Thursday, December 10, 2015

Single Story

I am a person of empathy. I have always thought of it as a gift but also a curse. A gift because I feel for people and what they have been through. A curse because I find myself feeling bad for horrible people.

When it comes to the topic of a "single story", I believe my empathy is in the form of a gift. I can see past someone's exterior and feel for them.

As I've mentioned before, at my work we deal with a lot of children and adolescents who have had some sort of trauma in their lives. When we get a new client we read what we call a "snapshot" which gives us a brief history of what landed the child in our facility. At times a person could walk into our facility and label our youth as "depressed", "suicidal", or even "crazy" but all of those words are an example of a single story. Yes, we have depressed youth but what caused it? Yes, we have suicidal youth, but why do they feel the need to end their lives at such a young age? Yes, we have youth who have some issues, but where did they come from? The snapshots we are given on these children and adolescents help us understand why they are doing what they are doing or why they are feeling a particular way. Everyone has a story, and no one deserves to be labeled for their outer appearance to be judged.  The problem with "single stories" is that sometimes I feel as if people don't care to further understand why are person do what they do, other people just see one side of it and don't care enough or are too ignorant to look into it.

I believe my gift can help me see all aspects of a person, and I am so grateful for that.

Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another 
person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.

                                             - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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