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Should I fill out a census?

April 5, 2010

It has been another while since I have posted, almost a month, a long while in which I’ve noticed something interesting about myself. I write — I push myself — when I am unhappy. Right now I feel terribly complacent, which is perhaps why I haven’t pushed myself so much lately but also why I lack that drive and desire and why I’m not in pursuit of a world shift right now.

Whew. That was a long sentence. It was also a long thought: something that’s come slowly to me. I’m not too happy about it!

But anyway, today is Monday and on Mondays I usually write something about mental illness and this Monday shall be no different, I am determined!

I am determined because I have really been struggling the last few weeks with how to tell my story. I know I need to do it, not just for myself — therapy — but also for others — so that they understand where I am coming from and why I am passionate about the things I believe in.

I can tell you a story about being a girl from the country in the city, about life choices and disappointments and learning to live with those disappointments. But other than the fact that show chickens and a coffee farm feature heavily in my story, it is not so different after all from anybody else’s story.

The story that’s different, that’s wholly mine, is the story of what happened after my words fell apart. I do what I do, and I put this writing online almost every Monday, because I believe that no person should have to go through the isolation and pain and trauma of trying to find one’s way through a system that doesn’t recognize him or her as a person. This belief that more of us should get to be people, not just partially but in every aspect of our life, is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I get up to turn that belief into reality, both through the work I do and through the act of doing it.

And yet I am struggling to come to terms with how people have violated my belief in my own humanity. I don’t want to face it full on. And a response! To respond is even harder — how to answer when somebody denies you your personhood? You respond, a priori, as a non-person.

For several years now I have been given de facto full person status. Nobody knows I’m crazy. Nobody asks any questions. Suddenly, we are all asking — people who know me; people who don’t; me, who wonders how well I know myself. Do I count? Should I be counted?

I wonder what the census bureau has to say about all thus.

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