So this week has been interesting to say the least.
Since last week (week of the 13th) forecasters predicted cloudy skies for the work week and a bright weekend. I was particularly following this because the weekend of May 18th, I had an outdoor event with my job and was hoping for nice weather. But instead it was cloudy grey and it rained off and on. It didn’t cancel the event, but made it that less enjoyable.
Call it my so-so luck.
Definitely wasn’t a lucky day, or the event would have gone better, but at least it wasn’t a disaster either. But the so-so luck continued through the week, with the mediocre weather progressively getting worse and a busy week at work; which left me with no time in the afternoon to go to the gym or write or really check my personal emails. Friday was suppose to be my redemption day where I can catch up on all paperwork at work and all personal stuff in the afternoon. And it wasn’t at all!
Talk about doing a job you love but being stunted by people who want you fail, even if it means taking everything down with them.
But Saturday was a bit uplifting; I went to a banquet to support a friend for a well deserve recognition and her acceptance speech was hilarious and completely awesome. A mover and a shaker she is, I say. This event was honoring people for their work in social services with incarcerated people. One of the honorees is head of the department of social work at Lehman College. He was a little emotional as he talked about how he came to working with inmates and building people’s self-esteem so they can become contributing members of society again.
And then he said this word: Anomie.
According to Emile Durkheim the “Father of Modern Sociology”; anomie is a state of normlessness. Every society has a set of rules or norms which regulates behavior and relationships. But sometimes, due to a change in the environment (economic crisis, natural disaster..you name it) the rules get lost, and the social bonds that hold an individual or subculture group to the mainstream gets cut. Sometimes when an individual loses that connection and it can lead to deviant behavior. This explanation was used in his work to define suicide.
On the inside, inmates are surrounded by thousands of people, but yet they are socially isolated. Cut off from their families, loved ones, and society at large. Though I am not here to argue whether that’s right or wrong, just establishing that this is true. And even though YOU may never have been incarcerated, I’m sure you have gone through this period where life feels empty or you lost the passion for something. The issue may not be with YOU, but something in your environment changed drastically– throwing the rules down the drain and leaving you without a clear sense of who you are and your purpose.
We tend to associate this kind of depression as something psychologically wrong with the individual, rather than taking a look at what has happened in their environment to cut them off. But this can be conquered; as the director continued he talked about the expression of love he received from his clients. I’m sure you can hardly imagine the stereotypical “harden-felonius criminal” hugging a grey-haired White guy and saying “I love you, man.” Sometimes in a state of anomie, when we feel that we’ve lost…ourselves, we’ll cling to the slightest hint of love that we sense. And yes, I’m sure he cared, loved, and mentored his clients and he helped so many people over the last decade. And that’s why he was able to help those that were lost to find themselves and their purpose.
Sitting in the audience, I was connecting what the social worker standing on the pulpit was saying about love, to a book I read right after Jon and I broke up the first time. You can call it an anomie or a depression depending whether you believe its external or internal; but I was in a deep hole where I didn’t remember who I was before I met him, and how I could get things done without him.
I don’t know if I snapped in or out of it, but I realized that maybe my work is meaningless and my life is pointless since I no longer had someone that I could relate too. And when you lose something that special, whether its by natural disaster or egoism; everything else doesn’t matter anymore. But anyway, the book talked about love and singlehood — and the fact is; many people will search and search for “the one” to love them unconditionally without realizing that the unconditional love has been present in their life from the time of birth from friends and families. You were ALWAYS loved, but you just didn’t realize it, because you were busy looking for your “other half” to love you.
But the thing is, if you’re not willing to love back and can only offer half of you to a person and not a whole you; then you’re not gonna get very far in your search. Stop looking for your “other half” and grow whole from within. I was reminded by the end of his speech that there will always be challenges in our environment that will threaten to break the social bonds between individuals; but expressing love and joy in the things we do can grow new bonds from within and develop new identities. New purpose.
And for many of those inmates discovering a brotherly love saved them from the anomie which they suffered; then it can save me too.
I received a tweet yesterday, about when am I FINALLY going to publish Chapter 20 from @Wheesh and I can say I have finished Chapter 24 last week, and have a few more left. I’m now looking for someone to copyedit the manuscript. I made two connections, so soon I will make an agreement with who to send the manuscript to for the editing stage…
Until next weekend.
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Note on the featured image: You can find more inspirational quotes like these from alameleadership.com
© 2012 -2013 S. C Rhyne