for-a-little-while time turns into months, then half a year, a year, and a little more time yet. For some people...

... who are as deserving of a safe home as the person(s) who might be saying, 'suck it up.'

If you are a person who believes our city's shelters are doing the best job they can with some of our most vulnerable citizens, please ask yourself HOW you know and believe this... how can you be certain our city's shelters are looking after vulnerable people who stay within these shelter walls?

It's certainly NOT because you are sure you don't see any more homeless people walking around - because homeless/temporary shelter residents ARE walking around, DAILY, in our city - unless the temperature is warmer than -15 Celcius.

At temperatures cooler than -15 Celcius, in Calgary, there are rules in place that shelters must allow their temporary residents to stay inside and avoid frost-bite. Yay.

Some people in some shelters continually sleep on what amount to yoga mats on concrete floors... night after night, for months on end. Some of these shelter residents have done no wrong... they have psychological conditions which made/make them vulnerable to predators. Some have made small mistakes with family relations or employers or finances which caused more severe punishment than necessary and these people lost jobs, relationships, pets, housing, etc... The best some people can do right now is get inside shelters... where there is no abundance of counsellors or life skills coaches to help them make corrections to or find solutions for their mistakes and situations.

So many types of people, suffering individual traumas, are lumped together in shelters that these places are really not okay places to try and recuperate from shocking, sudden turns of events or from loss and trauma.

I survived shelter living and healed up - but all my healing, correction, solutions came once I was no longer in shelters. Some days, if I was healthier than certain individuals around me, I tried to help others with a task or two but more often, I was short-tempered, dismissive to others, and impolite, the latter just to appear spiky so people would leave me alone. Shelter survival sucks. And after you do leave, you have to heal up and solve problems from whatever landed you in a shelter, along with unlearning shelter survival skills so you can have patience and be polite again.

In shelters, you don't get to pick when or what you eat, when you sleep or wake up, when you bathe/shower. You can try controlling these things but there are dozens, sometimes hundreds of others also vying for the same shower time, sleep spot/time. Few things work out as planned. Some people in shelters do not even get to choose what clothing to wear (perhaps their backpack with clothes was stolen or lost or taken, or maybe they fled a situation at home and cannot return and they left with the clothes on their back only).

This post offers no solutions - it's just here as a reality check for those who think referring someone to a shelter in this city is something truly helpful for a person in need. Landing in a shelter is just one stage of a long list of realities people will have to overcome to get housed and become life-secured...

Monday, 6 May 2019

Where the actual heck am I these days?

It's been a REALLY long time since I posted. With the end of a semester (I'm a learning helper in adult edu rooms), I'm just now taking a look and trying to figure out where the actual heck I am these days concerning blog posts...

Wow, and I'm STILL reviewing material from the "Syllabus for Whites--"

Truthfully, looking back on the past year or so, I think I backed off on writing anything about that particular "syllabus," while encountering r/l push back from people I know... people TRYING to be allies to marginalized communities and individuals. These are people hitting roadblocks - settlers guilt, racial/racist ambiguity and confusions, clashes between what is right and what has flown or passed for okay in our societal and cultural norms for decades. Honestly, so much in the world is screwed up and even THAT makes people feel helpless to do anything much of the time so they fall victim to that powerful feeling and do nothing.

What really ticks me off (situations, not the people) is that people hitting these obstacles seem largely unaware of having bumped up against these things, anyway... I suppose being unable to determine the source of discomfort means feeling the need to defend oneself "I didn't do anything to Indians/Indigenous people, blacks, immigrants, gays, women, etc, so stop talking about this" "I'm not homophobic - I just don't want gays to be near me - I have that right about who I want around me."

If I point out - "Hey that's a racist statement--" or "...a statement or opinion based on privilege that doesn't include the reality of integral but smaller, marginalized groups your opinion affects..." people get, frankly, pisssssssy with me and then my patience flies out the window.

Thank actual Christ that I get to be WRONG so much lol 'cos it means I can SOMETIMES understand why someone is correcting me.

I'm just someone learning, too... and someone learning to help others keep learning how to process some life happenings, in general. Some days, I think my only value is in showing some people how to get back up after getting lambasted and being WRONG... showing people you learn from those mistakes - IF YOU MAKE A CHOICE to process the wrongs a certain way. (Watch ME making my many mistakes and getting up - this is how it's done).

Know what? I'm kinda cranky, so I'm going to share the vid that's helpin' me blow off steam

Godsmack song, "Whatever"

Okay so after listening to that and experiencing cathartic bytching, I'm good again lol

I think I technically understand why people say they are allies then stop actual ally action and "walking the talk," but I just don't know how to manufacture enough patience to hold space better beside struggling allies who have some resistance to ally truths and praxis.

This ally and examining privilege stuff has been really important to me but got really stalled. I've learning this through coming back into the blogger platform and trying to figure out where the actual heck I am these days... 'cos a LARGE handful of drafts in my dashboard, entirely unposted, are about ALLY and privilege topics.

Add the fact that I've been reading a LOT about how facts don't make people change (the right pressures sometimes DO - but applying pressure can go wrong in oh so many ways and right in only a few ways)...

So - where the actual heck I am these days is...

Still basically at the beginning, ready to try to make calls to action and change. Making mistakes and learning and getting back up.

Here I go again...

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Syllabus For Whites Alternate Locations

The "Syllabus for Whites" document been removed from the google documents location it was stored at since 2016.

I've found another couple of locations for it, however, if you prefer to locate this document yourself and look up its proper name/title on a google search, you'll also find it in several more web locations.

The proper title for the document if you are searching:

Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves

Another location (will open a pdf page/link):

On Trello site: Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves 

From the above link, a download is possible, so feel free to download and store a copy of this document in case the web page gets altered or the document is moved or removed.

Another location:

Beck and Bre: Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves

I'm still going through reading/material suggestions from this 2016 document.

A short explanation in case some readers don't know about this document or why the author created it and asked "Whites" to educate themselves...

The document is basically a response to the American Presidential Election results of November 2016...

In November 2016, Donald Trump was voted in as President of The United States of America. The base of Trump's supporters are "the dominant" in US/American society, privileged white persons. This was known in 2016 during the election and, according to current stats in 2018, it is still true that Trump's main supporters are privileged white persons.

The author of the "syllabus" document created a list of reading materials for people to read and understand which may educate people on topics of oppression, harms of white supremacy, the ways in which whites have oppressed non-whites and the harms this has caused not only to people but to society/social structures, in general. There are articles on how to be an ally, how to recognize oppression, racism, etc., and so much more... because, frankly, it seems supporters of certain white politicians may be following leaders and approving policies that will bring about repeats of history - a long North American history of oppression of non-whites, women, minorities and vulnerable populations.

NOTE: the full intent of the document, I'm sure is not solely about white Trump supporters needing to educate themselves - the US 2018 election was just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back... In the document and suggested reading list, there are definite Trump-specific topics, however, I don't even live in the USA and by reading some of these articles, I've been learning about how to deal with oppression, how to recognize certain nefarious and covert types of racism, sexism, oppressions and other "isms" that are harmful not only to those oppressed but also to those doing the oppressing.

If you think racism, sexism and other oppression situations are wrong but you don't know where to start learning about these topics, use one of the links above to go check out this document and start working your way through the reading list.

I've reviewed a few of the early articles in the list via my blog, but am by no means finished with learning from this document/list.

Feel free to comment if you read a particular article or have some insights on the topics after reading from the list. I'd love to hear what these titles/materials mean to others.