Monday, August 14, 2006


when did it become so easy to HATE?
my oxford dictionary defines "HATE" as 1. to dislike (someone or something)intensely. 2. to be unwilling (to do something). i like the second part of this defintion most - i feel it describes the whole concept of HATE perfectly. isn't 'HATE' simply a strong feeling we have for something (or someone) bound up in our own unresolved issues...issues we want nothing to do with - things we want as far away from ourselves as possible. it makes it much easier for us to deal with them if they are easily wrapped up (with a neat and tidy bow) in a concept known as HATE.
now that would be all fine and good if only HATE would stay wrapped up and simple, unfortunately it does not seem to work that way. instead HATE starts wars, it kills people, it robs people of their rights and causes disaters...if not in their physical forms then in hidden forms, sometimes causing more wreckage than their counter-parts.
i myself am HATEd. what started out as anger, mean-ness and pointed criticism has become HATE. it has finally been labelled, but that is only half the battle. perhaps the worst part of this HATE is that it is grounded in nothing tangible. this is all about the second defintion of the word, but i feel as though it has become my responsibility to deal with it. When asked why he HATEs me - he points out my inability to share his sense of humor and my devotion to my job. are these reasons to HATE? are there ever any real reasons to HATE? does this make sense?

since i am a self-professed masochist, i wonder...I probably wonder too much. but it hits me hard that I am HATEd. in my head i know that this 'HATE' is so much about the HATEr and not the HATEd, but i turn it around enough in my head to make it spin. he does not know me. but he HATEs me. its almost like he has a secret passage way into my brain. into all the things that i HATE about myself. like he knows them and thats the only way he could really HATE me...i think about it endlessly like a looped chipmunks song in my head...
...but really in the end isn't this not just me HATEing myself?
i am angry at him for making me see all the things i HATE about me. its not fair, in his defintion he is ALLOWED to do nothing about it - since this in and of itself makes up the defintion of HATE. but for me, doing nothing means going on HATEing all the parts of me that i think he has a secret key for. i dont get the luxury of doing nothing because i have to get up ever morning and fight this battle to be me..

i'm caught in an HATE paradox...

and i HATE it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

where was the signal?

as we return to the battle being waged by our army of one..we find our protagonist standing patiently on the sidelines with her arsenal. she watches, she waits, she endures the internal struggle of wanting so badly to jump into action (resisting her ingrained impulse to plunge into the fight). she reminds herself she has been asked to wait, to try her hardest to allow her solider to fight his own battle. she has told herself to resist the urge to wonder why her solider has asked her to do this and to simply allow it to happen as so many of the bystanders have let her know this is the best route to take...

time goes by...

every once in awhile her internal struggle purges her into fighting action (following her heart rather than her head - while bystanders look on and shake their heads). when her solider realizes she is fighting he turns to her and frowns telling her to return to the sidelines, she complies each time a little more confused and defeated. like a masochistst, she continues to make this mistake - jumping in - and giving into her inherent nature... finally, her soldier appears to tire of her attempts - he screams aloud about her deficiencies as a solider, he strikes his own blow into her side, wounding her. As she shrinks to the sidelines to have her wounds treated she wonders to herself...what kind of battle is this? she is aware she jumped in not knowing who her antagonist was...only wanting to battle with her solider and remind him of his reserves...and somehow she has become his protagonist...

alone, wounded, she ponders her abilities - she re-assesses the battle plan and realizes that there is none. she realizes her mistake at jumping in 'too early' and she finally makes the ultimate decision to watch, to wait, and to have her arsenal ready - she finally agrees with the rest of her army and waits for the signal to re-enter...

then one day...she hears yelling and screaming in her direction. it is her solider. he is angry with her, although his words are confused. She decifers that he is anger at her for not jumping in when she should have. but wait! did she miss the signal? was she looking somewhere else?

she gathers her arsenal as quickly as she can (although in the waiting she has lost her quick reflexes, her weapons feel heavy, her heart is beating faster, she realized she has become gun shy due to her last ingury) and she does not move as swiftly as she had before...she rushes in as fast as she can, carrying her tools. another solider, whom she has come to respect greatly in this war, approaches her to tell her of her soldier's wishes. this soldier explains that her solider engaged in his army of one is upset with she did not jump in when she should have seen the signal. she is shocked.

she is defeated..confused...for once again she feels she is being asked to step aside, her soldier has begun welcoming those tools and comrades into the fight........ and she is not one of them.

