Yet another stellar video by First Aid Kit. Maybe I should study…
America (Simon and Garfunkel cover) - First Aid Kit
Well, hello there.
It has certainly been an eventful couple of months since we’ve spoken. Now that grad school is in full swing, I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone write. (Which is a total bummer. I love writing.)
Let’s start with the necessities:
I am LOVING my internship. Absolutely loving it. I am meant to work in drug and alcohol treatment, and this placement has only solidified that. My supervisor let me completely jump in. By the end of my second week there, I was leading groups, I had my first client. Totally on a roll.
I am now leading four groups and have three clients. Totally awesome. And it has made me see how much I have grown since starting out in field last year.
I was leading the Mental Health in Recovery group on Friday. The Friday before it was the best group. There was discourse, dialogue, and disagreement. Everyone was respectful of each other. Everyone was respectful of me. We discussed stigma and how it can hurt the person who holds the stigma and the person who receives it. The group loved it! I had three members tell me it was one of their favorite groups after the session was over. Absolutely amazing.
So I go in this past Friday in such a good mood, thinking of how great my little group is going to be. HA. HahahahaHA. There is no predictability in social work, Dorothy. Get your head in the game.
I planned an activity for the group today. I had done the activity at Samaritan, and it went SO well. The clients loved it. Basically, you take a sheet of paper and divide it into three sections. In one section, you draw how you see yourself now. In the final section, you draw how you want your life to look in five years. And in the middle section, you draw a bridge and examples of what you need to do to get from now to the future, especially in regards to substance use and mental health.
So, I go into group with the full intention of doing this. But oh, no. Karma is in my group today. (Not her real name, but a fitting nickname.)
So we always start off group with a feelings check. At the end of the feelings check, Karma bluntly, harshly, and maybe a little rudely asks, “You an addict?” I have my carefully crafted response of, “No, but that does not mean that I am not hear to help you and understand you.” (It was a little more eloquent than that, obviously.) Then Karma SO delicately says, “Then you ain’t gonna be able to help me.” I respectfully dialogue with her, but I am shaken up. Clearly. Not the way you want to start a group when you had such a good rapport the week before.
I don’t let myself feel visibly shaken, and I move into discussing the activity. Karma goes, “What is this, (effing) Kindergarten? All you people have the same techniques. I did an activity yesterday, and I ain’t here to do no more activities.”
But that starts the ball rolling. No one wants to draw, so I change it to writing, explaining the importance of visuals in helping us see through our lives and our decisions. The group went on, sure. Everyone participated. Even Karma. (Though she was still unpleasant the whole time.)
But here’s the thing, I didn’t run out of group crying. I didn’t sit in my office crying. I didn’t cry about it at all. Which, last year, if a client looked at me wrong I started bawling.
But I’ve grown up. Social work is not about if your clients like you. It’s not about if your clients want to be your friend. It’s about giving them the knowledge and the care they need to help themselves succeed. It’s not on me if a client does not want to get sober. I must give them all the tools, but that’s all i can do. It’s about self-determination, and the client deciding for him or herself what he wants to do. NOT ABOUT ME. I finally get that.
Doesn’t mean I didn’t eat a big cookie and pray to God that Karma will never be in my group again…
Grad Skewl is Krewl
Hahahaha. This title should say it all. I read. All the time. I read about suicide. And treatment modalities. And evaluating practice. I write about health care. And incarcerated children. And I have no solutions. I picked an uplifting profession.
But I am more and more thankful to Belmont for my undergraduate education. I am not learning anything new at Columbia, just having my learning reinforced. At first I was a little bitter about it. But why? Belmont was awesome, and I will have a master’s degree in a year with relative ease.
I Keep on Falling
I know you’re all dying for the latest updates on my online dating experiments. I have few. Grad school eats up most of my time. The problem IS…I fell for a guy who is equally (actually, really more so) as busy as I am. We go on dates, keep each other company, have a lot of fun when we’re together, but those times are few and far between.
So I keep supplementing them with other random dates. Some have been amazing. I really clicked with a guy who happens to be a Tennessee fan and so easy going and laid back. I didn’t so much click with a guy who took me to dinner and then quickly explained he may be asexual. (Right? I don’t know.)
But the problem is, I keep going back to this one guy. Thinking that the more time I spend with him, the more he’ll like me. But that’s not the case. I go on these other dates and think, I would rather be with __________. But it doesn’t seem he feels the same way.
It’s SUCH a bummer. And I need to let him go. Stop hoping that I’m going to see him. I need to be done. For my sanity. But it’s hard, ya know?
If you know anything about me, you know I only watch romantic comedies. Of course part of me hoped I would come to New York and fall in love. Have a hand to hold at Christmastime. Have someone to ice skate with. (Or, well, pull me around while on skates.) Carriage rides in Central Park. Hot chocolate while looking at the tree at Rockefeller Plaza. Maybe it’s just not my time for that. Maybe it’s my time to do these things on my own and have a love affair of myself. And that’s okay. I will be okay with adjusting my expectations. It may take some time. And obvi some tears.
Your Body’s My Party
It’s no secret that I have never been a skinny girl. I will probably never be a skinny girl. My thighs may always touch. I may always have this little roll of chub on my back that I just can’t stand.
But over the past year (and with the help of a very expensive psychiatrist), I have learned to love myself. Fat is not a four letter word. Neither is chubby. Neither is skinny. They are just words that are applicable to some and not applicable to others.
When I moved up to New York, I was actually afraid that I would be judged for being chunkier. Quite the opposite is true. People in New York really just don’t care. Not everyone is a Blair Waldorf or Serena van der Woodsen (okay, I’m rebinging on Gossip Girl) who wears fancy designer clothes and is never shown eating.
