There are a lot of stereotypes to be broken which I think a lot of us are doing. What I do is, as soon as people try to pin me down to one kind of part, I'll play a very different kind of role, so it explodes that stereotype. I feel that stereotypes lose their power when the world and our minds are found to be more complex and more powerful than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.
As a care leaver, people struggle to understand how I manage to succeed when there appears to be no hope and how I prevail in the face of adversity. Well, I believe that if we are to survive, we must have ideas, vision, and courage. These things are rarely produced by committees or systems. Everything that matters in our intellectual and moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind and conscience in a room by himself.
The single most important thing I learned in life was that I am not what people tell me I am, I am whatever I want to be, only what had been stopping me was in fact not those who doubted me, those who hurt me or those who did not believe in me but instead it was my conscience. I may have had an unstable, inconsistent upbringing full of hurt, rejection, abuse and pain but above all of that I am really no different to anyone else in the sense that I am a human being with a beating heart, a mind and a conscience. Regardless of our life experiences we are all still human and there is no such thing as superpowers.
I was touched and inspired after watching a clip showing an amazing man called Nick Vujicic, who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome. He had no arms and no legs but he didn’t let it stop him living his life and fulfilling his life, so what was stopping me? what was my disability? It wasn’t my body so why couldn’t I achieve?. Now that in itself is something worth reflecting on isn’t it? The word “can’t”.
We sit here telling ourselves “we can’t” but why? It is our conscience that is telling us we can’t and is our conscience that is our disability
So what is the conscience? That little voice in our heads that tells us what to do and where to go, that voice that says “you can’t”? Who told this voice what is right for you? Why should you follow it? Do we have to follow it OR can we cut free and make our own choices? Why are we puppets?
Well I like to call the conscience “human software” it is first formed when we are children by the influences that surround us; our notions of good and evil are the result of the moral atmosphere we breathe. And so when we view things from that perspective we can question whether or not those influences that taught our conscience were right or wrong.
Take care leavers like me. It is rare that we stay with one family. Instead we are often passed from home to home but what people tend to forget is that our childhood is “school for the conscience”. It tries to build a set of ethics , morals and understanding of the world so that it can guide us, protect us and lead us down the right roads. In care it receives different messages from different people and becomes confused and “flawed”. The conscience is misguided but still attempts to guide us through adulthood only rather than telling us to fight and keep on fighting its telling us “ don’t bother mate, it will all end in tears” and this is where we find ourselves sitting there saying “I can’t”. So our conscience is the only thing really stopping any of us doing anything. Yes we need to listen to it sometimes when its telling us that we shouldn’t go to close too the edge of a cliff or that drinking acid is probably not good idea but at the same time there is a difference between our conscience’s duty to preserve our life and its secondary duty which is to guide us through our day to day lives with hints, tips and whispering morals.
People didn’t teach me this, I learned it myself, through hardship and I guess this is because I have spent a lot of my youth crying to myself, alone in a room, speaking with my conscience and so the distinction between these two separate entities was more apparent for me than the latter who just do what they feel and don’t question it. I think this works for some but for those who have experienced trauma I believe that in order to persevere and move forwards we must question our internal wisdom.
By learning that my conscience was merely a guide through life written by the influences surrounding my childhood, and that there was no psychological hierarchy I could actually sit there and say… “yes I can”. I made it my mission to just ignore this voice in my head and subconsciously say to it “what do you know?, you were taught by idiots”. And then I was in control and I was free. From here EVERYTHING was possible. I was no longer chained and my potential was uncapped. This voice will never go away, if it did I would not be human. Instead I chose to question it rather than follow it.. “I double think”.
However this “free mind” does not mean I am perfect and it does not mean I do not face problems. I still cry, I still struggle and sometimes I still sit here and think about giving up but that’s ok because I am human and I have feelings like everyone else and when my conscience tells me to give up I say no because I developed a mechanism so that whatever mistakes I made, I would bounce straight back. Whatever was happening off the pitch, I could put it to one side and maintain my form and most importantly i believe in myself.
Sometimes I need to find comfort in others and sometimes I just need a hug. This is because humans are not independent, we are interdependent and we need to be loved, cared for in order to be joyous. In fact it is the kindness and the heartfelt compassion i find in others that i need as fuel to burn a clear flame in my clear mind.
So I guess my message is that the key to prevalence and success is a good clean conscience. Don’t just follow what your conscience tells you, listen to it and YOU decide whether its guidance is valid and if it is not, shut it up, break it down and rewire it because the only disability in this world is a flawed conscience. Fix it and you will prevail.
No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent. Regardless of what life you have had or what you believe about yourself, it is the power of your own mind that will set you free and sometimes it's ok to not be ok, you are human and humans feel, that alone is what makes us so very special and beautiful.
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