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Haikuesday 05.29.12

I leave for Cuba

this Friday and I can’t wait.

I just might explode.

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Little fish hooks.

The words dug into my skin,

like little fish hooks,

and the flesh on my arm tore slightly when I pulled out

each shiny, cruel syllable.

But that was OK;

better to remove the hooks now,

and let his line drift further down stream,

poised to catch someone more fearful and willing.

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Haikuesday 05.22.12

You can run with me,

but only if you are sure

where you want to go.

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A poem with a special guest star

May 17, 2012 1 comment

Right now, I am sitting in a coffee shop with my friend, Silvi. She, like I, graduated from our MSW program on Monday. I have plans to go to Cuba for the month of June through a school program and Silvi has turned in countless resumes for social work positions. As we both engage in the waiting game in anticipation of our next steps, we find ourselves a little antsy. So that’s how we end up late Thursday afternoon writing a little poem together.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative                                                                                                                   by Silvi and Lori

I’ve been daydreaming while walking

wandering down sidewalks, counting the number of cracks

between each block of cement.

And now that I’ve gathered the data,

I’m uncertain how to qualify what I’ve quantified,

because although cracks vary in size and frequency

and the differing shades of green on tree branches are ultimately

all green, there is nothing concrete about gaping holes in the sidewalk

I so elegantly step over.

Now I find myself wondering if, perhaps, I might walk with my head up,

eyes forward,

and document each cement-induced stumble,

rather than archiving each avoided misstep.

Haikuesday 05.15.2012

Jeidy has left town;

I am sad, but I see a

new chapter begins.

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I love my tattoo.

May 15, 2012 7 comments

This past March, I got a tattoo. On one hand, it felt a little impulsive, but on the other hand, it was something I’d been thinking about for the last 13 years. I got a scorpion tattooed on the inside of my left wrist. Yes, my astrological sign is Scorpio, but I could care less about astrology. My tattoo is about my brother. We’re both Scorpios. When he was 19, he got a scorpion tattooed on his bicep. Honestly, I thought it was out of character for him to get a tattoo. My brother was hyper nerdy so a tattoo seemed strange on him. Looking back though, he wasn’t really the type of person that fit easily into any sub-cultural box. He arranged his physical appearance in a hodge podge of things he liked without any regard to what kind of image he might convey.

When my brother got his tattoo, he didn’t tell anyone in our family about it. When asked, he dodged further inquiry by saying it was fake. I didn’t even realize that his astrological sign meant anything to him. When he died, his best friends all got scorpions on their arms in his honor. At the time, I sort of wanted to get one as well, but I was only 17. So that was that. Years went by and whenever the subject of tattoos would come up in conversation, the only thing I would ever consider was a scorpion like my brother had. However, I also always said I would never get a tattoo. I didn’t think I was the tattoo type. I, like my brother, am hyper nerdy. Smoking cigarettes does nothing for my image. I frequently get way too visibly excited about things to ever come across as demure or composed. I thought a tattoo on me would just look silly.

This past March, though, a number of small and big things in my life manifested at once and I found myself missing my brother a lot. I wanted very badly to connect with him. I am not a religious person; I would not even consider myself a spiritual person. When it comes to people I have lost, grave sites and urns never mean much to me. My family had my brother cremated and several years ago, my dad and I scattered his ashes in the ocean off the South Carolina coast. We believed that is what he would have liked, to simply dissolve. I still feel content with our action, but there have been times in the past though that I wished so badly that I could have some symbol of my brother, some image of him that didn’t make me only feel his absence. So in March, the only wild thing I did during spring break was get a scorpion tattoo. It’s bright yellow and outlined in black and turquoise. I wanted the body to be as bright as possible because my brother had a trillion watt smile, and really, as cliched as it sounds, he was as important to me as the sun. As for the turquoise, I wanted something that was also bright, but calming as well. It’s very simple looking and the process only took the tattoo artist about 30 minutes to complete. But there it is.

Yesterday, I graduated from my Master’s program in Social Work. Any major event in my life, good or bad, always makes me miss my brother. More than anything, even after 13 years, I still wish he could be by my side during important moments. However, yesterday I was glad to be able to just turn my left wrist over a take a quick glance here and there, think of Scott, and feel like he was with me all day.

Getting ready.

May 12, 2012 2 comments

On Monday, May 14, I will join my cohort in our commencement ceremony as we graduate from our Master’s of Social Work program. For the last six weeks, I’ve hardly been able to absorb what this means for me. Actually, it’s part of the reason that I haven’t been writing. So much has been going on in my little skull that I can’t seem to pull one thought away from another.

While I’m primarily ecstatic to finish my degree, a large part of me is apprehensive about what comes next. I have to pass an exam to become a licensed social worker. I need to find a new apartment. I’m going to Cuba for the month of June and have about two and half weeks to get ready. Oh, and I also need to find a job.

Looking for work is the part of graduating that makes me the most anxious. Several of my classmates have found work and others are going on interviews left and right. Although this should encourage me since my classmates’ opportunities indicate that students coming from our program are appealing to employers, I do get taken over by unproductive thoughts that make me doubt my competence as a social worker. Last night, however, I had one small interaction that made me feel like things could be OK.

Last night, my school had an alumni event. I went with some friends, hoping to make some professional connections and take advantage of one of our last opportunities to get free food. About an hour or so into the event, I saw my supervisor from my internship last year. We were equally excited to see each other, as we developed both really wonderful working and personal relationships with each other last year. For the first time, I got to meet her husband. Like my supervisor, he was warm, caring, and unabashedly enthusiastic about learning. He asked me some questions about my experience at Penn, and my former supervisor chimed in that she thought I was a very creative student. After talking some more,  her husband remarked that I reminded him of his wife when she first graduated. This meant the world to me.

My former supervisor is my #1 social work hero. At all times, she fiercely advocates for her clients’ best interest. After 30 years in the field, she remains intensely passionate about her profession and stands committed to furthering her education. She loves solving the seemingly impossible cases. Whenever she receives praise for her hard work, she turns bashful and modest. She’s strong in her beliefs, but loves a learning opportunity, even if it means finding she was wrong. She’s only about 5 feet tall, but man, is she a pistol.

So last night, when she said she thought I was creative and her husband saw something in me that reminded him of his wife, I couldn’t help but feel a lift in confidence. I know I have much more to learn. Yet my former supervisor’s husband made me a little stunned (in a good way) when he said, “You know, it won’t be long before you’ll become someone’s mentor.” I know that’s still a long time coming, but I can’t wait for the process.

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