I keep posting things on my Facebook page to help people. Not all the help being offered is appreciated by all my friends, but is usually objected to by someone it was not meant for. So Facebook is becoming less and less of a tool, and more of a slash and burn defense mechanism. I am not ready to quit FB just yet. I did announce today that I’m not going to repost any stories on gun violence, don’t know what good that will do either way but it’s messing up my chi, so to speak.
So I was just wondering. What are you doing? How are you helping things move forward in the world?
I’ve done some things I’m beyond “not proud of”, but have done my best to put them behind me and move forward. Not everyone wants me to do that, as though my living in my past will make them a better person. I don’t buy that for a second.
But if we’re talking past, I have a pretty good one, and the closer you look to the present, the better it looks (outside of poor choices in relationships, but even then my purpose or intention was to help).
2005 – Co-founded Asheville Homeless Network, still the nation’s only standalone Membership Organization for the homeless. Not for people working WITH the homeless, not for raising funds to trickle down TO the homeless, but the homeless population itself. I managed to get full 501(c)(3) status for it, in almost record time according to lawyers I’ve spoken with, and did all the paperwork and followup myself. Still active under other leadership, but I ran it myself for 5 years.
2006 – started back to knitting, first scarves and then hats. A lot of my yarn has been donated, people hear what I’m doing with the hats (donating them to poor and homeless people, probably over 95% of them) and remember that bag of yarn they have that they’ve never used. I buy a lot of yarn. Just ask JoAnn Fabrics’ website. At this point, I’ve given away over 1,000 hats to grateful people and organizations, and I’m still going.
Somewhere around there I became a co-founder of Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective, a support organization that does not judge you based on your treatment choices but supports your right to make those choices. This includes (a hard one) illegal drug usage, or no “medications” at all, but also includes choices to follow your doctors’ advice.
2012 – Worked for 6 months at a Social Security payee firm, helping handle finances for people with drug, alcohol, or mental health issues who could not handle their own. I also completely rewrote the company website. At minimum wage.
2013 – Was hired as a Direct Services Professional, working 5 hours a day in a home for two disabled individuals. Some of the work is easy, some of it is not. A lot of it is just getting through, when behavior of my guy has to be tolerated and my job becomes one of not harming himself, me, my co-worker, or the other guy in the house. I still have this job.
And I’m still knitting. And I’m still trying to lead a dialogue online about making the country better by moving forward.
Which includes my membership in Justice Party USA. This is the only party with an ethical platform — social, environmental, and economic justice, freedom based on respect of all individuals and the world we live in. It may not work. People are afraid of third-party activism, afraid it will take votes away from the “good” oligarchs and so get the “bad” oligarchs elected. But I believe in voting my conscience, and I wish I could give everyone in America a wake-up call to where they would vote theirs. Vote YOUR best interests, not those of the 84 people (or whatever the pathetically small number is) who own America and the media outlets. Reject negative politics in all forms from all sides.
My friends have mentioned that my blog does not take any stands, or settle on any issue. There are too many issues to pick one. But the first and foremost is, take care of myself. Make myself the best person I can be. Expose lies, reveal under-exposed reality, urge people to become the best person THEY can become. I know lots of them are better than me, or further along or better-equipped, but that’s no reason for me to give up on myself. I find people in need of help and try my best to help them see how they can better themselves, not by giving them a blueprint or putting myself forward as an example but by showing them it can be done, and it’s hard work. It’s hard work doing it, it’s hard work helping others respect themselves and others, it’s hard work writing blogs so few will even read, but it has to be done. For me. If it helps you, I would be happy to claim a mitzvah when it is offered, but this isn’t about Look At Me, it’s about Look At Yourself (and if you don’t like what you see, fix it).
I expect people who have been listening to my music have seen this trend. OK, I also have a wicked sense of humor, and it’s not exactly what people expect. Mis-wired brains and missing puzzle pieces, ya know.
Guess that’s enough rant for now.