June 26, 2015

#109A: The Five Stages of Grief for WCS (Knowing is Everything)

Five Stages of Grief:
How they Apply to WCS
The five stages - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance - are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I want to take a moment to talk to you specifically about this week's Quote of the Week.

When it comes to the five stages of grief and loss, we usually attribute them to people who have lost a loved one or a job, etc. But I think we can all relate to these stages in terms of losing WCS as well.

In fact, I think it's vital that we understand just how many of us are going through - or have gone through - these five stages.
Because we did lose WCS. We lost most of it. Our conventions, our youth, our instructors and most of our potential was stolen. The music, the fun, the laughter and the glory ended - we were rammed up against the exact opposite, with many of us suffering varying degrees of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

And for those of us who really experienced the best of WCS, for those of us who really lived it and tasted it - the grief and the loss is very real.

The same goes for people who lost their studios to narcissistic and sociopathic teachers and promoters - for others who lost their homes to the points system and to still others, who lost their children to the drugs - you've all experienced loss too.

My point is merely this: do not underestimate the loss you have suffered. Just don't.

Look back and see the ways you went - or are still going through - the five stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

If you are still with your Word Groups, I encourage you to share your stories about your time in each of these stages.

Remember? Remember just how many people were in Denial when the dance first started changing? How hard they fought against the truth of things, even though newcomers could see the differences, plain as day?

Then, when they started going to conventions or dances outside their normal circles and they saw it all first hand... right out there in the open... oh, the Anger! Right?

Then Bargaining... "Well, if only Abstract would play some of our songs?" or "If we could just get them to learn some technique, it would make such a difference!"

Yup. We've all heard the Bargaining, haven't we? I sure had my moments, but once I started writing, the reality shoved me right into Depression, and I stayed there for a while...

And I wasn't the only one. So many of us suffered under it for a long, long time. There's nothing like loving WCS and working an Abstract convention. It's a horrible draw on the heart.

Acceptance came a long time later for me. It took years to go through the grieving process.

How about you?

Take a serious moment to think on this - and then give yourself the grace and the freedom to take the steps one by one.

You are justified in feeling loss. We all are. It's a reality. And so is the grieving process. Let's love each other and give each other the freedom to grieve in our own ways.

Understanding the five stages an really help us understand where others are coming from too - many times we feel like they are delusional and it can anger us...

But sometimes, they are still somewhere in grieving-land. We were once there too.

Let's help each other, listen to each other and put power in each other's hands - though the power of knowledge: the knowledge that we are grieving, and the five stages we can all expect to go through.

Sometimes labels are empowering. And these five little words: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance... they can be some of the most empowering of all.

Especially for us lovers of WCS.

This was the sidebar article in Weekly WCS Note #109b: What is a Cult? released on Wednesday, June 24th 2015.