Adventures on a Dating App 3

And again, with commentary.

His opening salvo is based on this bit of my profile “I cook good vegan food (am east Asian so I know at least 10 different types of tofu and know how to incorporate it into all sorts of dishes!), and if you ar vegan I’m happy to be vegan when I’m with you, but I’m afraid I can’t give up meat or I risk malnutrition”.

This paragraph in my okcupid profile was put there because over half of the demographic of people I would like to date (intersectional human rights advocates/activists/supporters) are vegetarian/ vegan.  Unless they were also militant animal rights people… I sort of don’t want to turn them off because my pool is small enough as it is.

Anyway… opening salvo.  Comment 1.  I didn’t say I need meat, merely that I risk malnutrition, therefore jumping to conclusions [-2].  He goes on to query my medical state, which I point out in my reply – is rather intrusive for a first contact question [-6].

I try to reassure him, and placate him.

His next salvo labels my attempt at placating him as a trigger point and attempts to paint a story of me without any data.  Again, jumping to conclusions [-8].  Talks about me giving him my tofu powers.  Hmm.. that’s an assumption that I want to give him anything at this point.  He says “I don’t mind waiting”(for the mystical third date), which belies an assumption that we will even get to third date.  [-8]

I wanted to see where he would go next with his wildly jumping conclusions, so I placated him and gave me my true explanation, but without giving a huge amount of detail.  I also said I will not be changing my diet, and if that is not okay with him, then I am okay with that.

His next salvo talks about how great he has been on veganism and water fasting.  He also says “I think you’d survive without meat”.  This could have been a general ‘you’ as in ‘one’ or ‘the human species’.  But in this context, I took it to mean that he thinks I can survive without meat, and I pointed out to him that he’s getting dangerously close to my threshold for blocking people.  At this point this is a no on top of more nos, so this will add another -5 to his score.

I even tried to explain his lack of data scientifically.

Hmm another salvo. “I can tell it’s a trigger for you” [-12]  Well, I can tell you are a massive dickhead, but I will let you dig your hole a bit deeper before I block because I like using okcupid conversations to make amusing blogs.

Announcement for schizophrenia, bi-polar, and BPD, with indication that he is unmedicated, and no indication on whether he is under medical advice.  BIG red flag.  Instant [-20].  Cannot spell carcinogenic [-2].  Does not know the meaning of deal breaker [-5].  Attempts to claim that he hasn’t offered any scientific advice. [-2].  Next salvo until the point at which I blocked him [-50].

Total score -115.  This is quite an accomplishment.  “Highest” score since I started scoring!! (only started today rofl).

I’m pretty sure no one is going to read this.. But writing this amuses and de-stresses me, so yay! 😀

Advertisements

Cultural Appropriation is Too Mild

So.. Part 2..

Once I wrote that last piece, most people who initially questioned why I felt nauseatingly horrified knew enough to shut up.  Some more-aware friends thanked me for writing it.  But not everyone understood.  One person (no longer a friend) posted on my facebook “Fine line between clever & stupid in artistry at whatever level it’s put out there, one persons cultural appropriation is another’s cultural melting pot… Sometimes entertainment gets read too much into…”

Let me categorically say I don’t go around shouting cultural appropriation about everything.  I did not let out a single squeak when the the white american girl wearing a cheongsam to prom became an issue.  I don’t go into white-led buddhist centres in London and tell them they are appropriating my culture and religion.  I don’t bat an eyelid at lycra-clad, pale-skinned Yoga instructors.  I have taken aikido classes from Caucasians.  I applaud when London youth of all colours perform the lion dance or dragon dance during the Chinese New Year parades in London.  I don’t consider borrowing food, clothing, culture, or religion to be appropriation if it is done respectfully.  I would call it cultural sharing.

