Being who we are

Sometimes it is difficult to be who we are. Sometimes it is easy to hide things that make us who we were. These things aren’t necessarily bad things but for some reason we feel the need to hide it. For example, I like star trek, I like discworld, I like hitch hikers guide to the galaxy and I enjoy dressing up in costumes and hanging out with other people who are in costumes. I don’t tell people that when I first meet them. When people ask me what I am reading I will tell them about one of the sensible books on my kindle rather than what I am really reading.

Being who I really am can lead to people thinking that I am weird; it could lead to people laughing at me; it could lead to people not wanting to talk to me or talking about me behind my back or worse, people talking to me about star wars!

It takes confidence in myself and trust in the people I am interacting with to be the person I really am. It takes strength to be that person who I want to be in a new situation with people I don’t know.

The person who we are is the person we are meant to be. We have not been made one way in order for us to be some other way. Often, people find themselves in difficulty because they have been trapped into living as someone else. These difficulties can lead them to acting in ways which are destructive to other people but mostly destructive to themselves.

I was working with someone last week, they have been stealing things but not big things. They have been stealing things that if they had asked for they would have been given. They have been stealing things that they are entitled to. They have been stealing things that already belong to them. No matter what they are being told, they feel the need to steal because they don’t believe that they could get these things any other way. They don’t believe that they are the sort of person who deserves these things. They don’t believe that the person they think they should be.

I believe that the less energy we put into being someone else the more energy we have to be who we are. I believe that we have been brought together in a community to encourage each other to make the decision to be who we are. And when we see people hiding we should be helping them to stop hiding not helping them to keep hiding.

Driving like its hard…

Recently I went on a speed awareness course. Most of it was very dull, however, what was interesting is that statistically people are less likely to speed near to a school. This is due to the perceived risk of children being unpredictable. People are more likely to have an accident close to home. This is due to the perceived lack of risk on familiar roads which allows your concentration to drift.

Familiarity is a dangerous thing. Sometimes things need to be shaken up so that we actually see the things that we have taken for granted, the things that have been lost in translation, the things that may jump out at us and destroy everything that was once so comfortable and easy.

Here in the Rubik Cube, we had get adapt to a new way of existing because everything we had known before no longer existed. The rules that were familiar had led us to into dangerous territory and we had not spotted the problems until it was too late to fix it. But without the rules life was scary and unpredictable.

We like certainty and predictability and we try to create it even where there is none but sometimes trying to force it blinds us to the problems we create alongside it.

Often, in an attempt to keep things predictable we create problems for people who do not fit into the ways we have created. In the social model of disability, people are impaired, not by their own disability but by a society which refuses to enable them. People are made blind if society does not allow them to wear glasses.

Next time something is comfortable or safe, perhaps it is time to think who is being discomforted or disabled for my comfort? Next time something is uncomfortable, perhaps it is time to think who is being comforted or enabled in this environment?

Lets do Halloween!

Many Christians feel that Halloween is a bad thing that we need to stand against. However, I feel that in the way that Christians of old took Easter and Christmas from the pagans and made the festivals relevant the faith we should do the same to Halloween. Here is how:

1) Trick or treating is an excellent way to go and visit your neighbours with no actual reasons. It is a way to learn names, to start conversations and build friendships. How about next year delivering small treats to the houses you go to visit? Even homes which don’t answer you could have a little ‘treat’ card posted through their door.

2) I worked with a young child who was terrified that her house would fall down when she was sleeping. I worked with another who couldn’t sleep because they were scared of people breaking into their house. Often, the children I work with are scared of things with are statistically unlikely to occur. They are not terrified of family members or known and trusted adults, however, for most of the children in this country the things that will cause them the most harm are the things or the people they know: Their parents, the council sanctioned taxi drivers, the caretakers at their school.

We often teach children to be scared of things that they don’t need to be scared of. Halloween, however, takes all the monsters and vampires, the witches and ghosts and, just like the ending of Scooby Doo, reveals them to be nothing real, reveals them to be fakes, reveals them as things that aren’t scary. Just like Scooby Doo, the thing to be scared of is someone already known.

3) Halloween is the dark before the light of Christmas. It represents the reason why Jesus needed to be the ‘light of the world’. Often, people say they don’t need the salvation offered, they don’t need to be saved because they are fine. How can be recognise the light if they don’t see the dark?

Halloween parties could be used as pre-Christmas events. Embrace Halloween and use it to advertise the Christmas events.

4) Dressing up is fun. However, costumes are becoming more expensive. This puts pressure on families who are struggling financially. Send out costume ‘kits’ – newspaper, masking tape, paper plates etc and invite families to a party where the most creative costumes made from the same basic materials win prices – allowing families who cannot afford to normally get involved to get involved.

I’m pretty sure there are other things – things around befriending older people who may be scared of unknown people knocking on their door when they are alone – but I feel that sitting around and saying how terrible the world is, how everything is going to hell in a hand basket is counter productive. Instead of being fun-suckers, lets be the trend starters.