photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.


It’s 5:34 a.m. and I’ve been thinking about school for hours. I have one remaining assignment, which is a book report/critical analysis/personal reflection paper (3-5 pages, Times New Roman, naturally- MLA, my favourite) in Social Psychology. It’s supposed to be 3 to 5 pages and while part of me wants to chince out and celebrate (which means a 3 page paper), the academic in me tells me to throw every ounce I have into it (5 pages) to show my professor that I care. So, 5 pages it is! My final grades are:

Intro to Criminology- A
Spanish II- A
Therapeutic Intervention with Substance Abusers II- A
Lifetime Fitness and Wellness- A
Social Psychology- B

There’s no way I’m going be able to get the A in Social Psychology, but I still want to show my professor that I care enough to do my best. I have a great relationship with 99% of all of the professors that I’ve ever had and we usually email back and forth and get to know each other. I think personalizing the relationship makes students want to try harder and that’s proven true in my case again and again.

School has helped me so (so ho ho) much. When I first started, 4 years ago, I was a bit hyper-spiritual. Thought everybody needed saving (yada yada) and I pretty much lived on that plane. [insert groan here] Studying psychology and sociology over the years has been the best form of therapy for me, personally, and a very necessary anchor. I think like an analyst or statistician now. I’ve learned through my studies to problem solve using the scientific method, which means, taking your emotions out of the situation and gather hard facts. It’s still hypothetical at that stage, so it needs to be confirmed by others in your area of study or field. Once confirmed, the hypothesis becomes a theory. I’ve learned to take this approach when dealing with others who are judgmental and/or spiritually hyper-manic (such as several of my siblings) so that their hatred won’t rub off on me.

Take for example, the email I received from my oldest sibling (name withheld) only yesterday who offered to exorcise me. Uhuh…you read that correctly. Said he was getting into exorcising people these days and if I ever wanted prayer…da da da. (He was doing this to “help me” because he knows my past is “riddled with demonic forces”. Right. And, for this reason, he took his daughter away from her favourite Aunt, because Aunt Birgy isn’t in Church on Sunday morning, so Aunt Birgy must be “bad”. It’s just enough to make your mouth drop and it’s been a perpetual witchhunt.) I’ll tell you, that tested my boundaries on a whole new level. That’s a bit out of touch with reality- it’s pretty freaking scary. I had sent an invitation to my graduation and er, that was the reply.

In the past, I would have been have been utterly wounded. I would have internalized, thinking of lots to say in return. I’m not like that any more. I realize that we cannot change others, not when it gets right down to it. We can only try to improve ourselves for ourselves and ultimately, the benefits of others. The classes in Behavioral Sciences, however, have helped me to understand that I had been seeking my older siblings approval my entire life. (Love me! Love me! Please accept me!) As human beings, we all do it, but this has almost destroyed me in the past. It’s liberating to be able to assess the situation (again, like a social scientist) and comprehend that my two oldest siblings are exhibiting signs of paranoia, conspiracy theories, fear, terror, mania, and in a nutshell, the just-world phenomena, which is something I learned in Social Psychology, which is, believing that if something “bad” happens to a person, they brought in on him or herself. That is so dangerous to think along those lines. It means that you’re always justified in your own eyes while others “get what they deserve”. Social Psychology is fascinating and it’s helped me quite a bit. I used the word bad in quotation marks because I believe “bad things” is just a matter of perception. What is bad to one person is a blessing to another. I apply this in my life, everywhere, and know that there is good to be had in every situation. We don’t always see it, but it’s always there.

I’ve had to clinically remove some of the people from my life who expected me to be their tragedy. As long as they tell themselves I’m “sick”, or pitiful in some way- they can love or “accept” me. They cannot accept me as a peer, though, or an “equal”. My siblings and I were raised to believe that college isn’t really a good thing. (Yes, shocking, I know.) There’s a lot of sickness in this family. We were raised with a good bit of patriarchy and misogyny going on, even still. That really didn’t fly with me- at all. I’ve chosen to stop these generational perpetuating cycles of diseased thinking. I decided years ago that thinking along those lines (college not being a “good thing”) is just a little bit wacky. Needless to say, of my 4 siblings, I’m the only one who chose to go to college and say, “What the hell is wrong with everybody?” So yes, thank God for college.