What is cultural appropriation?  To be honest I am not really sure.  As I said in my last post – I am no racial philosopher or writer.  My feeling is that appropriation is when it is less respectful.  Or when the person who isn’t from the native culture acts superior to the person from the culture.  Basically when the person-borrowing is an arsehole about it.  Hopefully that is a good explanation, but truly I have no clue.

That Eurovision preformance of “Toy” – that was not cultural appropriation.  I said it in the last post and I say it here again.  It makes fun of us.  It steps on those of us who conform, it pisses on those of us who don’t.

The insult that Toy was to me and anyone of similar background and demographic was one so cruel, so cold, so colonialist that to call it mere “cultural appropriation” would be a disservice to the discourse.  To put to me, on my facebook, that I am being oversensitive about a little bit of cultural appropriation shows how little my feelings mattered to that person.  These are my feelings, my hurt, and if stepping on me further truly reduces your guilt, you don’t deserve my friendship.

It wasn’t cultural appropriation.  It was yellowface.  Done to mock and amuse.  Done to insult.  No argument.  My blog, my facebook, my words.  If you want to argue, you can fuck off.

“Toy” was Yellowface and I am under no obligation to explain my horror.

This is not a think-piece.  I am no racial commentator and my fledgling attempts at gender & sexuality advocacy and activism can’t even be said to have taken flight yet.  I write emotion pieces, sometimes dating-app-chat commentary, but mostly this blog is just a place for me to dump my thoughts.

I do not watch Eurovision.  I did not grow up in Europe and didn’t hear about it until university, and when I learnt about it, all it was to me was oh.. just another reason for people to party and get drunk.  I do have one firm memory of Eurovision party I attended, which ended with me being hilariously drunk and spending the night on the host’s sofa.  But that was more about the friends than about Eurovision itself – and that was about 6 years ago.

So, the year is 2018.  My socio-political education is more London-based and LGBT-based than it was probably 10 years ago when I used to write socio-political commentary on Malaysian politics.

I digress.

The year is 2018.  I heard Israel won Eurovision.  I heard it may be problematic.  I searched for it and watched it on YouTube.

My heart sank in a pit of nauseating horror as I saw it.  It was yellowface.  And to add insult to the injury, it was yellowface with lucky cats, outrageous kimono-like outfit and clucking humans pretending to be chickens.

The singer claims the clucking represents the cowards of the men involved in #metoo.  The lyrics “i am not your toy” resonates in the chorus of the song.  There are proclamations that the song is about empowering women.

There is an experience common to east-asian-looking women who live outside of east asia.  We are seen as submissive.  Perfectly trained housewives.  Clean freaks (no shoes indoors!!), good cooks (albeit sometimes weird… pigs brain anyone?) and generally subservient and obedient.  This is the east asian version of the ‘black women are aggressive’ stereotype.

The experience of being assumed to fit the stereotype is undeniable to anyone who has experience it, and totally invisible and incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t.  We (east-asian-women-not-living-in-east-asia) are all victims to this stereotype, and those of us who don’t fit into it will all have clashed with it at some point.  We see it in the workplace, we see it on the street.  We see it on the dating apps.  We see it in every “nihao” and “konichiwa” shouted at us on the street.  We are so used to it we live with it daily and it is just another factoid of living our lives.

So this performance, which inexplicably uses east asian visuals even though it has nothing to do with the song itself….. This performance plays on a stereotype deeper than most viewers will see.  “I am not your toy”….. This phrase plays deeper and truer to us non conforming east asian women than to the average white woman on the average london street.

If you are a white woman.. tell me… has anyone ever asked you to be their toy?  Has anyone ever stereotyped and expected you to be their toy?

Well, I am a yellow-skinned woman, and before I shaved my hair off and dyed it all shades of the rainbow – this was a common experience.  My waist-long straight black hair was treated as a commodity, my submissiveness and obedience assumed to exist.  Even now I get asked on dating apps which photo is more recent, usually with the hint that the ones of me with long hair is prettier and more desirable.

