Volunteerism is a BIG thing in Seattle. I have received so much training in VARIOUS areas that needed volunteer.
University of Washington Future Faculty Fellow
United Way Project LEAD Board Leadership Training Program
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and African American Women Breast Health Collaborative
Organizing for America - Western Washington Division
Group Health Cooperative
The ones I paid for are through:
Washington Business Center and Black Dollar Days Task Force
Ladies Who Launch - Seattle
Count Me In
I have done ALL of these training programs just out of my own interest and business knowledge.
I do not think a wealth of resources would be available in any other city. Of course, I am a very resourceful person so I pretty much find what accepts me to receive the information.
But then nothing has panned out or flipped to a monetary aspect for something I would really want to do for a livelihood. There were issues of getting accurate information which causes me anxiety. Part of the reason I started my business, The Ariafya Universe is because I got sick of complaining why mental health and wellness resources failed to be found or do not exist for African American females. And in the guise of injustice and racism that do affect African American women...
But today, I attended an event for one of the groups I volunteer for and it HUMBLED me from my mental health issues.
It had to do with "death"...
I have always had a problem with understanding dying and death. At 3 years old I attended a funeral. Just images these days. It was for an Uncle. I did not understand what happened. My mother could not explain it to me because it did not make sense to her, too. OF COURSE THIS IS NOT ABOUT MY MOTHER!!! It is about me and how I have a problem understanding the concept of dying and death.
As a teenager, when my mental illness kicked in, I wanted to kill myself--yes, commit suicide and I actually attempted many times in my teen and early 20's. Being resourceful though, I found a way to get my mental health back for me... I taught myself that I needed more than medication, I also needed therapy and therapy was better for me one on one. Then I had to learn how to choose a therapist, which is a bad thing to do. After wanting to die, I still had a problem understanding the concept of dying and death even after two close family members died.
Life changes during its course and as it so happened, I became a volunteer for the group that directly deals with this. In their training there was an exercise they had us go through where we right all the important things, peoples, places, dreams in our lives. Then through no fault on our own, a heinous disease snuffs everything and we had to choose which of those sheets we would remove. Slowly as we threw away our important snippets of our lives, I realized we have NO choice in death. Death just comes and it is what we do to make that difference in birth to death. Spiritual beliefs are a good thing, but fact is death is inevitable and there is a world that deals with the bereavement.
The event today showed me how much a lost loved one's life means to people. They had their loved one's pictures posted...All these people that we once loved in real life!!! Makes one wish they could have loved them, too. And it was all different ages, types, males and females, happy times, sad times and the clothing many casual, some formally dressed. Many had smiles. But these people LIVED!
As a research scientist I have to ask: How does a body die, naturally at the molecular level? That is my thoughts these days...
But sharing with the bereaved whose loved ones have died is a grieving natural process to and everyone will go through it at sometime in their lives and everything will die.
I guess anywhere to learn that lesson is Seattle and maybe that is the point of why I am here...Maybe it could be one of the reasons why I stay and could like it...