Friday, July 27, 2012

O for Options

I got some exciting news yesterday. My field coordinator sent me an email with my options for senior field placement! As I briefly mentioned in my last post, my junior field placement is going to be hard to beat, because it was so incredibly awesome (more on that later, I promise). However, I have to admit that at least two of my options are quite intriguing.

My first option, Agency A, works with current and ex-offenders from the correctional system to secure employment and other resources. I would also be given the opportunity to do some group work with adolescent girls on probation. My field coordinator wrote: “The challenge for you in this placement maybe (sic) working with a significant African American male offender population given the events having transpired in your family with the loss of your sister.” Apparently my field coordinator took my junior placement supervisor very seriously when she said he’d better find me an appropriately challenging senior field placement or she’d snatch me back up, because it “would be a crime to ruin a fantastic social worker with such incredible innate abilities by sending her somewhere boring.”

After expressing his concern over the challenges this opportunity could offer, my field instructor wrote, “I want to find an internship that would challenge you as you are among my exceptional students and I do not want you to be bored.” Good. Very good. I don’t want to be bored. I don’t do well with bored. *PUTTING BRAGGART HAT ON* I always suspected I was an exceptional student, but I don’t know that I’d ever grow tired of actually hearing it! ;-) *TAKING BRAGGART HAT OFF*

I have some reservations, the least of which is working with “a significant African American male offender population.” Granted, that is a valid concern given that I did have some post-traumatic stress type reactions to African American males in the 16-25 age range within the year or so after my sister’s death. However, I believe I’ve worked past that. During my junior internship, I did a lot of home visits, some of which involved spending time in the homes of some men meeting this description. Though I was there primarily to focus on their children, I had no issues with being in the homes of these men or near them. I take that as a good sign.

My reservations are with the fact that this is a new agency that my field instructor just recently recruited, meaning he truly has no idea what a social work intern will do there beyond what he’s been told by the staff. I interviewed at an agency for junior field placement where what they’d told the instructor I would do was very far away from what they told me I would do, and what they told me I would do was very very far away from what actual interns placed there did. NO students EVER should’ve been placed there given what I reported back to my supervisor regarding my interview, but he didn’t believe me or didn’t want to listen. Thus, they ended up with three students very bitter that they didn’t get to do any social work at all in their junior social work internships. Needless to say, that left me with a lack of confidence in my field instructor.

That said, I will schedule the interview and will follow my gut. I’m excited to learn more about this opportunity.

The second agency, Agency B, I haven’t been able to find out much about. They’re a community mental health organization that offers recovery-oriented services to help individuals with serious mental illness live successfully in their communities. I am eager to go to this interview to get more details about the position and the agency. Mental health is the alley I want to go down, which is why I want to complete my master’s degree, so this could be a great opportunity.

The third agency, Agency C, conducts forensic interviews of children who have reported sexual abuse, witnessed violent crime, or who may have otherwise been victimized. My role as an intern would be providing crisis intervention, support, and other direct services to clients and their families. This opportunity sounds intense, but “crisis intervention” sets off red flags as that’s what I did in my previous internship. My goals for field placement are to be challenged and to learn something new, and crisis intervention isn’t new or challenging at this point. I won’t rule it out yet. I look forward to getting all the details at the interview and using that information to help with my final decision.

Of course, I don’t get to make the final decision. My field instructor does. He’ll listen to what I have to say when I give my thoughts on each interview, and he’ll use that to guide his decision, but he has the ultimate say. This is a very exciting and nerve wracking time! Internships need to be finalized and in place by the end of August so we can start the first week of September. I’ll fill you in on interviews and the decision making process as I go, lovely reader!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

H for Here I Am

Have you ever been so incredibly stressed and exhausted that you can’t even stand being around yourself? Yeah…that’s me right now. I know that must make it seem all the more odd than I’m suddenly resurrecting this blog that died a slow death towards the beginning of the year.

