I have sat myself down beside both women and we have sat and talked about our shared experiences, laughed about life, reflected on how shit life is and can be. Both women are sleeping rough, both have children that are no longer in their care, both have the most amazing eyes and if they washed more, took better care of themselves, if they loved themselves a little, gained some weight have the potential to be role models to other women.
When I walk away from both I am saddened, because what I see is two amazing women, women with the potential to change themselves, to change their lived experience, I see women who have the potential to inspire others, but what they see is something very different are broken, they are lost, their lives are like cyclones, like inwardly spiralling winds, collecting debris on their path of self-destruction, rotating around life, with no respite, but when the wind settles and they see some of the destruction from their paths, the view can hard to accept. It’s even harder knowing that both women have been offered opportunities that could help them, help themselves but yet refuse or are not in a position to take a risk.
I heard yesterday that one of the women who had accepted help and allowed staff to put a package of care in place, a place to stay, a bus pass so she could make her appointments, sorted out her benefits and ID didn’t turn up to the accommodation that evening! I am reminded that we are trying to help people to help themselves. If they are not ready for change, then you cannot force it, that lady suffered a panic attack during her assessment, was it too much too soon perhaps? Were staff too enthusiastic, overwhelming her?
I often wonder “do we expect too much?” The reality is life can be shit, #Shithappens but then I am reminded of all the success stories out there, where individuals have overcome some proper major shit in their lives, whose lives had at one time spiralled out of control, but who have been able to rein the shit in, clean up some of the debris and take back some control.
Part of the recovery journey is about going back to face some of the destruction and cleaning up, fixing what damage they can, they both acknowledged that they had fucked up, made some bad life choices, but until THEY are ready there isn’t much else that we as a society can do! There will always be people who are simply not ready for change, wether that is out of fear, mistrust, mistrust in agencies, in themselves,
I learned many years ago that there was only me who could fix myself, I learned that I couldn’t fix dad’s addiction and am coming to terms that as a society that we cannot fix everyone.