Friday, 3 April 2015

the ghosts come back to haunt you...

I suppose it started when I was in my late 30's. My children  were under 3 and having a great time in the garden playing in the summer sun. Suddenly I was hit by a huge wave of jealousy, I was jealous of my own children, envying them their childhood.

My childhood was very different to theirs, we were materially far better off, money was not really ever an issue and we would regularly go on very expensive holidays.

But there was another side, I regularly stand in front of rooms of people, calm, confident, erudite. 6 foot tall and quite solid build. Does anyone think they are looking at a survivor, someone who was  constantly criticised, sometimes beaten, I think not .

There is a hidden corner in my memory, a place I keep the really dark stuff, a place i don't go too often, a bit like that stuffy old box room where all the junk you don't use but can't throw away goes.   

I got into door work for reasons i don't think i really understood at the time. People who employed me saw someone who would rather talk than fight. Someone also who did not panic if it went pear shaped but  worked well under fire after all I was quite used to violence.

So anyway this weekend I went on a personal safety trainers course, with  my eldest daughter.

It was a striking course, astonishing how skills were layered, one on one.

Then came the cathartic moment. I was paired with a guy who really was  man mountain, ex competitor in Britain's strongest man, about 5 inches taller and at least a foot wider than me. This counted for nothing, suddenly I was not 56 I was 6. In the presence of someone far bigger and stronger, this was the mother of all flash backs.  But I wasn''t that 6 year old kid, or 7 or 8 or all the other years I got beaten, I was strong I had the tools to protect myself.

A lot of things slotted into place, why I became a bouncer; I had things to prove to myself, I didn't want anyone else to be where I had been, so I became the strange sort of bouncer who would step in to help people but really tried every way to avoid a fight. Something about myself became crystallised in those moments. 

Next came an item that really crowned things for me, someone was talking about resilience. Those who have been reading this from the start will know I really go for Resilience theory. I thought whether this Functional Edge system could be used to promote resilience in young people. The answer was a very guarded yes. Yes so long as you had trained the young people out of using conflict, teaching this to kids who are being bullied would be great, teaching it to young people who routinely use violence to achieve their aims would be the daftest idea ever.    

The next speaker was an inspiration, a woman who had lived through some horror. She was testimony to the poverty of therapeutic systems which pretend to be more expert than the individual who has lived their life. You are the expert on you, said Milt Erickson and as usual he was right. When people have been in situations where they have been totally powerless the first thing to give them  back is control. Functional Edge was a key part in her solution to her problems something in which she was  really the expert. The person most impressed by all this was Bethan, my daughter, she was so inspired that she talked about nothing else nearly all the way home. 

Things often happen for a purpose. this whole train of events started when, in a moment of daftness I applied to good 4 shit to become a security worker at the big sports day. That's how I met the instructor who lives just down the road. We stayed in touch Bethan and Branwen both did their door supervisor course. I looked at the FES trainers course and nearly applied last year. That little bit of nagging doubt and uncertainty stopped me. But i got chatting to some of the people involved and thought a phrase that rhymes with bucket, the worst that could happen is that I could fail. I  recruited Bethan as back up, turned up and  entered the  training room with trepidation, within two seconds I discovered we had a bunch of great people together. We had a fantastic time, I feel good about myself even today the voice of criticism stops me doing that sometimes, not now though.