I’m back because I think this can be a good self-care outlet for me. It definitely has been before. And, since I’ll have to do a lot of journaling in the near future as part of my senior social work field placement, I should have a regular source of material soon. Actually, I have billions millions lots of ideas now for things I can write about that have already happened. In short, I have no shortage of material. What I do have is a shortage of time, but that’s nothing new.

I really wanted this blog to serve as a record of my time in social work school, and I ruined that by giving up so soon and putting it on the back burner. I have literally been in a sort of survival mode for at least the past six months though. Meaning every little thing in my life was prioritized and scheduled, and some things just didn’t make the cut. That's just how it had to be in order for me to survive social work school and life in general.

Going forward, I’m going to try to schedule at least weekly posts to summarize what has happened and what is yet to happen (as it happens). If I find myself with an abundance of rare free time, I’ll write a post or two and schedule them for the future. For now, a list of highlights and lowlights that have occurred over the past six months…some of which may or may not be expanded on in the future.

  • I ran a 10k (6.2 miles…AND I didn’t die)!!! I said back in March that I wanted to complete a 10k by the end of the year, and I ended up feeling ready (at least as ready as I could be) three days before my birthday in May. I wanted to finish in under an hour and a half, and I did (though just slightly). Of course, I didn’t run for almost two whole months after that due to time and other factors, but I recently found my way back to running and hope to maintain a running once a week schedule.
  • I’ve maintained my 4.0 GPA. With less than 5 months* left of social work school, I have managed to maintain my 4.0 GPA. (*Technically…at least at the bachelor’s level. I will be extending my senior field placement into February in order to earn more credits that I need to make graduation numbers and to take less time off of work per week. I also am a masochist have fallen in love with clinical social work, which requires an MSW, so I’m thinking about torturing myself retaining student status for at least another year to complete my masters degree. IF I can find the time to do the entrance essays!)
  • I not only survived, but also thrived in, my first social work field placement (internship). I will definitely talk more about this one in the future. I completed my last week working with emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children experiencing mental health crisis at the beginning of this month, and I’m still incredibly sad that it’s over. I did not for a million years think I’d enjoy working with children, especially this particular population. I walked away from the experience a new person. I absolutely fell in love with the clientele, crisis work, and have affirmed that social work is, indeed, the right line of work for me. I’m nervous and excited for senior field placement to begin in September.
  • I removed my toxic mother from my life. My mother has been toxic and emotionally abusive my whole life, and I finally got the strength and courage (and got sick enough of her crap) to remove her from my life. No longer do I have to put up with her incessant, unrealistic demands, accusations, and whining.
  • I’ve maintained my 4.0 GPA. Wait? WHAT?! Yeah…it’s definitely a highlight and an accomplishment, but it’s left me completely exhausted and super burnt out. Every semester, I’ve said I won’t work myself so hard and that I’ll adopt the “sometimes done is better than perfect” motto, and every semester I work my butt off and stress myself out to get As. I rationalize that this is necessary, because getting into grad school is competitive, so I need as high a GPA as possible. I could definitely afford to let up on myself a bit though. I’m trying. I really am. It’s a process.
  • I removed my toxic mother from my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the drama. However, there isn’t a complete lack of drama. Every once in a while, my mom rears her ugly head in attempt to bring me back into her life or to vent her anger at me, and this particular drama is far worse than any ever was before. She’s awful, vindictive, and spews some of the nastiest venom. I don’t have the energy or inclination to deal with it at this point, so sometimes it makes me completely lose my s---- and just breakdown, which isn’t cool. Also, I haven’t seen my nephew in months and my sister barely speaks to me anymore (she needs to keep things good with mom, who serves as her daycare, etc.). I’ve made my peace with all of that, but that’s not to say it doesn’t get difficult at times.
  • My sister is pregnant. With her abuser’s baby. (For backstory, you can search around the blog and find more info on my sister and her abuser.) Yeah…that’s pretty much ‘nough said, huh? They’re not back together. Yet. This will be their third child together, and they really can’t handle (mentally, emotionally, or financially) the two they already have. It was a “stupid moment of weakness” type thing. My sister isn’t proud of it. My mind is boggled as to why she chose to keep it, but that is her decision and hers alone.

