What glasses do you have on?
Speaking about ACES (adverse childhood experiences) became easier to understand when Jess explained this metaphor to me. What glasses do you have on? What about if you put on these lenses?
As a society, we find it simple to other. To outcast people that are in prison because they have caused some kind of harm. This is a grand narrative. An “everyone in prison is bad” narrative. This is one set of glasses. We are looking through one singular pair of glasses.
Now if I asked you to take off the grand narrative glasses for a moment. Just a wee second and put on these other glasses I have. They are my humanising glasses. These glasses allow us to show up for people. To not see them as other. To understand the complexities that come with us being human and often making mistakes. And often making mistakes because of the adversity some people face as a child.
If I have my humanising glasses on, I can see violence as a response to trauma. This is a hurting moment rather than a violent one. This is not to say one should not be held accountable for a violent action, but instead to speak of how we can approach the way this person holds ACES in their being. Having care as part of my practice is extremely important to me. An approach to situations that does not involve me accusing, but me asking questions of how a person is feeling today or, as mentioned in a previous blog, what matters to them? What do inmates need? How do we hold the two truths of the situation?
The creation of a space where you turn up for everyone is not an easy endeavour. In school for example we tend to exclude people from conversation if they are behaving “outside of the rules”. What if, and remember you have your humanising lenses on just now, we showed up for every single young person. Gave them the space to grow and develop and be listened to. Gave them a space where someone could be a constant in their life.
Now change school in the previous paragraph to prisons.
Having our human lenses on, we can say, I know you have done hurt but you are also hurting.