what should she do? she stands shocked, her thoughts reeling as she tries to find the mistakes that she made - she tries to think of how she can undo her actions...but she has once again been shut out. she sits, surrounded by her tools...she her soldier drifts farther away in his fight - she realizes he is moving away from her more than physically in his fight and as he moves it will become more and more difficult for him to see her waiting for another signal, so that she can prove she is ready to fight by his side.

she sits as she watches the fight recede ever so slowly further and further away from her...over the horizon.

a prologue to an allusion...

what is the academic (possibly literary) word that means "to go back and review a previous plot point"?
beacuse this word currently encapsulates my existance and will hereunto become quite evident as being the precipitating factor of my return to the blog-osphere. This word will become the basis of the next few blogs that will make their ways from my head to my keyboard...

Monday, June 12, 2006

elephant shoes

ok. if it was not official before, it certainly is now. i am in desperate withdrawl of the East side of my previous world. the life with the masters thesis, the parties galore, the anxiety, the anyst of academia. but most of all i miss the city...ahh the city. usually no words can adequately describe it, fully comprehend it's brilliance....images hardly do it justice...

just as you think you've gotten over it. the city that masqueraded itself as an abusive boyfriend. winter's so bone chillingly cold you cursed it's very existence on the planet earth, then springs like true re-birth's openings...that's right you thought you got over all thought you moved tried to push the memories away, you packed your previous self into a can and sat it on your metaphorical shelf - chalking it up to history and all that goes with it. then one day you walk into a harmless video store - with a few extra dollars in your pocket and a few (so seldom) extra minutes to spare just looking around - like an art historian in the MoMa you let your mind wander...then you find a movie that perks your interest - its cover something apart from the draws you in... you realize this movie was filmed in your favorite and long forgotten city about a topic so often realize you must buy this movie - not rent it BUY it - but you've never seen it - you take a chance - like that previous self on the shelf is calling from within forcing you on-ward. as you watch you are consumed - consumed by a loss. a loss you thought you grieved but is still there...

yes the movie was Elephant Shoes by christos sourligas and it spoke to me. spoke to me from something i thought i had left behind. it spoke to me about dreams i had once of a city that called to me. about dreams i had once of a life that i wanted to lead - to seek. i had forgotten about this life i dreampt of - about the oh so very special people that inhabit this place and that 'je ne sais quoi' that grabs you on a simple walk around the city scapes - i had forgotten about the earnest and honest 'being' that happens in this place. and i was reminded.

not only am i caught in this (hopefully fleeting) web of sickening regret (dont worry i live here I am used to it) but i am hopelessly upset that a friend of mine is returning there shortly. he arrived emotionally catatonic from his departure from this city and will undoubtedly leave this dreaded city with this same catatonia (mindfully harboured to make the journey away that much easier). i on the other hand left with a yearn for change and have found it - but in the process i seem to have fogotten what i miss - is that possible? can you forget what you miss? does the act of missing something need to happen to feel fullfilled? or am i resurging my addiction to nostalgia?

anyways, this movie has re-awakened something in me i cant quite put my finger on. unrealized dreams? a potential not fullfilled? im not sure. i love the concept though - something you can say without actually saying "i love you" and still get the meaning across. i love the ambiguity - the unanswered questions..maybe thats all this bit of nostalgic melancholi unanswerable question. that just needs to hang there for a brief minute and be. i like that - its comforting. the spirit can re-awaken - it is comforting to be reminded that I am not an open book.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"to bite and tear flesh."

after five hours of meeting with nine individuals i work with i have learned five things today:

1) i am believed to not possess any shred of a sense of humor.

2) i make irritating suggestions that nevertheless seem to make sense in the long run.

3) i make everything into therapy.

4) i talk to everyone like they are my clients.

and..the biggest insult to a therapist(although i found the one about my lack of a sense of humor the most biting)....

