Bouncers & Floaters
Just before Christmas, someone sent me a link to a Facebook group about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and said, “You should join this group Mark. Think you could contribute a lot”. I clicked on the link but it was a closed group, so I pinged off a member request.
A couple of days ago I got a reply. It praised my contribution to the DoLs debate but refused my application as it was a professionals only group. In fairness, when I clicked back on the original link it did say this in the group description but I missed it first time around.
I’m not sure why it has pissed me off so much. I totally see the point of professionals, from whatever field, having their own group. If I had, say, a dicky bladder and I came across a group for surgeons who operate on dicky bladders, would I expect to join? Probably not. So, why should this be different?
I think partly it’s because it touches those scars from 2010 and all those dozens of professionals meetings that were held without me or Steven and where such calamitous decisions were made. The message from the whole year was “we know better”.
I’ve had a thing about bouncers since my late teens/early twenties. I was a very well turned out Mod. I had a two tone suit for each day of the week. But me and my mates were often stopped from going into pubs and clubs. The body searches took longer as the bouncers looked for weapons and/or drugs. This latest rejection feels like they took one look at my suit and turned me away.
The other thing triggered by not being allowed in the group is that perrenial question; can you effect change from the outside or do you have to be on the inside? When I’m invited to give a talk, I’m very much on the outside. I’m a “turn” who is wheeled out with an interesting, entertaining story and it’s a story that makes people feel better about themselves because “such a thing could never happen here”. Excuse my cynism, but this reinforces that thought which is always in the back of my head.
I mishievously posted on Twitter what had happened. I got a lot of supportive responses. Some people from within the FB group gave what felt to me rather patronising replies about “admiring your input”. Someone accused me of drawing them into a drama triangle, which was interesting. I wasn’t positioning myself as the victim . I don’t like that stuff. But he/she saw me as the victim turned aggressor and wanted to claim the victim position for herself. All over a bloody DoLs Facebook group.
Ironically, yesterday I went to the Eye hospital to be told that I’ve got permanent floaters. It’s inconvenient more than anything. These strange cobwebs that suddenly obscure my vision. The consultant said, “Your brain will get used to them. They’re your mates for life”.
My vision about “knowing my place” is obscured and probably will be all my life. I definitely have no desire to be on the “inside”. But this was about another experience of insiders deciding my place is on the outside. And inviting me for a brief visit inside to suit them.