New York is health conscious, that is for sure. But that’s also not a bad thing. Nor does it mean every person looks like a tan supermodel leaving the Equinox ($200 a month membership) gyms. I still work out 5-6 days a week, and I feel so great about myself. I’m eating better than ever before - mostly because I’m lonely and it’s easier to go get salads from the grocery store than to eat at a restaurant by myself.
And not even a New York thing, but I am loving all the songs that are out now about celebrating curves. FINALLY! “All About That Bass.” Oh my goodness. It is my anthem. “Yeah, it’s pretty clear that I ain’t no size two. But I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do.” I start every run with this song so I can get my groove going. Then we move on to “Anaconda” where Nicki praises big bootied girls. It’s great!
And both of those songs would be even greater if they did not have digs against skinny girls. I’m sick of body shaming. In any way, shape, or form. We women have enough to do to fight the pressures that are placed on us by society. So let’s stop. Some women are thin, some thick, some fit, some curvy. It doesn’t matter.
Every. Body. Is. Beautiful.
Let’s get that through our heads people!
We have to stop the shame. We have to encourage health! And we have to let people and their doctors determine what health means for the specific person. I could lose weight. But I have never had a doctor tell me that I need to. I am a diabetic with PCOS who has control of her bloodsugar and finally enjoys working out. I am healthy.
Yeah, I run. And eat a lot of soup and salad and egg whites and fruit. But I also like pizza. And wine. And gummy bears. And don’t EVEN get me started on sweet potato fries.
(Stepping off my soap box.)
And Finally… The Comedic Random Happenings
Another saga. Hopefully my next one will be before two months from now. I truly do love, hate, admire, loathe, appreciate, adore, and despise New York. (Clearly, mixed feelings. But today, it’s appreciate.)
In fact a mature person does not fall in love, he rises in love. The word ’fall’ is not right. Only immature people fall; they stumble and fall down in love. Somehow they were managing and standing. They cannot manage and they cannot stand – they find a woman and they are gone, they find a man and they are gone. They were always ready to fall on the ground and to creep. They don’t have the backbone, the spine; they don’t have that integrity to stand alone.
A mature person has the integrity to be alone. And when a mature person gives love, he gives without any strings attached to it: he simply gives. And when a mature person gives love, he feels grateful that you have accepted his love, not vice versa. He does not expect you to be thankful for it – no, not at all, he does not even need your thanks. He thanks you for accepting his love. And when two mature persons are in love, one of the greatest paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone; they are together so much so that they are almost one. But their oneness does not destroy their individuality, in fact, it enhances it: they become more individual.
Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. How can you dominate the person you love? Just think over it. Domination is a sort of hatred, anger, enmity. How can you think of dominating a person you love? You would love to see the person totally free, independent; you will give him more individuality. That’s why I call it the greatest paradox: they are together so much so that they are almost one, but still in that oneness they are individuals. Their individualities are not effaced – they have become more enhanced. The other has enriched them as far as their freedom is concerned.
Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness.Osho (via lilyjoon)
I wish that I had a fun story to tell y’all about my week off. But unfortunately, this girl got food poisoning/stomach flu/Lord knows and has been sick all week.
BUT, I did manage to make it out half a day to the river with my beautiful friend, Sam. I KNOW it’s because of the media, but it is weird to me that suburbia exists outside of New York City. I don’t know if I truly thought the city stretched on for the entire state. But getting to go to New City and Nyack and other areas around there almost made me homesick! Homesick! For suburbia! Me!
We spent the first part of the date on Sam’s boyfriend’s boat. He is from Tennessee, and he had family from Tennessee so Sam was truly outnumbered. (Damn, I miss Tennessee. Can you tell?) I now know the appeal of floating down the Tennessee River. Boats are awesome. The wind. The water. (Too bad I’m see through and had to slap on sunscreen every five minutes.) Josh has this AMAZING dog. So sweet. But he loves the water, and it’s so funny to watch him fly into the river and chase after ducks.
After a wonderful but brief trip, we headed back. And the raging food poisoning kicked in once again. I loved the town that we went to. It almost made me nostalgic for a place like Collierville or Dahlonega. But, after twenty minutes, I was in so much pain it was hard to stand, so my sweet friend took me home.
(Why does this always happen during the fun times?!)
The next night was the boat cruise around Manhattan. Gorgeous. I am so spoiled. Great company. Great views. Windy weather. I felt like a princess. New York is truly breathtaking.
As is what always happens when I’m adjusting to a new situation, I get a little introspective. (Shocking, I know.)
If you have the answers…
Recently, I’ve been thinking about friendship and relationship and connection. At what point in our lives do we stop caring about “being cool?” At what point do we choose to hang out with the people who edify us and build us up and inspire us to be better? At what point do we forge our own path and ignore what may be seemingly “cool?” At what point are we seriously just too old to put up with this crap anymore?
Cliques are endless. And limitless. And sometimes hurtful. But at some point, we have to sit back and realize, we bond with certain people because we have shared connections. Shared values. Shared likes. Shared dreams. Why should I spend any time trying to force myself upon people who may not want me there to begin with?
I have people that build me up! And that I want to spend all of my time with. Even in this short time of being here.
I want to cherish the good in my life. If someone does not like me, that is not my problem. (As long as I have not been hurtful.) It’s still hard for me to let go of the fact that I don’t have to be everything to everyone. If someone isn’t nice to me, I can just let that person go instead of fighting for their approval.
Of course this is easier said than done. And of course, I have been on the other side of this. Being the exclusive one. Being the one that is too gossipy and hurtful. That’s not fun, either.
If anyone has any advice, insight, anything, I’m always open.
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool." -Almost Famous