This song, which claims to empower women, does so at the expense of the stereotype of east asian women.  It makes fun of us.  It steps on those of us who conform, it pisses on those of us who don’t.  It is unlikely to rile the anger of people living in east asia, and that will be their defense, but to us, who live in a predominantly white world, where this stereotype is widespread and common, to us it is insulting, it is humiliating, it is embarassingly typical of a white-majority world with no clue of race relations, which haven’t learnt from the backlash of blackface, with no concept of colonialism and the sociopolitical manifestations of it in daily life.

The number of times I haven’t been seen as a full fledged equal human.  Where I am treated as a thing, a tool, a toy.

The Israel performance makes me sick to the stomach and I do not have the words to explain why.  I don’t have a socio-political education or writing background.  My chosen activism has been in gender and sexuality.. not race.  But today, this morning, with this feeling of  nausea deep in the pit of my stomach, I have to write this.  This is my view. This is my take.

I am not arguing this view, I am not justifying my emotions and opinions.  I am saying this song was personally horrifying and insulting.  This a personal feeling and opinion and I do not have to validate myself to anyone.

If you think otherwise, please kindly fuck off.

 

Adventures on a Dating App 2

Screenshot_20180507-201645__01.jpg

Dear peeps on dating apps..

When I question you about things on your profile which I find questionable… appealing to your own, or my, physicality isn’t going to work.

I didn’t bother to get a screenshot of the one I blocked this morning… but I was questioning his view that burning a country’s flag should be illegal, and he kept saying “you are the sexiest person on okcupid”.

And if “you are sexy” didn’t work.. “i am naked” very very definitely wouldn’t work either.

Please stop.
Thanks,

Me.

Adventures on a dating app 1

screenshot_20180503-234659.jpgDating sites are interesting places.  It is a way to meet people, all kinds of people, people I wouldn’t ever even give a second glance to on the street.  Over the months I’ve expanded, condensed, edited and rewritten my profile so it is now a comprehensive, information-filled, hopefully-non-wordy guide to self elimination (from my dating pool).

At the moment my self summary reads :


Relationship anarchist.  Broken and afraid to love.  Let’s be friends first.  Not a plaything or a Ms Right.  FwB or casual sex is okay, but not one night stands, and not too quick okay?  If you can’t chat consistently for at least a week before mentioning you’re horny.. Please swipe left.

Likes: Cats & Ducks. Science & tech. Intersectional human rights & LGBT activism. Empathy & self awareness. Multiculturalism. Food. Crochet. Leftist politics. Cooking & baking. Tattoos. Sloe gin. Cuddles. Musicals & theatre. Classical music & symphonic metal. Charity work & humanism. Sci-fi & fantasy.

Not interested in meeting couples, cheaters, racists, bigots, right-wingers, anti-vaccers or science denialists.

Random facts :

I was in Sierra Leone during the Ebola Crisis and came back slightly crazier.  Life is short!

I don’t own a TV!

BE creative, don’t ask me where I’m originally from because the answer is EARTH!!

Injury prone and not sporty, but long walks and camping are good.  Climbing too but it’s been a while.

I love babies but I’m not ever getting pregnant.  Do plan to foster or adopt older, troubled kids once I have a spare room and a more flexible job.

Not into horoscopes or Myers-Brigg.  Pseudoscience isn’t my cup of tea.

I cook good vegan food (am east Asian so I know at least 10 different types of tofu and know how to incorporate it into all sorts of dishes!), and if you are vegan I’m happy to be vegan when I’m with you, but I’m afraid I can’t give up meat or I risk malnutrition.

Spoiler alert: I like reading the questions and answers and I start with Ethics and move my way down to sex.. I think that gives an idea of what’s more important to me!

If your profile is empty, don’t expect me to answer questions about me until you’ve told me as much about you as my profile has told you about me.



Add to the above the other profile bits.  And then there are the 150 questions I have answered and commented on…

So… with that in mind… some people send beautifully crafted messages appealing to multiple facets of me, listing things they have in common, and often with something interesting about themselves that they think would interest me.

