It is for a pop-up window for people to sign-up for our emails!

NEED HELP? 1-800-273-8255 TXT "CTL" to 741741

Media Room

Check out the latest features and share your news, artwork, poems, or videos.

Unorthodox Learning

@thepublicbench

You don’t like to your life?
“No I don’t like my life.”
Me neither. I need a change.  That’s why I’m trying out school again..
“But I’m old.  I know I can’t change it now.”
An do is to take care of someone.  If I can do that, I’ll be successful

This encounter was a wake up call screaming to me what listening really means.  As this guy slurred his way through this conversation, a moment of clarity put me at the fork in the road.  I could firmly get him to leave me alone, which would only feed his isolation and capacity of public disturbance.  On the other hand, I could just do what I planned to do- start my new book as I wait on the bench- and if he starts talking I’ll listen. 

Simple, right?  It is because my perspective has changed.  I don’t have to be mean and say &÷@! off.  I also dont have to run in the other direction scared of this poor guy as if he is undeniably dangerous.  I can keep boundaries and just listen.  Not even a conversation.  Just listening.

As a result, I began to think how ‘listening’ can be defined differently across different contexts.  on that bench in that moment, I had a sense that only a professional could help a case like this, yet simultaneously, this case was just a person with no intention to get treated.  The sort of listening a pro could provide would by no means effectively help the person in any way.  There’s no way my form of  non-diagnostic listening could ever help…is there?

I’m really not sure.  I know “just wanting to take care of somebody” may not always raise a flag to the pro’s.  As someone who understands things from an experiential perspective, this raised a red flag to me- as if that’s the root of all his suffering.  I’m really unsure of the dynamics of his suffering soul and he isn’t my responsibility…though I know he smiled and laughed.  He quieted down and stopped making a scene…

So I’d say it helped him for the moment!
Yay! But wait, am I just enabling and perpetuating his struggle then?

Also! I don’t want to be like a crooked study and leave out some facts….uhm…It all ended with him screaming as I walk away, “I’m gonna kill you.” 

Yep.  Clearly he held on to my kindness with great yearning and desperation to ‘have someone to take care of.’  I imagined he felt abandoned after a fleeting sense of hope.  I felt bad.

I left feeling uneasy and pulled in multiple directions.  I just don’t know.  Do you???  My only answer is that I don’t have an answer.  I don’t think I even need answers- I just need to talk this shit out!


2 Replies to “Unorthodox Learning”

  1. Michael says:

    Hi Katarina,

    I don’t have an answer either, but I think your moment on the bench was powerful. I know you came into that moment with the intention of listening and connecting, which may help him down the road as he continues his journey.

    Have a good week – Michael

  2. katerina says:

    Thnks Michael,

    sometimes the validation of just knowing someone read this was enough haha


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.