Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love Me I'm Helpless

This is me at the Art Gallery late this afternoon.
It looks like I'm channelling the Old Bag in the painting behind me. Maybe I did have her in the back of my mind while I was posing, but I was really trying to look Coquettish.
I failed.
The photo instantly took me back to the early eighties when I was heavily involved in what was then known as The Personal Growth or the Human Potential Movement. My mother preferred to call it A Cult.
I spent thousands of dollars attending weekly courses & weekend workshops with names like 'Becoming a Complete Person' & 'Own Your Own Life' & 'The Breakthrough Course'.
'The Breakthrough' was a completely scary eight day course held in a horrible run down country hotel where our watches & any other Personal Crutches were taken away from us by & they wouldn't let us go to the bathroom for hours & hours. I kid you not.
It didn't do a thing for me, except perhaps to make me More Scared. Just what I needed.
The Charismatic Course Leaders believed in the Importance of Releasing Anger . One of their favourite group activities was to get participants hitting rubber baseball bats on mattresses while encouraging them to yell & scream, which was called 'Catharting'. If you 'Cartharted' long enough, you'd inevitably fall into a 'Past Life Regression', where of course you'd be taken back to playing with crystals in Atlantis, or find yourself somewhere deep inside the Pyramids in Ancient Egypt. Atlantis & Ancient Egypt were Must-See Destinations in any Past Life Experience. Sadly, I never got to go there.

But the worst experience I had was when they made individual videos of each course participant. You had to walk up to a video camera, then talk for a few minutes about yourself & say what you hoped to get out of the course. Then you had to sit in a huge group & watch all the videos, including your own. While you watched, everyone had to write little notes about each person & then hand the notes to them With Love. Just about everyone wrote really nasty stuff like 'You're hiding behind your beard' or 'Stop Game Playing' or 'I feel Your Fear'.
Someone wrote about me, 'Love Me, I'm Helpless'. I remember being really devastated but of course pretending that it was the best, most honest feedback I'd ever had, & thank YOU so much for sharing.
Well, that's what today's expression reminds me of. But in an amusing way. And so what if it's true?
I'm also showing off my wonderful new gift. My colleague, Princess P brought me back the faux Chanel black beads from Hong Kong. I loved wearing them in just one long strand, but everyone else disagreed.
I'll think I'll stick with my own judgement.


La Belette Rouge said...

LOL! All the time in the "cult" has made you incredibly honest with yourself and others and I love that about you. When I look at the picture I do not think "Love me; I'm helpless." I see spunk, spirit, joie de vivre and an enormous sense of fun.

Sheila said...

You have such a refreshingly...silly and honest outlook - I greatly admire your attitude. Can I be like you if I ever grow up?

I like the one long strand of beads. Screw what everyone else thinks. ;)

Mervat said...

You come across as having a wonderful sense of adventure and fun. I always look forward to your posts and particularly reading what you have to write. Keep up the great work!!
PS How do you feel now that your students have embarked on their HSC exams?
PPS Love the shoes and the fact that you are local (ie in the same country!) and I can go to that same shop to buy the same ones!

workthatwardrobe said...

That course was useful - you have managed to get a blog post on it all those years later!
Seriously the worst case I ever covered as a journalist was investigating a cult - far scarier than trailing gangsters.

Della Street Dreaming said...

La bel - thank you for your beautiful comments. It's so wonderful to wake up in the morning & find something so nice waiting for me inside the computer!
Sheila - thank you for making me resolve to wear just one long strand, although I did bend to pressure today by wearing it as a double strand.
Mervat - not a fellow Australian? Wonderful! The HSC started today & workload has just dramatically gone down. Now I'll have even more time to blog! thank you for your lovely comments
Jane - thanks for that- the course was useful after all! I didn't really think of that. Now I've started, I could write the whole blog on my experiences in Personal Growth Courses!