EDWARD -an example of inspiration: kids helping themselves and their families
Bujumbura, Burundi

“Feed inspiration not desperation.” My dear friend, Lise Janelle’s words often rings in my ears and those of my children. I live this more so, now. Kids Canada is all about feeding inspiration. My trip to Africa last October quickly made me realize that I was often not seen as Maylynn nor as an artist, mother nor a friend but as a muzungu -a bottomless source of funds for gas, meals, favours, supposed short term loans, incidentals and bio-sand water filters. I’m so tired of hands trying to reach into my pockets… be it here in Africa or in Canada.

I have learned this lesson time and time again for years yet find that the lessons continue to come at me as I have failed to “walk the talk” in my personal life. Feeding desperation creates dependency and the moment you stop feeding desperation to feed your own needs, be it desperation or inspiration -the receiver of your debilitating kindness often does not see what has been done in the past for them but only what is not momentarily there. You are not greeted with selfless support in return but surprisingly and painfully faced with anger and accusations of abandonment for stopping to think of your own needs.

I do not blame them. I had fed desperation and supported their victim within in my blindness to play the role of a supportive friend. I often remember and remind those who find themselves uncomfortably in the role of rescuer that when I trained as a lifeguard in high school for example -it was drilled into our cores to always remember to place an object between ourselves and those we are rescuing. We were told that in desperation, in this case fear of drowning, one thinks only of one’s own survival and will drown you in the process -along with themselves. We were told to move away from them, push them away if need be, and shout at them to hold onto the object and not onto you. Friends remind me that on flights we are told to place oxygen masks on ourselves before loved one. A most difficult priority to factor in when you instinctively place loved ones ahead of yourself.

Today -I am sad and try not to look back at who and what I thought was going to be so much a part of my journey but grateful for those who still walk quickly beside me – often holding my hand so that those human sized pot holes and oncoming objects coming from everywhere do not slow us all down. Today, I hold hands with PTMOF to rescue a young teen mom and her baby who have been on the streets for 4 days. Today, I once again, am grateful for my friends and family, especially for Andrew, Kaia and Wyatt -who have not screamed in anger at me or accused me of abandoning them while I walk, run or fly on my own to think only about myself for a short while…

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