Dangerous Compassions

library tourism, mental health consulting, lagoon feelings

Ming and I are really into libraries.  I love the one in Boulder, Colorado.  Wow. 

And we went to one in Reno that has a little creek in it and tons of plants.  “How do the books feel about that?” I asked Ming, who didn’t know.

Half-forgotten libraries in half-forgotten towns on long road trips.  The one in Bakersfield where I wrote letters while Ming went to a comics convention.

The huge gorgeous one in Salt Lake City I would like to return to.

We went to a fancy, new-seeming library in Arvin.  It opened at 10am, and several of us were in the parking lot waiting for it to open.  The librarian looked at us weird as we went to the kids’ part. “Oh, this is the kids’ part,” I said, and we found the adult part.

They had bookmarks, brochures, and fliers from, hmm, what would you call them.  Suicide prevention, eat more fruit nutrition stuff, something about exercise in Spanish and English.  Glossy non-profits or government agencies who have a budget for printing information / propaganda like that.  I read the fruit one.  I took a suicide prevention bookmark, not sure why.

Some people think I know stuff about mental health since I started a radical mental health collective or two, and they want to consult with me.  That’s ok–I think I kind of do know stuff.  I’ve been working on it.

Don’t sacrifice yourself for another person.  They might not know they’re drowning and will take you down with them, or almost.  You can’t do it alone.  Get a team and take shifts.  Ask for help, tell the truth as much as you can, reach out.  Did something work before, you can try again?  Is there someone you can call who’s idealized or could help magically?  What do you need?  Is there anything I can do from here?

“I lived here for four years, more than four years, and never figured out how I felt about this lagoon,” I told Ming as we sat on a bench by the art building.  It has a special smell.  I love it / I hate it.  “How many dead bodies do you think are in there?” I asked.

“Five,” he said.

“From how long?” I asked.

“Time immemorial,” he said. 

“That sounds about right,” I said.  I thought about murders, drownings.  When I was a kid, at the beach, I was always afraid of finding a dead body in the kelp.  Well, that’s enough for now.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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