I’m back.

When I fell ill we had several trips booked, airplane tickets bought, hotel rooms sorted. We have never been so organized. It felt good, until Joe, while I lay in a hospital bed, had to cancel everything. It was brutal. So I’ve not been working at anything but my regular full time job for several months now. It’s been good to get a rest but difficult to feel good about.

But.

I kept my most recent gig. It was to work with self advocates as they came together to form a self advocacy group. I love this kind of work. I really wanted to be able to do it.

We arrived early and got set up. Joe and I went over our roles and then we waited for the participants to arrive. And when they did, I turned to Joe and said, “This is going to be fun!”

And it was.

The group had energy, it had ideas – and really big ones, they were not afraid to take a stance or to direct me. After one of the items that was brought up, I thought to myself, “This is really deep shit!” I wanted to say that to them, to acknowledge the depth of thought involved in their discussion.

So I said, “Does anyone here mind if I swear?” Now I personally think that ‘shit’ is one of the stinkiest things but also one of the blandest swear words. But I asked. Three or four people in the group looked at me and without hesitation said, “No, don’t swear.”

And I didn’t.

Because that’s what self advocacy is, speaking up and letting people know what boundaries they don’t want crossed, what language they don’t want used …

I think this group has a really good chance of doing really big things.

Gratitude isn’t a big enough word for me to express my happiness at being able to be there, to be part of this, and to make it through the day feeling good and strong.

I’m back.

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