Dear Harvey,

I am a working-class, Catholic woman, only girl, youngest sibling, with a loud father and a silent mother. I have been using these identity groups in an understatement-type direction for why (of course) I take on leadership wherever I go. The direction puts different scenes in my mind which create heavy discharge. Sometimes my mother pops into my head, and I say, "Let me take a moment to take pride in my mother." Or sometimes I picture myself as a little girl on the living room floor standing up to take charge. These images bring much discharge, with the notion of pride and taking charge being the positions from which I'm discharging, rather than seeing myself as a victim.

I met you for the first time at the recent East Coast USA Leaders' Workshop. The workshop was very significant for me. The first night I asked you about using the understatement when counseling someone with a lot of pretense. You did a demonstration on just having the person show you how good things really are. It changed my view of X - (who is middle-class) completely. I can now see a way to remain counselor when his pretense is up. I don't feel victimized and helpless around it. It seems that it, too, can change with my love and support.

I'm in the process of starting a new fundamentals class. I've realized that I'm afraid to invite some of my friends who are people of color. I get confused when it looks like their belief systems are strong and they seem opinionated. You told me that I need to get close enough, become good enough friends with them, that I can tell them when I disagree with them.

The final inspiration was noticing how you correct people when they are off, but keep a twinkle in your eye. You aren't restimulated; you don't get hard. You stay soft inside and interrupt when interruption seems needed.

"It sometimes happens that a working-class, Catholic, woman, only girl, youngest sibling, with a noisy dad and a silent mother can take on leadership everywhere she goes."

Who would have thought?

Debra Reich
New City, New York, USA

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00