There is no past or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water.Janet Frame
I know I have promised an end before but perhaps now is the right time. After all I have now covered all ideas. All apprehensions of being critical–of using my brain–are gone. All need for acceptance from Haven has left me (though I will continue to fight for accountability for the sake of future participants.)
I have certainly struggled. I have now covered: ethics, the communication model, the empathy model, catharsis, breathing, boundaries, sexuality… I believe there is now nothing left to look at. It took me time to really look. I was surrounded by water for a long time. So many times I felt guilty for being critical and then lashed out. Many people are not happy with me. But this is a cultish reaction.
I still loathe the notion of followership and the apparent desire to convert young people to become good followers, choose their next favourite to put on a pedestal, and repeat the same pattern of the past. The notion that I was ever considered to be one of those people is hilarious in hindsight. There were people I believed saw it for what it was–my presence as not being quite right–but the reaction of those was generally to treat me as a pest.
When I was homeless and taken on as a project, I believe things would have been so different had even one person asked me what I wanted without telling me what to want, what to do, how to be. I really believe that it would have just taken one person to tell me that I could leave, that I was able, that I had a whole life ahead of me… I left out the part about how a Haven leader even offered to take one of my university courses for me. She mentioned it several times.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have the same success without having to fight back against my entire life up until this point.
So thank you Haven, you taught me that I have something to fight for.
Some changes have been made–though not enough. They changed their policies but refused to acknowledge why they did so. They put a new complaint procedure in place but it is not yet finished. They say they are having conversations. These conversations do not include me so naturally fall short but for a system that has been devoid of accountability/ethics from its start–it will take time.
So I leave you with Janet Frame. Because I am no follower. Haven was my entire world. Now I feel as if I am looking back into a fishbowl.
Now I want to rip my hair out at anything that even resembles navel-gazing. There is a whole world out there! Furthermore, if you believe that to be honest you have to voice every negative fleeting though the, by voicing them you give them a certain validation. The more you navel-gaze, the less you will be able to see all of the wonders outside of yourself. This is true responsibility–what you choose to pay attention to. Voicing diatribes is a form of attention. Responsibility is in the ability to think critically for yourself. And if voicing every fleeting thought is a virtue in Haven thinking, perhaps I wasn’t an inadequate follower but one who could point out the flaws by honestly living this philosophy. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to follow others. That was my problem.
I still cry, but whether or not the owls are happy or not occurs to me less and less. I mainly cry for the fact that it took me so damn long. Being institutionalized or living in institutional environments is like living in a dream. It gave me an edge I wouldn’t otherwise have–one that terrifies me mostly. But it is mine. And I survived.
No model can explain that. And nobody can teach you how to live without also teaching you that you don’t already know how to live. You know how to live, you were born to live. That’s existentialism. There’s nothing more to it.
And for any good or inadequate followers who may stumble upon this–I give you permission to use your brain, use your own resources, and to leave. Leave in any direction, just make sure it is yours. Falling flat on your face on your own terms is always infinitely better than being infantilized.
The wizard is just a man behind a curtain. You have the world at your fingertips. Abstractions are for fish, you are a warrior.
Most importantly–eventually you will realize that the wizard needs you more than you need him.