These people who send “Hi, how are you” messages.  I don’t really understand what they are expecting from me.  Does anyone really think they will attract a girl that way?  Maybe there are some girls out there who they might attract.  But what in my profile gives them the impression that a “Hi” would be enough to get my attention?

It is dependent on my mood, but sometimes I like being polite.  Not as a wind up, but just being nice ya know.  What happens when I’m being nice though… they expect more niceness.  Hey.. I could have save time by unmatching, but I took the effort to send a message back saying ‘sorry, not my type’.  and they start going ‘but you don’t know me’.  Well.. I know you that you haven’t taken any effort to read my profile.  I know that you haven’t taken any effort to write out a message which will really get my attention.  I know that you have an empty profile, and if you have indeed read mine, you will see that i have written “If your profile is empty, don’t expect me to answer questions about me until you’ve told me as much about you as my profile has told you about me.”   Which can only mean…. you haven’t read my profile.  IF you haven’t read my profile.. what makes you think I would even want to chat with you?  The mind boggles..  If you don’t care about what I HAVE put out there for YOU to read, I do not have confidence that you WILL care about me, the real me, the human me, the woman me.  ME me.

All I am to them is just meat isn’t it?  A vagina to fuck?  Well, this vagina has a highly intelligent brain attached to it (and don’t think that saying you are sapiosexual will flatter me, in my opinion, sapiosexuals tend to be jerks).  This vagina has a bleeding heart attached it.  A scientifically trained brain attached to it.  A pair of activist kidneys and an empathic liver attached to it.  I also have small and large intestines, which are excellent shit filters (shit eliminators to be more accurate).

You want my attention?  You gotta to appeal to all of it because I am all of those things.  If you do not appeal to my activism, my empathy, my passions and my brain?  If you can’t get past my shit filters, I’m sorry but you simply aren’t appealing to my vagina.  You can fuck off and go back to the hole you just crawled out of.

i, who?

I am me.
I am many people.
I am many names. 
I am many issues.
I am many lives. 
I am many ages.
I am one body, but I am not one me.
I exist in many times, in many forms.
I am different friends to different people.
I am maleable.
I, therapist.
I, microscopist.
I, scientist.
I, helpline volunteer.
I, friends.
I, child to my father.
I, sibling to my sisters.
I, a dark hole in my mother.

The Danger Sense..

.. and the disadvantages of it.

I had school this weekend again, and I was forced to learn about myself… again.

You know how humans have developed to sense danger?  How things moving in our peripheral vision – when we don’t expect anything to be there – makes our heart race and our muscles prep to run?  That fight/flight/fright/freeze response which so many of us, in the modern world, in the absence of natural predators, manifest as one form or other of anxiety disorder?

I experienced the mirror of this today.  I am familiar with the anxiety – the physical sensations of a panic attack  – but today it was the Danger! Protect! Defend! response when there was not threat at all.  I was made aware today of an unconscious defence system I have of – when I perceive someone to be in any way, even slightly, even uncontextually, even appropriately, to be sex-negative – I shut my portcullis, man the towers, and light the fires for the fire-archers.

The ‘normal’ manifestation of my anxiety – panic attacks when I have to deal with builders or bad bosses etc… I’ve learnt to deal with and can handle.  I may have to move away from the situation for a bit to get the anxiety under control.. but I recognise and can deal with the anxiety.

Today though.. I was aware of fury, and walls blinking into existence.  I did not feel any panic of anxiety.  Just walls.  Many many many many walls.  Gates closed, defences up.

And why?  Because of perceived sex-negativity which wasn’t even there.

