At the weekend I went along to a forum where housing was being discussed. It was interesting. A few delegates from several divisions within the council were there to answer our housing questions. Mine are still unanswered. Whilst there Jab asked me if I'd be interested in going along to a training programme to learn interview skills for which I would receive £100 in vouchers.
I heard: Training. Interview skills. £100 in vouchers. £100! One hundred pounds in vouchers!! Interview skills. Training. I didn't ask much more but blindly said 'yes!'
At 9.30 am yesterday morning I whipped down to Camden, bolted the bike, rang the bell and went up to the room. It was at this point that I wondered what I was here to do.
Now on Sunday I told a friend that I wasn't an activist, I wasn't a campaigner. I didn't know what I was, perhaps I was a teacher. I like to research. I write to inform. That's what I like to do.
This course that I have joined is all about participatory appraisal. It's all about forging links between the community and key figures within that community, be they the police or social workers or health advisors, or yes, councillors, MPs. It's about asking these people the right questions in order to bring about positive change in our society.
You know what I thought? I thought 'fuck'. Not 'fuck' in a bad way, as in 'what the fuck am I doing here, this has no relevance to me or what I want to do with my life'. No I thought 'fuck' in an 'oh fuck' way. No more hiding, no more navel gazing, no more being afraid, no more cowering under a cloth of no confidence. It was an 'oh fuck, now I have to be who I am.' I am still reeling from this. You may think I'm sad. I'm not sad, I'm tragic.
I went back today. This isn't a one day thing like I assumed it was (these misunderstanding come when one doesn't ask the question). It's a six day programme spread over three weeks and at the end we have to conduct some fieldwork after which we get a certificate and our £100 voucher (It means alot, but it's meaning less and less). I did fieldwork in my masters. I did my fieldwork on families in hostels. There is a hostel mum doing this. I've already been given advice by mums on the transfer list. This blog is fieldwork on myself.
Yesterday we had to write down what our expectations are. I wrote: 'I have no expectations'.
The group is made up of parents and we are stigmums and married mums, volunteers, students or just mums; dad didn't show up today.
Today, discussing ground rules, I said 'no kicking, punching, spitting,' as a joke and another mother said 'what's said in here, stays in here.' The facilitor mentioned the 'Chatham House Rule':
"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker (s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed." (chathamhouse.org.uk)
I write about me. Me me me me me. Me and housing housing housing. Me and things I find in my navel. Me me me me me.
I should tell them I'm writing this blog.
It's hard when my priority isn't to save the world, it's to house my son and myself. House my son and then save the world (well, my community, same same no?).
You know what I think? I think 'Fuck. Fuckety fuckety fuck.' But this course is a fantastic opportunity.
Like my 2005 "book that will never be published" (only there's a chance that it will be!!!!), all names I use are false, especially my own. I could be anyone in my situation.