So, that’s that, lovely reader. (If there are any left.) Though I haven’t been commenting, I’ve been reading the blogs of those I used to read and comment on regularly. With school winding down and me only having to take a couple classes a week instead of 4-6, I'm hoping to be around a whole lot more.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

M for "Mother"

There’s no way of sugarcoating this, so I’ll just say it…my own mom unfriended me on Facebook this past weekend. That’s right, folks! If you live and die by Facebook, you now know that I am such an all out awful person that my own mother cannot be friends with me. Thankfully, I am not such a person, so my self esteem isn’t even close to shattered. It’s more likely you’re extremely jealous of me. LOL!  I wish I could share my secrets for how you too can have your mom unfriend you on Facebook, but you have to start out with a batshit crazy mom, so many of you are likely out of luck.

While I am more than happy to no longer have my mom on my Facebook friends list, this whole thing has repercussions off of Facebook as well and I’m left feeling pretty angry and sad about the whole thing. I absolutely cannot believe the lengths my own mother will go to, in her pervasive and almost sick need for drama, to get attention.

It all started with a tattletale…

My mom has posted two pictures of my six year old nephew in his underwear over the past week. This didn’t sit well with me, as I think six is too old for those kinds of pictures to be taken and placed on a social networking site; especially on the profile of an attention whore  individual who is “friends” with half the world and doesn’t really utilize privacy settings. (Because how then would she maximize the amount of attention she receives?) I am, however, not a parent, so I thought I could just be being too sensitive based on the fact that we have recently been discussing over sexualized and sexually abused children in social work school. I decided to put it to a vote.

Were the majority of people to confirm my suspicions that those types of photos are inappropriate for social media or the internet, I was going to bite the bullet and talk to my mom about my thoughts. Even though telling her you disagree with something she’s doing never works out well, because she is childish, and anytime I’ve brought up concerns with her in the past she’s either ignored them or pretended to appreciate what I say only to turn around and backstab me to someone else. (Yeah…she’s really a gem of a mother.)

I utilized Facebook’s group and privacy settings to put up a status that my mother, and people I thought would tattle to my mother, could not see. I asked what people thought the cutoff age for such pictures should be or what they thought of nude/half nude pictures of children in general. After a couple people weighed in basically agreeing with me, I went into more detail and asked specifically what people thought of pictures of six year olds in underwear and explaining why I was asking (i.e. mom posted two underwear pics of nephew in a week and it doesn’t sit well with me). Well, apparently I didn’t do a good enough job determining just how far up my mom’s ass some people are who might be a tattletale, because someone tattled to my mommy.

I’m out stuffing my face with amazing pizza having a lovely dinner with my husband Saturday night and get this dramatic text:

“I have nothing to say to your ears. When u can TALK to me and my heart I WILL listen.”*

*Everything in colored text and quotes from this point forward is exactly as it was written, which means as much as it pains me, I haven't corrected spelling mistakes or grammar.

Nice, huh? She’s a poet, isn’t she? Also, remember this text because it will come into play later.

I thought I knew what this pertained to, but I wasn’t going to play games with her. I texted back:


Because I'm simple like that. It took about fifteen minutes for her to reply, because she was very busy unfriending me and my husband—who she insisted just last week needed to be her Facebook friend—and posting a dramatic status on Facebook. This was her reply:

“FACE BOOK. I am so sad YOU became so non verbal and distant.”

I love how she uses big concept like nonverbal (not correctly, of course, because it is only one word) as though she is some sort of educated, highly evolved, and caring mother. And distant? Wow…way to finally catch on. I’ve been distant for years now. Partially because school has kept me beyond busy the past few years, partially because I’m sick of watching her try to profit from my sister’s death, and mostly because she’s been a shit mom my whole life and as an adult I finally get to decide how my relationships will play out. Also, I can’t stand watching her screw up my nephew’s life.

