Fortune Cookie Fortunes

Fifteen years ago I bought a set of 8 dessert plates with witty fortune cookie messages printed on them coming out of fortune cookies:

Love Is Worth The Risk

Why Not Take Responsibility For Your Greatness?

Suppose You Get What You Want

You Think It’s a Secret But It’s Not

The last two messages are apt because you can get what you want when you live with a diagnosis. It’s possible to succeed doing what you love. In my estimation a person can succeed ONLY when they do what they love. Acting false to yourself and working at a job that doesn’t suit you just to pay the bills is the sure-fire way to be miserable. Each of us deserves better.

I chose to get a job in a library rather than in an office when I obtained my library science degree.

In February 2005, I was the victim of accidental disclosure when the employee newsletter published in the Good for You section the news that I won the Volunteer of the Year Award for NAMI-Staten Island. Little did I know the newsletter editor would lift the information directly, word-for-word, from the article already published in the newspaper at the time I won the award. Everyone found out exactly why I won. It was no secret.

Even with this I don’t recommend disclosure for most people employed at jobs.

I recommend “researching yourself” to discover the kinds of jobs you might like to do and be good at. When you find the job you love, the stigma becomes irrelevant to your daily life.

I have a desk. I placed the collage I framed on the desk. I had created a collage with various colorful letters that spelled out the word Optimism in an art class I took where I work. I hung up on the cloth board on the back of my desk a bookmark with my signature poem “What She Said” typed on it.

That’s how I know that sometimes pretending not to have a diagnosis is unnecessary. If you work in offices or corporations or business I still think Sheryl Sandberg’s idea of mixing the personal with the professional is so controversial for people diagnosed with mental illnesses.

Can people living with mental health conditions Lean In on our own terms?

I sure hope that day is coming. Women like Brene Brown and Sheryl Sandberg who have written books and are leaders in their fields do inspire me for this very reason: they reveal their personal sides.

The idea that only Alpha Males can succeed or deserve to succeed in business and in other work arenas is crumbling fast thanks to these two courageous woman. Possibly I’m going to be another woman who breaks the glass barrier too: in this case for people living with a diagnosis.

I sure hope the old way of doing business: the old boys’ network: is becoming obsolete.

I’m all for Leaning In now. I respect and admire women and I respect and admire men too who challenge the norms in the society that hold each of us back and hold us as a society back.

You Think It’s A Secret But It’s Not.

None of us can afford to get our knickers twisted over this as the expression goes.

The day is here when people who have diagnoses can get what they want just like others.

If I can do for people with mental health conditions what Sheryl Sandberg or Brene Brown does for other women and men, I will have done my job.

It’s time for a revolution. It’s time to re-think what’s possible for people living in recovery.

Suppose You Get What You Want?

Something to think about.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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