Do you ever see a face, and wonder what story they have to tell? Whenever, someone comes to see me, this is usually the first thing I wonder. Who is this person? How do they see themselves? How did they get here? I am struck by the uniqueness that emerges, and while there may be similar themes, no person's story is ever the same.
What I wanted to capture was this feeling of uniqueness, and so I have found four very different people, each with their own story to tell. The message in these four stories is not just that they are unique, they also convey just how diverse and different our stories can be. Each in their own way, grant us permission to tell our own unique, diverse and different story.
Ronald Davis takes us through the journey of his life with resilience and humility. He talks about his experience of being called a bum, and the impact it has on him. And what emerges is a wonderful moment, as he leaves us in no doubt that this is a human being doing the best he can with what he has, trying to get where he needs to be.
What Ronald gives me, when I listen to him talk, is hope,
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
A three year old
A three year old boy contemplates his world. We hear as he worries about overflowing the toilet again; lament the food that he ate that brought him to this predicament, and then his obvious delight at eating it all. This young child brings Freud to life in a way that no stuffy text book can. His understanding of his world takes us further than Freud ever did as he links Freud's oral and anal stages together.
As I chuckled along with the adult stood outside listening in, I also realised my laughter was out of place with the seriousness of the situation. This was something that mattered to this child. These essential bodily functions are important, and I remember as a counsellor the times I have spent talking about them both seriously and with laughter.
Amanda Baggs takes us through her world of autism. The only way I can describe it, is as though like Alice, I had fallen down a rabbit hole and came to in a strange world.
Amanda challenges the idea that the purpose of communication is to convey meaning. She takes us into a world where she is in constant dialogue with her environment. I also work with people who rock, and hum, and twirl their fingers back and forth. Amanda has helped me to understand their worlds a little better.
While I watched Amanda hum, twiddle, and rock, I was also reminded of something I have received quite a lot of training in... Mindfulness is a seemingly simple yet deceptively difficult practice.
In the last of the four, Lacy, a young mum, tells the story about her pregnancy and birth of her son. Using nothing more than biro on small squares of paper and the movement of emotion on her face, she takes us through the difficult choices she had to make. Her story takes us on a rollercoaster of joy, worry, sadness, and rejection, before finally finishing with a triumphant ending for mother and son .
Lacy and her son, Christian, reminds me of our need just to be accepted for who we are, as we are. A theme that runs through all the stories.
Title photo by BBoomerinDenial