I replied with this: “Sorry you’re sad…I’m also sorry that tattletales start drama and you play into it. I WAS going to discuss my concerns with you, but was trying to figure out if I was off base first. I’m only as distant as you allow me to be and am plenty verbal, thanks. Gets really old talking and not being listened to or having what I say not matter though, so…”

I have brought up numerous concerns regarding my nephew and other issues over the past few years. Because she said after my sister’s death that my nephew would be raised by a village now, I foolishly assumed I was part of that village and figured my words would matter. They didn’t. Not once has anything I said mattered. As I said above, she does one of a few things when I bring up concerns regarding my nephew:

(1) Pretends to give a shit about what I say and then just flat out ignore it.

(2) Feels threatened by the fact that I'm smarter than her, decides I'm only saying what I am to be "better" than her, and tells me that I don’t understand or am confused and refuses to explain it so I will understand.

(3) Lies and tells me that an “expert” like a counselor or someone told her ABC advice, which is clearly different from and better than mine.

(4) Backstabs me and drags me through the mud to other people or on Facebook (before this it was usually in ambiguous status messages that only I understood were about me).

(5) Gets better about hiding the things I’m concerned about so that she can continue to do what she wants and not have to worry about me chiming in. (i.e. She told me my nephew would no longer see/talk to the murderer’s family, because I was right that really no good could come of it and they might have underlying motives. Of course, she didn’t come to this conclusion due to anything I said. She figured this out after a radio psychic told her my sister’s spirit is still around to protect my nephew, because she doesn’t like that my mother is allowing the relatives of my nephew’s father—also known as my sister’s murderer—around my nephew. Yes. You read that right. She trusts radio psychics before her own daughter. All was good for a while, but she eventually refriended them on Facebook and even invited them to the memorial bonfire for my sister this year.)

She did not reply to my last text. Apparently, not only did she not have anything to say to my ears, but she also no longer had anything to say to my eyes either. She sure did have a mouthful to say on Facebook though! Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. My mother is clearly a thirteen year old girl. I have been the adult, and she the child, since I was around ten years old. I am 33 now, so you can imagine what a long couple of decades it’s been.

Ever the victim, this is the dramatic status she posted right after she unfriended me on Facebook:

“JUST unfriended someone. FB I’m outta Here. Just in it for the games now. I wont be offending anymore people with my pictures.”

She got 18 comments and one like from friends who buy her bullshit lies and play into her drama. In the ultimate show of solidarity (and to illustrate just how infantile they can be) my mom’s husband also changed his profile picture to the infamous George Costanza picture (shown below) but with his head Photo Shopped onto the body. (He is a Photo Shop wizard, ya'll!)

Mom commented on this photo: “Oh no! Is that you in ur undies? ;-)”

Hilarious, right?! Yeah….they’re the grownups, folks. In addition to my previous concerns about underwear pics of my nephew, I’m now concerned that he’s being raised by people whose cognitive capacity, executive functioning, maturity, and intelligence he now far surpasses at the ripe old age of six.

One of the 18 comments she received on her dramatic status was from my aunt, we’ll just call her Trashy McTrasherson, who told her:

“tell them to KISS YOUR @#$%^&. kepp doing what your doing.If you dont want to deal with person SEND THEM MY WAY” Because it’s super easy to be tough on Facebook when you live hundreds of miles away and are complete trash.

My mom responded to said aunt with:“it’s FAMILY and we both know I cant turn my back on FAMILY…My oldest.” Then followed that comment up with this gem: “Just want to make her list of APPROVAL and get a bit more physical support instead of excuses and back biting.”

