Feeling Unwelcome
From: Maggie (maggiefairy-godmother.com)
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 10:46:01 -0600 (MDT)
Hi Sharon, Liz and others following recent postings.
I have a story about being unwelcome after being invited to a group in the
early stages of forming (some 7 years ago)It was more than just a feeling
that I had of not being welcome!  After two meetings, I did not hear about
any further meetings or locations.  After what seemed like the time had
passed and they must have had another meeting I called the person I had had
initial contact with.  He told me that the group did not think that I was a
very good "fit"!!  He said he tried to reason with them, but then went along
with their decision. (consensus??) I bless the day this happened because it
has inspired me to go forward with programs that have provided affordable
transitional housing for about 150 people since then.  I was already hooked
on the concept of cohousing too at this point and my attitude was that I was
grateful to be saved from continuing to interact with folks who did not
appreciate my participation.  In trying to understand what the difficulty
was I recalled sharing a detail of my life with the kind person who had
picked me up and drove me home after that second meeting.  I told her that I
had recently been diagnosed as having BiPolar Disorder, how I had
experienced few manias but struggled with depression off and on for years.
This was in the winter 1996.  Since then I have come to understand what it
takes for me to successfully balance my moods and have a happy and
fulfilling life.  My guess of course, is that diversity in cohousing for
this group did not mean gaining an understanding of, or being tolerant of,
people with mental health concerns.  Or...perhaps it was my financial
position at that time?  I really don't know what it was about for sure.
Later I learned about the concept of self-selection.  I am sure in
retrospect that I would have not felt that I fit in with that group anyway
and I would have selected myself OUT soon enough. One curious note is that
for the life of me I can not recall the woman's name who I shared with about
my life...(not that I would mention it) but.....I would like to thank her
being a catalyst for the direction my life has taken from there.
The good news is that 1) That cohousing group now has land and may be under
construction as we speak. 2) I have been living in large communal households
since 1999, creating community in advance of being able to get another
cohousing community going here in Calgary.  It looks hopeful that we will
get funding to create affordable housing and why not cohousing?
This brings me to suggesting a new thread....Mental Health Concerns in
Cohousing....I would love to hear of others experiences with handling issues
of this nature...both from a group process point of view and from other
individuals who struggle to remain well.
Maggie Dutton,
Calgary, Canada
(Where the entire city is experiencing Stampede Week....YAHOO)  You are
invited for next year.

ICQ#: 11849577
More ways to contact me: http://wwp.icq.com/11849577
See more about me: http://web.icq.com/whitepages/about_me?Uin=11849577

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