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#73130 - 03/03/05 05:55 AM big vocational risk
bda Offline

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 26
Loc: North Carolina
I just learned that I've made it to the "short list" of candidates for the executive director of a local LGBTQ youth advocacy and support program. Submitting an application was one of those things that I put together in the middle of the night and dropped in a mailbox before I could chicken out. I never thought that they'd see me as a serious candidate.

I've spent my whole career working with youth -- first as a teacher and now as a youth minster. I go back and forth about what it means for me to be in this kind of work. I love the advocacy and I have a big protective streak that I know is rooted in my own experiences of finding the world untrustworthy as a middle-schooler. But more than anything, what keeps me going is knowing that there are at least a few kids who know someone gives a damn because I'm there.

The flip side of this is that my own SA was in the context of my church as a youth. My current work is like walking through a land-mine of triggers. I stay in my junk all the time, and it's quite frankly kicking my ass.

It's certainly not like shifting to non-profit work with LGBTQ youth is going to spare me the challenge of dealing with wounded youth, but I wonder if the shift of context might do me some good. Or, it could be just jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

I've thought about walking away from youth work all together -- there are certainly other people in the world who need advocates and freindly folks to journey with them and covenant not to betray their trust. I just can't imagine my life without working with young people. It's all I really know how to do, and it's really where my heart is.

I just have this fear that despite thirteen years of therapy and intentional support and supervision, I won't ever really heal as long as I'm caught up in some other kid's pain. Am I just hiding in their stories because it's easier than really resolving my own?

Don't now what I'm looking for from y'all, but I'm thankful for a place to name all of this outloud to folks who can really understand.


Unbind him, and let him go.

#73131 - 03/03/05 03:29 PM Re: big vocational risk
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA

You are right. It is always good to have a place to put these thoughts out loud.

I think of these fears, worries and doubts, many of them related to sexual abuse, as sort of the static on a radio.

I'm really trying to hear that small, still voice from inside that I have learned to identify as my Higher Power that I call God.

Yet the tuning isn't quite right and it's hard to tell which voice is which.

Writing about it, discussing it with people who understand and clearing my mind of the background chatter--even if only for a minute or two--is how I zero the tuning in to the song I need to hear.

It's always there I think. And fortunately I have learned how to hear it.

Of course, then comes the need for the courage to do what I feel is right.

But that is there always too, and I have found enough faith to act with courage in the face of fear.

A friend of mine says that there really are no "wrong" decisions. It is what we do with the decisions after we have made them that makes the difference.

Not sure if I can go all the way with that idea, but it does inspire me to take some risks.

Once I entered into the secretive sexually abusive relationship that dominated my life as a teen, I felt that there was no way out, no second chance, no way to change my mind.

I can still fall into that fatalistic thinking as an adult. But I can be reminded, as you have today, that I get to make choices and I get to change my mind.

Life is a stream of opportunities, choices, blessings and beautiful moments.

I used to think that because I am gay I wasn't a part of that beautiful flowing source of goodness.

Thank God that I have learned that I am a part of, that I do belong.

You are doing great work wherever you are. Reading the statistics on LGBT youth is such a sad thing. I can understand your desire to go there where the need is so great.

Plus, there is just something really good about being able to talk to another gay person. I think it would be cool if you were that other gay person for some kids.

Reading your post really lifted my spirits today.

Thanks for writing,


"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#73132 - 03/03/05 09:04 PM Re: big vocational risk
Brayton Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 696
Loc: Minneapolis
If it just doesn't feel right, I guess you have to turn down any offer.

But, first, why don't you ask your therapist how she/he deals with it? Often (I think) people become therapists because they have some personal experience with emotional disorders. Certainly, they hear a lot of troubling stories. I don't see how any of them could continue in the work if they didn't have some successful ways of dealing with it.

Sometimes, things just won't work the way we want them to.


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