Because my mother is a martyr and loves to lie. My mom excels at lying. If she could find a job doing it, she might just be able to hold down a job. She turned her back on me quite awhile ago, depending on from whose vantage point you’re looking and what counts as turning one’s back. If you count the first time she ever called me derogatory names or sad horrible things no parent should ever say to a child, she turned her back on me when I was about 10. If you count going on a “family trip” that you mention to your daughter only a few days before without having invited her, then she only just turned her back on me last summer and again a couple months ago for good measure. She treats just about everyone in her life better than she’s ever treated me, including her weirdo stalker (her words, not mine) “best friend” who moved in with them months ago and might be just as mentally unstable, if not more so, than I believe my mother to be.

She wants to make my list of approval? REALLY?!! Wow…that’s news to me. And to think I’ve spent most of my life trying to get her approval, or at the very least, just to get her to say something somewhat positive or nice about me to my face and mean it. She’s notorious for talking about what a smart, wonderful daughter I am in front of other people, because then she gets the credit for being my mother and making me that way. In private, however, it’s a different story and she deserves absolutely no credit at all for any of my positive attributes (of which I’m told by independent, verifiable sources there are many). The credit for those goes to my resilience, intelligence, drive, and other mysterious factors that thankfully prevented me from turning out anything at all like her.

From about the age of nine or ten on, in addition to basically raising her kids for her, I was emotionally and psychologically abused on a regular basis. Her favorite thing to do was to belittle any of my happy moments or successes by telling me I was a “Prima Donna Bitch who thinks you’re better than everyone else.” The real kicker? In her public praise, she’d call me her Prima Ballerina. Sick, huh? Words do hurt people, and they do leave scars. Good old mom! I have honestly lost count of how many times she’s called me a bitch alone, never apologized for the caustic words she's spewed, and went on to pretended nothing happened.

Yet she was surprised when I started saving up and buying household supplies at fifteen in preparation for moving out on my own. I’m not joking! By the time I finally moved out of her house at twenty, I had everything I needed to setup a house, except furniture. Every penny I made was used to put gas in my car, so that I could continue to get to work and school, and all of the rest went towards buying dishes, towels, small kitchen appliances, and whatever else I thought I might need for life on my own. I wanted out, and not just because she wanted me out. I was burnt out and tired, sick of being the only adult in the house, and sick of being abused for no good reason.

As far as the physical support she seeks, I believe that refers to her wanting me to take my nephew off her hands more often to give her a break. As much as I love to see him, it breaks my heart that I have neither the time nor the energy to keep a six year old for a whole weekend. I have told her repeatedly we’d be glad to have him overnight here or there and that all she needs to do is let me know about a week in advance so that I can prepare by getting homework and housework done early. Apparently that’s not good enough. When we do have him stay, I just get sad. The more time I spend with him, the more I realize that he is becoming more like them and less like his awesome mother every single day. That just hurts deep down to my very core. Not to mention that she made it very clear to me last time I brought up a concern with her that I was no longer part of the village that raised him. She posted on Facebook about how her family (meaning those living in her house) and those who matter know and understand what's going on with him and all that she's doing to give him a better life. It was very apparent I was not one of those who mattered since I was not aware of all that she was doing, which was evidenced by the expression of my concerns.

As far as “back biting” is concerned, that wasn’t what I was doing with my original Facebook post. But, she’ll never know that, because she chooses to believe what a stranger with no life (i.e. Facebook Tattletale) told her over her own daughter. Also, despite having had the opportunity to learn from the back biting grand champion, I have never really picked up this “talent.” And what the fuck is it called when you drag your daughter through the mud all over Facebook? Is that something different than back biting?! It must be, because someone as evolved and adult as my mother surely wouldn’t engage in such behavior.

For excuses, I think she’s referring to the fact that I missed the memorial bonfire for my sister this year (first time in the four years she’s been gone) because I had a migraine. She’s a bitch for calling my medical issues an excuse, but then again she’s never understood my medical issues and likely never will. She’s entirely too selfish to truly care how much suffering migraines cause for me.