5) i dont listen.

now my first inclination is ofcourse to go into self-pity mode ("i am an awful therapist") or the otherwise useful defensive stature ("bastards! if you TRIED to get to know me, and had any intellect whatsoever, you might find out i AM FU@king funny!"). After hours upon hours of stiffling tears and allowing myself to project all over this new information....stocking these as
HIGH in the reasons why i am so very unsuccessful with any form of romance or attractive attributes to/with members of the opposite sex, i am sorting through the remains of my brused and battered ego. living along side with my lonliness is my fragile belief that i am good at what i do, that people respect me for my abilities to deal with even the most complex kid and bring some small shreds of hope into their existence. all in all, this information gets mixed up with how i identify and undertstand myself.

perhaps most interesting, i somehow forgot why it is i love residential in the first place. as many of my close counterparts in catharsis can attest - i am often one to seek higher metaphoric meandering within popular culture and i have often equated working in the crisis sphere of residential with working in an ER. i love the adrenaline, being needed, and using skills i did not realize i possessed until the last minute - just in time. i love shows about ER's for this reason. now a new show - grey's anatomy has filtered into my life. its first pilot episode - aptly titled "the game" has for me, recently encampsulated the work that i do and the experiences/struggles i (and those i see around me) have on a daily basis.

In thinking about my job, I so often forget why i am here - why i choose to do this work. I do it BECAUSE its hard. i call it my "bootcamp" of therapy - i learn everyday, the learning is never easy - it takes blood, sweat, & tears, and its not always about the job - but about my own self and life.

when i have days like today, i need to remind myself of my favorite quote from "the game":
"i cant think of any one reason i should be a surgeon, but i can think of a thousand reasons i should quit. they make it hard unpurpose. there are lives in our hands. There comes a momment when its more than just a game. and you either take that step forward or turn around and walk away. i could quit..but here's the thing.. i love the playing field"
in the end, i may not listen, make irritating suggestions, treat everyone like a client, turn everything into therapy...maybe even (gulp) lack the requist muster to embrace sarcasm enough to satisfyingly engage with the staff.... but in the end i knowthe defintion of sarcasm "to bite and tear flesh" and i possess the will and the drive to keep going even if my bruses are sore and deep. its what i try to teach the kids to do...i may as well practice on myself...
in my mind, being a good surgeon means looking into your own deep wounds and embracing the crisis that ensues....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

what are friends for?

i feel i have learned many things from my job. in fact, i often say that the children i work with teach me more than i could ever hope they could learn from me. one important lesson they have taught me is about friendship.

friends in residential treatment are important commodities.
even if your plagued by complex mental health issues and have a hard time relating to anyone, and particularly -trusting anyone - due to the abundance of horrors that people have been inflicted upon u - friends are your life persevere. friends in residential treatment are loyal, they stand up for you (even when they know your wrong), they lie for you, they keep your secrets, they hide your drugs, they fight for you, they follow you into dangerous parts of the city, they will be your partner's in crime forsaking their own treatment goals and safety. above all else, they are loyal to you. loyalty is a big thing in residential treatment - in fact, in a place where things seem so lost, when it seems that your biological supports have left your behind in a place where you are considered 'the problem' - it may be the most important thing you can have.

if you know me. you know i love metaphor. and i often equate residential treatment to a war - a battle field where each soldier has a story of trauma, abuse, and maltreatment (stories that would often make you cringe with their horror). Now, each soldier keeps fighting - often to onlookers its amazing that they do (some have very obvious wounds - limbs and important internal organs broken and battered). no matter what the cost and how many times they are disappointed in the fight they keep at it. today, in a meeting i watched my soldiers fighting from a window (sometimes each other - sometimes the often confused onlookers and the rest of the military on site). i watched as they assembled themselves into an army to riot and overthrow who they saw as their captors all for the loyalty of one soldier. they fought and fought and fought...until one got taken away on a stretcher. later, when the other soldiers were asked why they had been fighting they simply stated "because he needed us to". no more complex. just that - because he needed them. thats lotalty.

now in my own life i think about friends i have, about loyalties for whom i would fight for in my own soldier way just because "they needed me to" no other explanation - no further commentary. i think that there are many - at least i like to think that way. perhaps, what is most important is that in residential treatment i never see, no matter how complex the mental health, no matter how traumatic the abuse, the stories of loss and feelings of loneliness and abandonment do i ever see a young person fighting alone. its almost a code of ethic - perhaps something that we are ingrained with - no one fights alone. it truly is an amazing thing to see - a group of teenagers who make up the margins of society but still live by the same rules of high school - never let someone fight it out alone.

