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Every Day Livin’: Only In America

Uber Opportunities

Only in America would both my Uber drivers today be non-English speaking immigrants.  The second one only eight months in from Cuba.  He’s learned “left, right, stop, yes and no” and was thankful that I knew some Spanish to get us there.  When he dropped me off to collect my car at the mechanic,  he even waited around long enough to make sure that I was talking to a mechanic and not just standing there alone.  He gets five stars for that.

International Women’s Day

Today I celebrate every real life XX Chromosome carrying chick.  It has been one of those unifying posts across my Instagram feed.  Men honoring their mothers, sisters, nieces, grandmothers.  Women honoring each other and enjoying the brilliance and beauty that is our true essence.  I remember my mom and her bestie (Madame Babier), both of whom now serve among the cloud of witnesses in heaven.  They had a great work and home life together.  We lived with Mme. Babier and her family for the first two years when we moved to Miami.  I never got the sense that there was ever any competition between them.  My mom was quiet.  She was outspoken.  They made sense together.  They worked together for years in a sweat box factory, always complaining about the management but never giving in.  I miss them both on this day.

My Kinda Funny

I’ve been on this Golden Girls series binge for the past few weeks.  I watch it when I get ready to leave for my day and at least one episode before I fall asleep.  I know why I’m watching it.  It reminds me of my mom.  It reminds me of afternoons spent hanging out with her in her room when my dad wasn’t around.  The wisecracks and sarcasm are epic funny.  “I haven’t been a virgin since The Louisiana Purchase was in escrow!” barks Estelle Getty’s character.  I died a thousand death on that one.  My husband doesn’t understand the binge but whenever he’s around long enough to pay attention, I hear him laughing at some odd situational comedic scene and I know he gets it.  He even humors me and sits through an episode-or two.  Not sure if it’s because he knows why I’m watching it or cause he finds it funny too.  Just glad that he gets it.

Social Worker Month

I never need an excuse or reason to celebrate my profession.  I figure if I don’t do it, who else will?  I’ve been working on some projects to exponentially move forward the field of mental health personally and professionally.  What I’ve discovered is that unlike five years ago when people would bow their head and pass the collection plate in pity when they heard what I did for a living, folks are now paying more attention-really pay attention.  In this climate where people are looking for answers, looking for direction, looking for anything; I’m humbled to be a part of what it is going to take to bring about hope and perspective to those who are searching.  I never take it lightly when a total stranger decides to entrust him or herself into the hands of another total stranger with their story.  There is no definitive role that a social worker plays.  He or she can be a political figure one day of the week, a play therapist another day, life coach, therapist, case manager, consultant–you name it.  The sky is the limit.  So pardonnez-moi as I scream from the rooftops that “I LOVE MY PROFESSION!” It’s more than a job, it’s a calling.

Un-Fastening My Potential

I’m two days into my 40 Day Fast.  I get the sense that people are becoming less traditional in their walk with Christ and more “progressive”.  Christ was the most progressive human being who ever walked this earth, so I know he’s provided me with enough tools to maintain a level of constant renewal in my spiritual life.  No need to reinvent the wheel in that department.  Some days it’s like automatic.  I can read my Bible, pray and remain centered.  Other days it’s like searching for a light switch in a pitch-black room.  Both types of days require my trusting in God for the answers regardless of whether they come easy or hard.  

Abstaining from certain foods and activities is part of that.  I have never been disappointed.  Tested, yes.  Annoyed, yes.  Bothered, yes.  Disappointed, no.  It doesn’t mean that I become some hermit and go in a cave until the day before Easter.  The Bible actually warns against those who would have themselves look like they’re in misery during a fast.  Nothing changed but my choices.  Limiting my social media and news intake to Pulse and Instagram.  I figure I still gotta consume news to remain updated and I still want to learn from others who I don’t even know in areas that matter to me.  Those two outlets meet those needs.  I’ve always grown personally during these fasting periods.  It’s not something I can place my fingers on during some years.  In some years, I can see the hand of God just moving in ways only He could take credit for.  In other years, it’s been quiet shifts in my paradigm.  Just one degree of change still means change.
I’m having major caffeine withdrawals and it’s not pretty.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.  Prayers needed.
Solo Field Trip

This weekend I get to go to the much talked about Game of Thrones Concert Experience.  The nerd girl in me is super psyched to be in this space.  The introvert in me is extra psyched that I don’t have to share this experience with anyone else.  Going it alone. Solo dinner and solo concert experience. Can’t wait to tell ya all about it.

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Life Coach

What’s Your Therapy?

I spent four hours the other evening revamping my church’s bulletin board. It was on the shabby side and my discerning eye was truly aggravated by it each time I saw it. Just the thought of redesigning it got me excited. I would get to do something I love and make me feel good in the bargain. 

The casual observer would have gone nuts with the number of times I had to get on a chair, get off a chair, walk away and return only to move something on the board for the hundredth time. “You look happy doing that,” someone said. Mind you I wasn’t humming or grinning from ear to ear but the person realized I was in my personal zen just cutting away and stapling away on this board. “It’s my therapy,” I responded. 

Baking is my therapy. Reading is my therapy. Turning chaos into order is my therapy. What’s yours?

There’s something in us that finds peace when we do it. Something that others find perplexing and frustrating to do, but you find it as your outlet and it brings a sense of calm to your soul. 

Some people run. Frankly pounding my knees on the pavement one in front of the other is more of an obligation, but I know folks who lace up and run to escape. 

Some people bake and have a kitchen dusted over with flour. They find the measuring and watching this mélange of ingredients turn into something others drool over is rewarding. 

Some people enjoy a good swim or anything dealing with the water. For them, subconscious reminders of their first nine months in the womb brings a sense of escape. 

Some people clean their house from top to bottom and erase the old and bring in the new. Their idea of peace is trashing huge bags of stuff they no longer need, decluttering their lives one piece of junk at a time. 

Some people enjoy all things music. Some play around with makeup. Some love quiet moments in reading. Some journal. Some blog. Some climb mountains in search of new adventures. Some like long rides. Some binge watch old episodes. Some do triathalons. Some travel. Whatever brings you a sense of relaxation or reward should be considered your therapy. 

March is social workers month and half of my work in therapy is guiding others in the discovery of their inner peace. We go stretches and stretches in our lifetime running towards illusions without settling down and finding contentment. We go miles and miles being unhappy in our skin without finding that “thing” that makes us smile on the inside and look forward to doing it. 

On this night, working on a bulletin board is what I needed. I also needed an Ibuprofen when I was done! Getting on and off a chair, stapling, unstapling, moving, removing. When it was all done, my sense of accomplishment of this task eased the long day I had endured. 

Find your therapy. Commit to taking care of yourself. 

Career

Social Work Month: Why Social Work Is Sexy Part Trois

I love my job. I cannot say it enough. We are a ways away from the soup kitchen, child snatching images that have been society’s idea of what we do. I shun family member’s hidden disappointments of nursing/lawyering/doctoring dreams deferred. Rather, I embrace days and hours that never look the same.

Today I sat with a client and watched her mind go from zero to one-hundred in one hour. It was refreshing to have someone hear her out for a change. Someone who “gets it” in a judgment free zone; someone who walks away making no promises other than “let’s do this again next week.”

Today I sat stunned to watch the face of a former client caught in a hale of bullets now laying in a hospital bed tonight. The picture on my phone of a youthful face, whose tomorrow is now uncertain. I recall an unmet need and the limits of my willpower and my reach.

An exhilarating and ever humbling experience is my norm as a social worker. No two clients, story, life, moment is ever alike.