Archive for February, 2013

Haikuesday 02.26.13

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

I felt dead at five,

but then when I took my grip,

I came back to life.

Categories: poetry Tags: , , ,

What’s your story?

February 25, 2013 2 comments

My friend, Dennis, is someone I look up to. We don’t talk on a regular basis, but each time I leave him two things happen:

1. I learn something.

2. I feel love.

Dennis is a teacher and I am a social worker. His path to become a teacher is very different than mine to become a social worker. However, in listening to Dennis tell his story, I find that we are inspired and committed to similar ideals of transparency, social responsibility, and unrestrained caring. We both do our best to face that which we want to avoid because so often, the hard thing is the right thing.

Listen to Dennis tell you his story:

Compassion vs. empathy.

February 23, 2013 1 comment

For the last several weekends, I’ve been reading up on trauma-informed practice so I can be a better social worker. This studying also gives me time to reflect on my practice in a way that I just can’t during the work week. Direct social work practice is by far the most challenging work I’ve ever done, and I’m often knocked out by the emotional and mental strength I need when facing certain situations and conversations. While reading Creating Sanctuary by Sandra Bloom (1997), I became fixated on four sentences :

“Compassion, at least, allows a little distance from the pain. Empathy is a far more dangerous personal experience. Empathy requires that we vicariously experience the trauma that our patients have survived. Empathy is not conscious or willed–it just happens.” (p. 111).

It’s making me think of how I try to connect with my clients and the effort I exert in attempting to understand their perspective and experiences. I think where I’m stuck is figuring out what happens with all the information after the session is over, after the treatment plan is created, the intervention is implemented, the work is contracted. What do I do with each person’s story? I don’t know quite where to go with that yet, but the idea of compassion verses empathy is a good place to start.

Haikuesday 02.19.13

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Doubt starts whispering,

then slowly builds to a shout.

Tell doubt to shut up.

Categories: poetry Tags: , ,


February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

This past Thursday was Valentine’s Day. For most of my life, I thought Valentine’s day was stupid, even when I was in relationship. Last year, my grandmom, Eleanor, died on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is also her birthday. That in itself is strange–to die on the same day you were born. I was pretty shaken when Eleanor died. My family knew it was coming, as she was well into her 80s and her health was declining quickly, so I was surprised by how affected I was. Something temporarily broke in me. I know part of it was the stress of school and the trauma and loss work I was doing, but I know that she died about six weeks before the anniversary of my mom’s suicide. My grandom’s death made me remember my mom’s death, which made me remember my brother’s death, but not in the calm, reflective peaceful way to which we aspire when we lose someone. It was more an underlying panic coupled with devastation and seeing futility all over the things I usually find meaningful  February through April 2012 sucked. I eventually snapped out it, but I feel as though I’m still tip-toeing towards that place of calm, reflective peace to which we all aspire.

In the meantime, I have to determine how my family’s losses will shape me and how I will honor those losses. One of the things I struggle with is finding ways to remember the people I lost in a way that feels genuine for me. I’m not someone who wants to visit a grave site. I don’t want to make a photo album. I don’t want to wear a locket. I’ve surprised myself in discovering that the thing that works for me is a tattoo. Last March, I got a tattoo in honor of my brother, and I can’t believe what a relief that’s brought for me. Over the summer, I was doing some research on narrative constructions of grief and loss, and tattoos and other body markings came up a lot. It seems there’s something universal in wanting to do something symbolic and permanent to recognize events and people whom we find significant.

Now, almost a year after Eleanor’s death kicked me into facing that which I like to ignore, I’ve felt a lot of weight thinking about my mother and what she went through in life. Then with Eleanor’s birthday/deathday approaching, I kept thinking about my family’s history and where we’re headed. So this past Valentine’s, I got my second tattoo. I now have a star compass on the inside of my right forearm. While I do just really love maps and adventure, when I think of my mom, I think of someone who was lost. She needed direction. But direction is something we all need, and we need guidance. A compass can help point you to where you’re going.



Categories: Life Tags: , , , , , ,

Haikuesday 02.12.13

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

The things that drain me

are the same that revive me.

What a strange balance.

“I should write this down.”

February 9, 2013 3 comments

After I wake up,

it takes a minute, but my heart slows, my breathing steadies.

I stop and reorient myself to my room.

I think, “I should write this down.”

But why should I record each time

my unconscious wants me to remember the panic,

the fear,

the sharp shift in waking reality

which signifies what I had and what I  lost over night?

What is the point of such documentation?

I thought nightmares were for children, but apparently they’re not.

Or maybe it’s the simple case that my dreams would like me to know

that I’m not as far along as I thought.


Categories: poetry Tags: , ,