in my life i fight all the time - its what im trained to do - i have my arsenal, i am armed and ready to use it when the need arises. i like being useful i am very loyal....
recently, however, i have found myself on the sidelines. not because of my own choosing but because i feel i have been asked to stand there. because i am loyal i am - standing. but it feels wrong - against nature if you will. i have been standing and watching my very special soldier in my own life fight a battle - an army of one. now mostly this battle is an inner one - but i am equipped to help with this battle - if only in mere cheerleading presence.
i am watching this soldier fight - mostly i am loyal and i would jump in at any moment (rip off the cheerleading outfit and grab my AK) to brave the odds. but i have been asked (in more ways than verbal) to simply watch and wait - no cheerleading - nothing. this hurts me. and i am trying to figure out why. i realize that i am not so self-important that this soldier NEEDS to have me help or that this soldier will not triumph on his own - but i am upset about the request to keep my tools away - to simply watch and wait. i wonder why i have been asked to watch - only watch only wait. i worry that my arsenal is not up to par - that my tools and my fight moves are exactly what is making my soldier want to keep me away.

i am thinking about the choice to fight alone. because it is a choice.
the terrain he is fighting is a hard one. its cliffs are rocky - its tunnels long. i worry that he sees the battlefield as much more bleak than it is...but i wait.

if i were a kid in residential treatment what would i do? i guarantee waiting would not be an option i would ponder for very long - but its getting hard to watch.

all of us as soldiers in our own fights are wounded ones (to various extents), but i guarantee the ones i watch at work fighting everyday - they would not watch they would act or run away because the act of watching would be too hard to bare.

for now i am watching...hoping for a sign to join the fight.

for my loyalty to the army of one....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


have you ever seen your family home under attack?
its strange to have all the articles of your family's history sorted through, taken, and broken...actually strange isn't the word ~ its surreal.
remembering the car that so often drove you to the ski hill, the car that your dad took so much care in, the only car you didn't crash...but i digress...

the police called asking if my dad new all the people who were driving his car, seems like the theives had stolen gas and the police were calling to question my dad. one simple questions - "do you know where your car is?" - "ummm was stolen remember?" - "oh oopps sorry - doesn't seem to be on the system"... so out the theives are joy riding around (in my mind) with all the articles from my parents home (including - and not limited to- several pairs of my father's dirty underware ??!!) in the car. the police? oh they forgot to put it on the system...ahem.

day 10: police call AGAIN "do you know who has been driving your car sir?" - "ummm was stolen remember?" - "oh seems they stole some more gas"...ok - so now in my mind the theives are joyriding around without the awareness of the police - having a great time stealing gas with all the heirlooms in my parent's life histories and the police cant even remember to put it on the system...

fasinating sum, were planning a stake out tommorow night.... strange and wonderful the dream of being a theif in this city - seems you can steal a car - drive it around - steal gas and never get caught - may be my new mode of transportation...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

things i need to remember...

The 10 A’s of Job Happiness
By Lorraine E. Fox
Relational Child & Youth Care Practice (vol. 17 no. 2)

Accept Responsibility for Your Career Choice
Acknowledge Individual Differences
Maintain an Assertive Approach
Attitude Control and Affect (mood) Management
Allow Empathy
Assign Appropriate Responsibility
Accentuate the Positive
Act – When Necessary
Affirm your Effectiveness
If you want to burn out…

“Take the low road to dealing with workplace stress. Adopt a defensive posture, keeping in mind always that nothing bad happens – nothing is your fault. It is always someone else’s fault – the kids, the other staff, management – funding sources, whoever. But not you. This defensive stance will allow you to deny your part in problems, and thus avoid having to do anything constructive to fix them. Keep it up for awhile and you will have more than your fair share of stress symptoms – both physical and emotional. You will then move into a reactive reflect, sometimes referred to as “crisis management”, and you will become truly miserable.”

By Lorraine E. Fox
Relational Child & Youth Care Practice (vol. 17 no. 2), p. 60.

If you choose to take the other road:

1) remember there is no book, no manual, no policy, no procedure, no program that can tell you exactly what to do with any given child/youth that will be effective.
2) give yourself a wonderful gift that you will frequently not appreciate. Promise yourself that you will have a couple of people in your life who are willing to tell you the truth. Self awareness is an important ingredient in burnout prevention.
3) Arrange your life so that you have some friends who are not as needy as the clients! Find healthy people and hang out with them!
4) Working within ourselves is very useful in building in positive longevity for our work, but sometimes it is important to actually do something about a situation that is bothering us. Talk to someone who has the authority to make necessary changes.
now only if everyone i work with understood this.