Leave the Pieces When You Go

It has been a while since I was able to sit down and write.  Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes for Sexual Assault Awareness Month – it was awesome!  Thank you to all of you for your courage, you willingness to be brave!  I can’t thank everyone enough and we had the best SAAM Month in this facility EVER!!  Our new coordinator is absolutely brave and dipped in awesome sauce and there are no words to describe how grateful I am that she let me be a part of this!!

Okay – so no one gets confused…new topic, new situation, totally different people:

I screwed up.  I have screwed up bad and I feel that everything that I have tried to do has now been shattered like an old window.  There is a limit to what I can say, but I don’t want to limit what I can say because I feel the need to just say what needs to be said!  At the same time I can only feel that there is more to blame than just myself!

Let me begin this by saying – “People will notice the change in your attitude towards them – but they will not notice their behavior that made your attitude change.”

Fuck it – I’m just going to lay it out there!  No names – no titles.  I have worked with someone for a long time and slowly it has felt like this person has been having some sort of problem with me.  I have been “uninvited” to things that I used to do for this person.  I have been told that my help was not needed.  I have been made fun of (in a sarcastic way) by this person in the presence of others.

Information came to light that she may have taken something that belonged to me (intellectually) and passed it off as her own.  I tried to talk to her about it – but she wouldn’t talk to me.  I followed a very small chain of command trying to fix the situation and find out WTF is the problem!  I also discovered that I was “uninvited” to something I had been doing for a long time.  I was able to get a meeting with someone important and I found out that I was incorrect – and all I wanted to do was apologize to her.  We were all supposed to get together and it was scheduled – but it didn’t happen.

Due to a circumstance I won’t discuss I need to contact her.  We started emailing and I thought we were building a bridge.  Then suddenly I got an email saying that if I contacted her again she was filing harassment charges.  Then the Union got involved and EO got involved.

I have trust issues – I admit.  All I wanted was her to be honest.  Hell – she could have yelled at me and it would have been better than what she has been doing for months.  I opened the door wide open and too many people helped her slam it back in my face.  She used my “trust” in her against me – by getting me to cancel the little meeting we were supposed to have – and then EO told me that I need to stay away from her.  However, if I need something I should feel free to trust her.

TRUST!  There is a word that too many people do not understand.  People want to chalk the experience up to some kind of “ego” thing.  It isn’t about ego – it is about trust.  When we share something with another person we give them a piece of who we are.  I don’t do this to be rewarded or to get some kind of award!  Hell – how many of you want to be known for being a “Rape Survivor.”  It is a small world and you can’t stand firm FOR something and not have everyone know your business.  Still I can’t sit quietly and say nothing when I see something that needs fixed.  I don’t mean that I fix it…but I am willing to share how I feel and why there might be something better.  “If that were me as the patient – I would want…”  I say these things because I am the patient many times!  I have had nightmare experiences not because the person didn’t care – but because they were ignorant as to the needs of trauma survivors.  You can educate ignorance!!

Now I am the “bad person.”  It has left every other avenue suspect for me.  This person and I crossed paths today and she left while I was speaking to someone else.  At the kind of event that it was I would have expected her to stay and I would quietly do my business and leave.  I would not have bothered her.

In my discussion with individuals about dispute resolution someone made a comment about SOMETHING meaning NOTHING.  Really – thank you for reinforcing the fact that I am nothing.  Thank you for saying – “She matters – You don’t!”

This is a person that I have to tell other people that they can trust.  How do I ever do that again without resolution of the situation?  What do I say?  I am told that I have to be professional – but what about the other person?  If I know that a “disagreement due to a lack of communication” can cause her to treat someone like she has treated me…how do I send her a desperate friend who has given me their most private and heartbreaking stories in a brave effort to reach out for help!?

Integrity – that is what this comes down to.  What matters more – my integrity or her role?  I believe my integrity to others who reach out is more important!  They matter, you matter…she is just a spoke in the wheel.

I have always had an overdeveloped sense of justice.  Yes – when I see wrong and I want to fix it!  Isn’t that why many of us survivors go into advocacy – to change what we can change.

I have reached the point when I can no longer ignore the “wrong”…it isn’t about what happens to me – I can deal…it is about what happens to those of us like me!  It angers me when people don’t believe that!  I am not some dog pissing on a fence to keep you out of my territory.  When I give you that piece of myself it is because I want to be YOUR advocate…because those of us who work with Survivors sometimes need someone to look at us and say, “You were awesome!”  Survivor or Civilian – this work is hard and it burns and some days it can cut you to the soul.

I’ve some to a decision to take active steps to leave the VA.  I am going to go back to school and I am going to teach History.  I want to find some peace and some justice.  I just want to be somewhere were I can make a difference for someone.  I love to teach!  I want to work with middle school and high school – but I prefer middle school.  I was horribly bullied as a child and the few friends that I had were teachers.  (2 – to be exact)  They probably helped to save my life because they let me know that there is a big world beyond the four school walls and that I mattered.  I want to share that with other children.

As for working here – it won’t end tomorrow – it will take time…but my “season” here is coming to an end.  It reminds me of February – when you start to feel the warmth in the sun for the first time.  I need some warmth.

It is either this or this place will leave me so broken that there won’t be any pieces left of me when I leave.  I just hope that the pieces I have left behind will matter to someone.

Praying for peace and healing.



2 Responses to “Leave the Pieces When You Go”

  1. Myst Says:

    Hey Joan, hope you are doing better then you were when you wrote this. I think of you often and wish you and Bridgette well. I keep working on things here in Texas. Just testified at a veterans committee a couple of weeks ago, the video is on my blog. Big hugs and good thoughts to you!!!

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