This appears to have evolved from years and years of being around people who are closed minded about sex.  I love sex.  I am bisexual and kinky.  I am poly.  I am a slut.  I own and love the label.  Being someone of this nature – the environment I grew up in throttled it for so long, that when I finally learnt what I was, learnt to love and to accept myself – I also developed, or shall I say overdeveloped, a very sensitive radar for any sex negativity.  And today (or rather one month ago….), for the first time, it triggered inappropriately.  It triggered amongst people who was safe to be around, people who aren’t sex negative.

*deep breath*

Unravelling that took all day.  Took a lot of tears and a lot of talk.  I knew my unconscious ‘worked’ whenever I met someone new.  One of my previous therapists went through that with me already.  I knew some of this measurements my unconscious did of new people was to do with how likely they are to accept my sexualities… but I was never this aware, and it’s taken some pretty bad misjudgements and misfirings for it to happen.

I’m kinda glad it did happen.  I like learning about myself.  But god is it overwhelming and exhausting when it does.

And I’ve just noticed a blown lightbulb… hah… good time to end the post eh?  How many therapists in training does it take to change a light bulb?  In this case… 1… because there isn’t anyone here to look after me so…. sigh…. loneliness eh?  That’s a topic for another day….

 

A step in therapy

When I was little, my mother often used a Malay idiom to describe me.  “Hangat hangat tahi ayam”, which directly translates to “Hot hot chicken shit” or.. the chicken’s shit is hot when it first comes out, but cools down within seconds of hitting the ground.  It describes a person who likes to try new things, has enthusiasm for beginnings, but doesn’t last long, or doesn’t stay til the end of the new endeavour.  When I described this to the therapist I was seeing for PTSD 2 years ago, she was very struck by it.

Her larger than I expected reaction to it has stayed with me.

Recently I talked about this again with my current therapist, in a different context from when I brought it up last time – from a place of better self worth- and I realised there is another way to look at this.

I will try anything once – even twice… often three times.. before I give up.  So for all intents and purposes it may look as if I have actually started something new and then not stuck around.  But taking a recent example – I signed up for a course of 6 zumba classes – because I need more exercise, have never done anything like it, and thought oh why not.  I went once and hated it.  I went a second time – still hated it.  I went a third time – and decided it wasn’t for me.  I tried three times to like it, and didn’t.  From one point of view, that describes a person who gives new things a proper chance before giving up.  3 times doesn’t count as a start to me… that’s just me giving a go.. If I stop after 10 times.. then yea.. I’ve started and stopped… but 3 times? Nope!

I don’t give up easily and I don’t dismiss things easily either.  That is how I finished the MSc I hated, that’s how I manage to stay employed in jobs I was absolutely miserable in.  That is how I found new jobs – by applying non stop.  That is how I approach life.  I will never say no to a new food.  I’ve eaten raw oysters numerous times – and I have no enjoyment of it.  But if someone says to me ‘try it this way it’s a lot nicer’.. I will.  There isn’t any food in the world I will not try once (or twice, often 3 times) (with the exception of eating anything while it’s still alive, or anything endangered).

So I guess this is a step in therapy eh?  I am throwing off a negative label my mother stuck on, and turning it into something positive.  Yes, I am a hot hot chicken shit and I’m proud of it.  It means I approach new things with enthusiasm and excitement, and do not shirk from strangeness – at least not until I have given it a good go and firmly decided it isn’t for me.  This isn’t a negative, it is a positive, and I am proud to be the person I am.

To text or not to text…

Text who?  The wife of a close friend who accused me of sleeping with him – who now won’t let him see me without her chaperoning.

I live an esoteric lifestyle.  I live on my own and have a very busy life working full time, studying full time, and occasionally meeting up with random friends – often for dinner, sometimes for coffee, walks in the park, charity-shop-treasure-diving, restaurant-exploring, and other things like that.  My physical and emotional needs are met outside of this setting.  I have two lovers, who are themselves a couple, whom I meet about once a week.  This post isn’t about them.