Of course, that dramatic victim status she posted was only for attention. She wasn’t truly “outta Here” and proceeded to post yet another status on Facebook yesterday. (Yes, I have my tattletales too. No, seriously…she was just too stupid or too hysterical to unfriend my dog, so I peeked on her page before having my dog unfriended her. In the Facebook hierarchy, I still think I win the title of most awesomest unfriending of all time.  Unless, of course, getting unfriended by a dog is worse than being unfriended by your mom, in which case she is the ultimate grand champion of being unfriended.)

“Am very teary eyed that I had soooo much unresolved drama with my oldest yesterday. She still hasn’t a clue on how the phone works for more than texting.” (Sadly, only six likes and three comments of support on this one.)

Someone posted a picture an ubber encouraging picture of the Cat In The Hat with the Dr. Seuss quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” (Clearly missing the point that what started all of this in the first place was me saying what I felt.) My mom then commented under that “Sad thing is the person I deleted is my oldest child.I thought I raised my kids with the comfort that they could TALK to me when things bothered them :(”

And, once again, who’s the backbiter now? Seriously?! You’re sad over unresolved drama YOU CREATED?!?! Are you fucking serious?! It’s laughable that she says I don’t know how to use the phone for more than texting when she’s always the one who texts me. That is pretty much the only way she ever communicates with me. All holiday and birthday invites from her are texts, she randomly texts me shit my nephew wants, and she texts me all the time saying she'd like to come meet me for lunch and then never actually follows through. Since that’s the way she chooses to communicate, I simply respond to her texts. In fact, if you scroll back up, you’ll see that it was a text from her that started all of this! Was I supposed to call her after she said she had nothing to say to my ears?! So I’m supposed to just call and start groveling pleading for forgiveness talking (about how wrong I was, because clearly it is I who was wrong and started this drama)? How was I supposed to know her heart was ready to listen so soon?!?!

She thought wrong about how she raised her kids too, apparently. First of all, she would’ve actually had to raise her own goddamn kids. As far as I’m concerned, I and my maternal grandparents did that. Also, see above. Anytime I  have tried to TALK to her when anything’s bothered me, be it about my nephew or anything else, she’s responded in one of the five ways above. You know what that’s taught me? You can’t talk to her. It is not worth my extremely precious time to try to talk to her.

It slays me that so many people commented on and liked all this drama on her page. I am seriously afraid for society that there are so many people who are that blatantly stupid walking this planet. At the very least, they can’t seem to realize that this crazy psycho who is dragging her own daughter through the mud all over Facebook just might not be mother of the year. With one quarter of her children dead, thanks in part to her, and half of her children (both my brother and I) barely talking to her (or at this point not talking to her at all, which in my brother’s case has been going on for a few months now), these people can’t see that she just might play a role in that?! Seriously? I’m at a complete loss then. I really am. People like that are just too stupid to live.

Though I’m angry and sad, I am also very relieved. My mother is finally out of my life. Hopefully for good. It's been a longtime coming. I can tell you that this will not be repaired for a good long time, if ever. She has a lot of apologizing to do before I’ll even consider speaking with her. In the meantime, I won’t miss the drama. I won’t miss what a fucking hypocrite she is. (The best example of this being her bragging all over Facebook and everywhere else about what a domestic violence advocate she is as a result of my youngest sister’s death. Yet she encourages, to the point of almost forcing, my whole family to accept my middle sister’s ex’s presence at family evens because he is still part of the family despite the fact that he tried to strangle my sister to death this past summer. He is, after all, the father of my sister’s children, and that totally takes precedence over attempted murder.) I will not miss HER.

I am finally free. I am at peace. I have plenty of love and support and people who know and appreciate just how amazing I am. 

You're awesome if you made it through all that, lovely reader! What say you? Was I off base? Is six too old to be posting half naked pictures online? Why do you think so many people blindly and unquestioningly follow an obviously mentally unbalanced attention whore like my mom? Have you had Facebook drama lately that you would like to share?

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Friday, January 27, 2012

N for Nothing To See Here

Since it’s been so long since I posted, I thought I’d just give some quick updates on what’s been going on in my life since my last post. I am not even going to try to explain my long absence. I hate making excuses, and everything I have to say will likely just sound “excusey.”

