Helped a friend move this past Saturday. I was outside guarding the trailer when I met Steve. Steve was having a smoke, soaking up the sunshine on a cold January morning . Steve has two part, part time jobs. He takes care of the garbage dumpsters in the building, and rips up the old carpet when someone moves out. He told me the little extra money he makes doesn’t affect his disability check. As we were sitting there, a lady with spiked black hair, walking a dog named Violet, stopped to chat.
Normally I don’t care for little dogs. Most of them have an attitude. Violent did not. She came right up and licked my fingers.
The apartment my friend was moving out of is designated housing for people with disabilities….physical, emotional, etc.
I felt an instant connection with everyone I interacted with.
Christmas week 2013 we took a trip to New York City. (I wrote about this trip on my farm blog) During one excursion uptown we walked through Green Square park. I got to talking with Larry, who spends a lot of time in the park, feeding the squirrels. We talked about his friend Paul across the way, who was literally covered with pigeons:
Paul the Pigeon guy
I felt an instant connection with Larry.
It was one of the highlights of my trip.
Larry the squirrel guy who happens to be feeding a pigeon in this picture.
I read an analogy years ago about the values we place on beauty, physical strength and intelligence as a culture:
“From the moment they enter the world, children are subjected to a value system that reserves respect and esteem for only a select few. Those who fail to measure up to society’s standards—primarily in the areas of beauty and intelligence—must learn to cope with feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.”
Translation: If you have been born beautiful it is like you have been given the golden coin of self worth at birth. Intelligence and athletic ability = a silver coin of worth. (You are not quite as valuable as a beautiful person, but close…)
I (DM) might add, if you are well connected or have a lot of money, even though you may not be physically attractive or athletic you also get a pass into the club of popular important people.
Now pity the poor fool who has none of those things going for him.
You are left to fend for yourself.
As I entered my 20’s, I realized I was living under a cloud of low self esteem for some of these very reasons. I asked a good friend (who also happened to have a degree in mental health) if she had any tips on addressing the issues?
It wasn’t an instant fix but gradually, over time, I was able to change, to heal, to literally reprogram the hard drive of my thought life, to the point where 80 to 90% of the crap has been deleted, rooted out and replaced. In it’s place is peace, a clear head and mirth.
The connection I felt with Steve, the short haired lady and her dog, and Larry the squirrel guy I think is in part because none of us had anything to prove to each other, there was no need to impress.
We all knew we were broken or didn’t measure up in some way, it didn’t matter.
These days, my heart goes out to the person who has bought into this phony value system and doesn’t know where to turn when they loose their golden coin.
There is a better way.