I have dinner buddies, cuddle buddies, and a never ending list of people I need to have coffee with, meet up with, have a beer with, and otherwise catch up with.  And I do most of these things as if I was single.  After all I don’t have anyone to ‘go home to’ at the end of the day, so when I stay out, there isn’t a time I have to get home by either than time to get enough sleep to go to work the next day.

Recently this led to an accusation by the wife of a dinner buddy.  And she now wants to be present and to chaperone any future meetings.  Now…. I’m not entirely sure whether this is to stop any flirting – of which there has never been any… or to stop said dinner buddy from spending upwards of a hundred pounds on delicate Japanese plum wine – which she takes umbrage at.

I do not feel guilty about any of this.  Said dinner buddy and I pay for equal numbers of meals – so he buys one, I buy the next.  The choice of restaurants are a little unequal – so I tend to pay for the cheaper meals, but that is a choice we both make equally, with both fully informed.  He earns more than twice what I do, so I let him choose what he wants to treats me to and I don’t consider this ‘taking advantage’.

I do feel bad about his current situation though.  After all I did encourage him to cheat on his wife.  Not with me mind, but I do have implicit knowledge of his 1 extra-marital affair.  And the discovery of this affair is what brought his wife running back to him after denying him conjugal intimacy for 16 years – and he has gone back to her.  So they are now a very happy lovey dovey totally infatuated couple again.  From where I sit, this is partially thanks to me – something to be happy about, and proud of.

But he is now being denied access to his friends.  His wife calls me a “teenage harpy”.  And his elderly female poker buddy is his ‘skeleton in the closet’.  Rather hilarious titles if I may say so.  So what exactly do I need to get off my chest here?  I feel he is being treated unfairly, but if it is his choice, who am I to point that out?  After all, it was his choice to choose restaurants unequally and I let him.  Perhaps he enjoys being treated unfairly by the opposite sex?  If that is the case, who am I to call him out on it or to deny him that enjoyment?

I find it amusing and sad in equal parts that his wife feels so insecure that she won’t let him out with me.  I don’t expect the dinner buddy to choose me over his wife.  I’m just a dinner buddy after all, and on the one occasion he did preposition me, I flat out refused to have any sort of relationship with him either than as a dinner buddy.

It wasn’t and isn’t my place to analyse their relationship.  No matter what I see, unless she wants to talk to me (and she has an open invitation to do that… she has my number and did call me to shout at me once when I was having my morning shit (and yes, getting shouted at for sleeping with someone while I was having a morning shit is as funny as it sounds)).   She has an open invitation to have coffee with me and talk to me.. but unless she wants to do that, it isn’t my place to offer again, or to try to arrange it.  He is good conversation and he bought me expensive dinners.  There is no relationship beyond that.  I wish him well, and I hope he has opportunity to drink more delicate plum wine.  But as far as him and his wife are concerned… I don’t think we will talk, meet, or have dinner again.  It is sad to lose a friend, but this is not the first time, nor will it be the last.

 

 

 

It isn’t my job to teach..

..except when it is explicitly my job.

I teach microscopy in my day job as a microscopy officer.  I teach when I walk into the charity I (used to) volunteer for on the days I’ve agreed to be a trainer.  Outside of these two times, where it is explicitly my job to teach – it isn’t my job to teach.

I realise I have a problem with inevitably teaching where it isn’t my job – when I start burning out from it.  What do I teach?  I teach diversity and inclusion.  I teach empathy and acceptance.  I teach people that the world isn’t as simple as they think it is, that life isn’t as straightforward as they wish it is.

The LGBT+ charity I volunteered for had a diversity problem.  Not enough visibility of the ‘B’s, not enough representation of the ‘T’s, and generally dismal performance when it came to recruiting minority ethnic people.  They even had dismal numbers of women, but that improved in the few years I was there.  So what do I find myself doing?  Teaching people about why recruitment of the underrepresented populations is such a problem – and that ends up being a long lesson on what the privilege ladder is, and why it affects recruitment for the charity.  Oh, and why it is important to collect information on why people leave.