I have officially survived my first semester of social work school and am now just under a year away from graduation!!! The second term (or last half of the semester as semesters are broken out into two 8 week terms) was absolutely brutal. Mega huge and time consuming writing assignments and group presentations were the order of the term, which culminated in a lot of work and one exhausted Elle. I somehow managed to earn A’s in all of my classes, and I feel pretty damn good about that. I am proud to say that I also landed myself on the Dean’s List! Gotta love it when hard work pays off.

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Know what else I feel pretty good about? The major changes I’ve made over the past year. I’ve been kinda down on myself due to gaining a few pounds over the holidays. But when I really consider all that I’ve accomplished this year, I’m pretty amazed.

I’ve lost over 46 pounds and will hopefully reach 50 by my one year anniversary on Weight Watchers. That means I’ve been planning and packing 2-3 meals a day to take to work with me for almost a whole year now (breakfast and lunch most days, and dinner on school days). WOW! Though I seem to have hit a plateau in actual weight loss, I can see and feel the difference in my body, which helps to keep me motivated.

New Year’s Day marked one year of not smoking, and I’ve started running. In fact, MusicMan and I started 2012 off right by running a 5k (that’s 3.1 miles) on New Year’s Day. We might not have celebrated New Year’s Eve in grand style, in fact we didn’t even get to watch the ball drop because we had to be up early to get to the run, but we really felt as though we kicked the New Year off right. The aptly named Polar Dash was the third 5k I’ve run so far. Thanks to the cold and the hilly course, it was also the most difficult run I’ve completed to date. I made it through (just barely), finishing in 42 minutes and 53 seconds, and was so freakin’ proud of myself for persevering! I definitely earned the finisher’s medal I got at the end.

I cannot believe I’ve become a runner, but I have!! I looooooove the beginning and ends of races and runs—it’s true what they say about a runner’s high. However, I sometimes really hate the middle part. LOL. Running is hard! I find that sometimes I really have to push myself, and my asthma makes it even more difficult, but running intervals really helps. I currently do a ratio of running 30 seconds (which doesn’t seem like a lot until you’re doing it) and walking 60 seconds. My nifty Gymboss helps me time my intervals. I’m going to move to 30 second running and 45 second walking next week to see how it goes.

I have a goal to complete a 10k (6.2 miles) by the end of the year. Musicman and I are running a race sponsored by my company this Saturday (5k for me and 10k for him), are signed up to do a Valentine’s 5k in February, and will be signing up for a Lucky 7k (4.3 miles) in March. I find that, if I sign up for a race a month, it gives me a goal to work towards and keeps me running. I’m a proud slow runner. I’m not trying to be the fastest or to win any races. I run to improve my health and fitness. I run to run.

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I am super excited for the year ahead. I’ll start my first internship in March. I’m pretty happy with the results of my application. There’s one really awesome domestic violence opportunity and a couple opportunities to work with homeless youth. You’re supposed to go out of your comfort zone for the first internship, because it gives you the opportunity to stretch both personally and professionally, so I was thinking of accepting anything but the domestic violence position. Then I realized that anything at this point is out of my comfort zone as I have virtually no experience working with clients in a helping capacity.

Now I really am leaning towards the domestic violence option, because I think it will be a good opportunity for me to find out if I truly do want to head down that path and am cut out to work with domestic violence victims, or if I’m just pursuing it because it seems like where I should go given my personal experiences.

I will also have the opportunity to reflect on why I want to work with domestic violence victims. Am I doing it just to save women like my sister, because I couldn’t save my sister? If so, I could be setting myself up for serious disappointment, frustration, and sadness.


Am I doing it because I genuinely believe my personal experiences with domestic violence give me the unique ability to really relate with victims, which will allow me to potentially help changes the lives of many women?

It will also be a good opportunity to see if working with victims is traumatic for me in any way and, if so, to do the work to deal with that trauma or to find another population to serve. (I’m also interested in hospital/crisis social work and child protection at this point.)

