An Advocates Dream

A Dream For Happy Advocates

The dream went like this.

We all walked together along the towpath. A group of disabled people, the three authority figures who were going to lead the consultation and me; the advocate.

I asked the man from the NHS how the consultation would go – if he would genuinely listen to what was being said. He answered incorrectly and found himself feet first in a dry canal. I laughed and said I had tried on the same thing for size the previous day. I’m not sure that he appreciated his trip.

We found ourselves in the community centre. The authoritarians stayed in the main hall with another group of disabled people who they had come to lead. I stayed with them for a while before walking off disenchanted with process to spend time with the silent majority I had walked along the canal with.

The three wise men came in followed by a clutch of wheelchair users complaining that the consultation was flawed because here was a group of people who had not been represented. At which point I got up and started working with the group, asking questions that could be understood, using mechanisms that we had agreed as silent people to show that we understood and had our own views

It felt good. The dream finished.

The thing with dreams is they never show us anything that we don’t know. The form they follow is within our experience. So, as an advocate I h ave to be careful with this dream. I should not take it literally. I need to ask questions.

What if pushing the NHS rep in the dry canal was a demonstration of my anger? What if I am recognising that my anger is a good thing,not a bad thing, that it has to be expressed?

What if the silent majority were not those people who had not been represented but aspects of me that had never been spoken, the things that had never been said, unexpressed desires?

What if the wise men were those things within me that didn’t allow me to speak for myself, that suppressed my own position, the things that I truly believed in.

What if the clutch of wheelchair users was the device within me that acted as the key that gave me speech, expression, and what if turning the key allowed me to speak for myself, of myself, and the hubbub of action that followed was my happiness at letting myself speak for me?

And finally what if there are things in this dream that resonate for other advocates. Not just in what they do but who they are?



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  2. Tom Comerford said

    Hi Rich. Powerful piece of writing,
    Advocating can be a lonely road, but then we become more confident that people like yourself can engage through advocacy with other disabled people with lifes experiences.
    We are slowly building our ASH Services not for profit business to train, in turn to develop, learn and smile to support disabled people and then see them gain confidence advocating for others.
    Keep it going.

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