I can’t help it, I am from a diverse, underrepresented population, and I try to be a well read, informed, educated intersectional feminist.  I don’t expect other people to be as informed, but at the same time, if they are willing to learn, I like to think I’m willing to teach.  Except… sometimes that burns me out.  When it happens again and again and again and again, it wears me out.. and in the end, I have to take a break.

I left that charity a month ago.  I burnt out.  I need to spend my time and my energies on getting my BA in Counselling… and yet… it is happening again.

My counselling course had a very cohesive group last year, and we learnt a lot together.  This year’s group is partly old, partly new, and we haven’t learn about each other yet.  Last weekend’s module was on ethics, which inevitably brings up sensitive topics such as sexual deviance and suicide – topics I feel strongly about.  Unfortunately… people without any background knowledge of me, who does not know why I have a in-depth knowledge of sexual health, sexual deviance, and the legal issues surrounding such – are prone to questioning WHY I have the knowledge.

The question makes me feel cornered.

Even though I don’t hide it.  I wear rainbows in my hair and blue-purple-pink badges on my bag.  I talk about bisexuality and polyamory as if it is everyday for me.  Well, it IS everyday for me.  My group last year heard me speak about the helpline I volunteered for, about how people, sometimes teenagers, who have no other safe source of sexual health information, phone the helpline, about how it makes me feel, about the good it does.  But not everyone from year 2 knows my background… and so they question.

I don’t hide it – but the question makes me feel cornered.  The way it was asked made me feel defensive, like it was something I was expected to be ashamed about – and I am not.  Maybe I do have issues around shame, and maybe this is all me.  But.. despite feeling these defensiveness, I still offer a friendly hand, I say – if you want to know anything else, ask me after class, I am happy to share.

Again I offered to teach.

What is sexual deviance?  What is sexual normalcy?  Shouldn’t we, as counsellors in training, be completely open about sex?  Shouldn’t we be prepared to deal with sexual shame in our clients?  Yet… if we ourselves are not ready to talk about sex frankly, how do we expect to be able to help clients with sexual shame or sexual repression?

I want to say all this to them, but again, this is teaching.  Instead I write in my learning journal that I should look at the good side of this.  If my fellow counsellors can’t deal with sexual repression… they can refer those clients to me.  More business for me right?

But no – I cannot feel good about this.  I cannot feel good knowing that even counsellors training in 2017 are not dealing with sexual shame & repression.  I have talked to far too many people for whom this is a problem, who might go for counselling, who might then be faced with a counsellor who isn’t equipped to deal with the problem, who might then never get the help they need.  I do not and cannot feel good about this.  But I can only say to myself – it isn’t my job to teach.  I am a student in the class, like everyone else, and it isn’t my job to teach.

The other ethical topic we talked about last week was suicide, when to report, when not to.  I had a very idealistic young coursemate whose view was very much along the lines of ‘99.999% of all suicides are circumstantial and can be stopped if the circumstances change’.  Erm.. my dear little friend – you may be right, but all you are is a therapist, not a magician.  If clients are in so much despair, whether from illness, poverty, addiction, or anything else which is circumstantial – there is NOTHING the therapist can do to change the circumstance… so saying that doesn’t really help.  This coursemate also said to me “give me one example where nothing can be done, there is always something which can be done”.  My heroine, my idol, my sibbling-in-another-life Leelah Alcorn, I thank you for being my example, and I am sorry I had to talk about you.

Why does this coursemate repeatedly corner me, why do they keep asking me questions?  It isn’t my job to teach.  I can’t help but teach, but it burns me out, it frustrates me.  I am there as a student, I am there to learn, I am there to improve on my skills as a counsellor, and to build my own self awareness.  I am not there to teach.  I blame them for being frustrating, but it is my problem too. If I don’t offer to teach, people will stop expecting me to. 

This post is about my self awareness.  It is me, repeating to myself, for the gazillionth time in two months….. it isn’t my job to teach.