That’s all for now. It looks like this semester is much more reading intensive, and almost all my classes have a journaling requirement that will perhaps fit very nicely with blogging, so I hope to be around more regularly.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

S for Self-Care

Once again it would seem I’ve neglected the blog. Poor, poor blog. Good thing we have the relationship we do, you and I. You get me. You understand that, even when I’m busy, I don’t forget about you.

In order to ease gently into posting after such a long absence, I’m just going to give a quick recap of my first term (8 weeks) of social work school.

We learned about self-care. It was one of the most important things we learned. It’s absolutely essential in a profession like social work, which tends to involve work that is often thankless, frustrating, emotionally exhausting, and a myriad of other not exactly pleasant adjectives. It’s hard to believe I can’t wait to join the profession, isn’t it! ;-) I’ve worked on exercising good self-care by returning to knitting, which I absolutely love. I’ve probably over exercised self-care in that I’ve sometimes placed priority on knitting over homework. OOPS!!!

I’ve dabbled in running again. Musicman and I are signed up to do the Turkey Day 5k in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving morning. It remains to be seen whether I’ll walk or run it. I will likely do a combination of the two with more of the former and less of the latter. I just might not be cut out to be a runner in any way, shape, or form, but I’m not quite ready to give up completely. I've moved to interval training, which seems to be working pretty well. I'm currently doing 30 second runs with one minute walks. My goal is to increase the running and decrease the walking, but with my asthma, I just might need to remain at these intervals for a while and that's ok.

I need to keep doing whatever it is I’ve done this first 8 weeks, because I did veeeeeery well. My streak of A’s continues. 4.0 GPA, baby! I doubt this will last, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

I’ve developed some great friendships with members of my cohort and truly see some of these people turning into lifelong friends. Half the class went out for drinks on our last Thursday of the first 8 week term, and though I regretted the next day how late I’d stayed out, I was too ecstatic over having bonded with some of my classmates to care about how tired I was.

Every one of my four instructors has given high compliments on my writing, which just means the world to me. I’ve done a very good job of working on being concise, but I still have a ways to go. Of course, just when I got used to writing short papers, we’re assigned longer ones. I think I have three or four 10-15 page papers due by the end of this term. Fun stuff!

I do not like the advisor of the social work program, who also happens to be the instructor of the general practice class I’m currently taking. She sucks at communication. She provides no guidance and is often unclear in her expectations. (I know, I know…welcome to social work!)  Class time with her is all about what a great social worker she was (is?), and none of us feel as though we’ve really learned all that much.

Also, she’s supposed to be working out some credit transfer issues for me, which she assured me would be done by the end of the fall semester, but we’re now halfway through and there’s been no progress. Needless to say, I’ve lost trust in her and I don’t have much respect for her at this point. If the credit issue doesn’t get figured out soon, my ability to pay for the rest of the program (i.e. financial aid) could be in jeopardy. I am not pleased.

I had a really uncomfortable and difficult conversation with my boss about eventually moving to part-time at work. I explained that field practice starts in March and that I can’t do 25 hours a week in internship and 40 hours a week at work. The reality that I will be leaving here someday hit him hard. That reality also hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. I just celebrated 14 years with the company...I’ve basically grown up there; it’s really all I know. It’s hard to believe that I will be leaving within the next couple years.

I’m hoping BossMan decides he wants to work with me on this, and thus will keep me around on a part-time basis. I made it clear that, if this wasn’t possible, the only alternative was for me to leave. Now I wait…not only to find out what his decision will be but also to find out where I’ll go for my first field placement and all that’s involved with that.

I’m scared. I have had a job and my own source of income since I was 13, so the prospect of being jobless and having no income makes me almost physically ill. However, I have to do what’s best for me. I am fortunate to have the love and support of my amazing husband and am trying not to worry too much. Things will work out. It might not all go exactly as I’ve planned, but I’ll find a way to make it all work. There’s an exciting journey ahead; that’s for sure!

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