Being positive is a good thing because positive thinking helps us overcome obstacles, keeps us moving forward and empowers us to meet new challenges head on … makes us bold, brave, courageous and wonderfully alive!
Yet a “Negative” is also a good thing when tests come back and the “Negative” means all is well.
The other time “Negative” is a great thing is like today when I received the “Negative” on my Vulnerable Sector Check so I can start volunteering in Kincardine. Anything but a “Negative’ would have been a surprise but just yesterday I was reading in the Owen Sun Times that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has come out with a report concluding “Police forces across the country are running millions of record checks per year and are disclosing information that goes far beyond convictions and formal findings of guilt. (Alan Shanoff, Owen Sound Sun Times).
If you have seen Robert Redford’s latest film, The Company You Keep, you will understand why the “Negative” is important to me. For five years, I shared an apartment in Toronto with a man I had met while living in Oshawa. We were both struggling to get back on our feet after being beaten down by a number of personal tragedies. He had just lost his girlfriend to cancer and the husband the had been separated from her returned during her illness and kept my friend from his girlfriend and even from her funeral.
We dated for a few months, but I knew quickly he was not someone for me to have a relationship with. Several months later, we met again briefly and I discovered that the rooming house he had been sharing with an old friend had become derelict. The “respected” owner had drug problems and a variety of legal problems. The house had become a shambles. What was once an old estate home had quickly turned into a pit with no hydro and no running water plus other problems. Dishes and garbage hid the small kitchen from view. The upstairs shared bathroom between three men reeked from the urine puddles on the floor. Tucked in his room, amongst all his theatre paraphernalia, the shell of a man I had met several months ago sat as immobile as the huge puppet heads surrounding him.
Recently moved from a small room in a “rooming house” to a basement apartment I spent hours cleaning and painting, I could not wait to find a decent apartment to share. I thought we could help each other get back on our feet. I already knew I wanted nothing more from him than friendship, someone to come home to, someone to talk to … who understood how it felt to fall so far and how difficult it felt trying to regain footing.
Within months he regained some of his composure and became driven to move back to Toronto; the place he had called home since his teenage years before his move to Pickering to live with his girlfriend and work near her. For five years, we shared a place on the far west end of Toronto and though a few times we tried to be more than friends, it never lasted, especially as I was discovering some of his dark secrets … secrets that made me pull further and further away though we were sharing the same living space simply because I wanted to move forward with my life and he was stuck in his past; angry and bitter and not caring much how his words and actions affected other people.
Like Redford in the film The Company You Keep who was judged guilty of an event because of his known association with people, I later realized I had been too, but not during the time I shared the space with him. I did not think I was being judged for the company I had kept till I finally moved away and then heard people’s comments about him and me. What astounded me more was the realization that people just could not seem to understand those “cast aside” by society gravitate towards each other because they have been cast aside … rejected first usually for differences and then later for things they may do in their pain of rejection.
The problem is without a high enough RESPECT LEVEL developed at a young age, rejection devastates people, causing them to often turn to others rejected and depending on the people they then connect with, their lives can become a vortex filled with things they can’t see or don’t want to see … just because they want someone to see them, hear them …
Stories reveal the countless number of people who later admitted they sensed something was more wrong than they thought, but for whatever reason, they stayed and stayed and stayed till they became the collateral damage of lives gone wild. When the parade of girlfriends started to arrive in the small apartment, I could finally use the excuse that it was too crowded for three to live in when the last girlfriend arrived along with a steady stream of her belongings.
Eager to raise my own RESPECT LEVEL to get out from the darkness my life had become filled with, I finally left amidst a violent stream of dialogue that lasted several months and included a visit to a police station to consider options. But I felt so sorry for the broken man who seemed unable to move past his pain and I just let time handle the problems he poured into my email and cell phone. Fortunately, I knew better when I left to make sure I had moved several hours away and then only five months later returned to Kincardine; the place I had left at age twenty-nine filled with the hope of a new, better and successful life.
A lot happened while I was away from here … business college, some university, arts college, a few awards, seven years with a progressive international company and much more great stuff, but I realized yesterday after reading the Owen Sound Sun Times article that the way police were gathering and providing information, I was also thinking about Redford and the company I had kept and the impact it could have on me and my goals if my friendship and sharing of a home for five years with someone who perhaps had done things I was not even aware of … things that could have marred my own goals of developing a higher RESPECT LEVEL for myself as well as for others.
I am glad I was able to be there for my friend yet I am also glad I finally found the strength to no longer keep company with him. And today, when I picked up the “Negative” Vulnerable Sector Check, I was thrilled and grateful I left when I did to see his company ultimately did not impair my reputation.
Being alone, learning how to treat one’s self more respectfully means I will attract people who will also treat me more respectfully … because I will no longer accept anything less … because I am learning I do not have to. As wonderfully said in the 80’s cult classic film, Some Kind of Wonderful, “I would rather be alone for the right reason than be with someone for the wrong reason.” Ditto.
And though I have had a few years in my own places since then, for now I am glad to be sharing my living space with my brother who helps fill that lonely space I sometimes find myself in … till the next phase of my life leads me elsewhere.
June 6, 2014
Kaitlin A. Trepanier
All rights reserved by KAITLIN A. TREPANIER/ DARK HORSES PRODUCTIONS … Creative Writer, Visual Artist and The RESPECT Specialist, architect of the global initiative Connecting the Dots … with The RESPECT PRINCIPLE … because every child … every person … should know, by their own experience, they are valued … RESPECTED.