I’ve had to cut 1/3 of my family clean out of my life! But it was only after doing so, that I actually got “well”: emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. So many of my friends are what others think of as “mentally ill”. It breaks my heart to see the chains that swallow them up because somebody thinks he or she is “sick”. I’ve had my battles in life, sure. But when you think I need an exorcism, and you’re going to perform it? I’m probably going to block your email (in record speed) because you need your head examined. That’s just waaaay too crazy for me even, and that’s saying something. Ha. Let’s recap: Your sister invites you to her graduation and you offer to exorcise her. You’re out of touch with reality, dude!

If it wasn’t so sad it would actually be funny. Like, ha ha funny! I can’t wrap my head around it. I just have no room in my life for people who cannot love. And that’s all this is:

“I cannot love you, sister; I’m not capable of it, so I’m going to judge you so that I can validate my hatred. You are a bad person because you do not fit my mold of who I want you to be. You are not in church like me so you must be evil. I will tell my child that you are evil and have “bad spirits that need exorcising” so she will not love you either.”

This is sooooo wrong on every level, and to teach your child that? Just unspeakably wrong.

I have a lot of friends in the art world (a lot) – hundreds, and I’ve never met anybody who is actually “cruel”. Only good people! My friends are the sweetest, kindest, and most considerate people I know, truly. (BB, Y, Wendy S., Marion, etc. the very long list goes on.)

For those of you who I’ve gotten to know through this blog also (Amy, Jen, Sean, Jenn, Al- and many others) you have no idea what your love and support has meant (and does mean) to me. I’m inspired by all of you and am encouraged in my life. I can’t thank you enough for that. :0) Thanks most of all, to my children, for being strong, independent, free-thinking beautiful people. I’m most inspired by you guys.

I found out today that I only need 18 credit hours to obtain a second degree- an A.S. in Social Work. Ohhh that’s so tempting…classes start in January. 18 credit hours! I’ve racked up almost 100 college credit hours, so a lot of my required classes have been knocked out already. I’ve actually knocked back 21 credit hours (7 classes) in one semester before and did exceptionally well: I’ve pretty much tapped out the Social Sciences department at my school.

Josh and I are sicker than dogs. We were both hit (hard) only yesterday. I think we got it from “hacking woman” at the homeless shelter. She was coughing and hacking all over the food, right next to us, and now we’re quarantined to the bedroom. My graduation is in 6 days! Ugh. Not sure what’s going to happen there; it’s almost 200 miles away. I need to kick this bronchial infection out fast.


My son, “Bob”, natural shadows/natural window lighting. Shot in monochrome- intentional high ISO for added grain.

16 responses

  1. ekeene4

    ditto darling. ditto.

    when i returned back to school, my ex took me to court for custody of my 2 youngest daughters, insisting i couldn’t move the girls 62 miles away to iowa city. during a required mediation session, he pretended to go along with working out a schedule, then at the end announced he had no intention of working anything out with me, said he knew he was going to win, and that his “goal” was that i see our daughters 1 day a month. he “won.” in fact, today–december 1st–is the anniversary of my attorney calling me (on my way to a philosophy class) to inform me.

    teaching rhetoric classes helped me the most. that and the university of iowa’s writing center, where i was accepted no matter what….i went from being a speechless visual artist to dancer (no words, yet again) to a writer. during one court session, the custody evaluator said she didn’t believe i was capable of finishing my undergrad degree, never mind be accepted into the MFA writing program. bitch.

    i worked by ass off, like you, to connect to my professors (brilliant all!) and clawed my way to honors and scholarships.

    thx for your writing….great stuff! and drink this as much as you can till you’re better:
    cup hot water. add good size chunk of lemon and big ass slices of ginger root. a dab of honey makes it all worth while…

    w/ appreciation….

    December 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    • Good golly woman, you’ve really been through it! I think you’re an amazing artist, in all forms. I love to read your writing most importantly because of your style. But you definitely have a “voice” and are confident (unshakable, in fact) in what you say. I certainly appreciate where you’ve been and what you’ve gone through to better your life FOR YOU. :0) In the end, some people are not satisfied with your successes. In fact, as you know, they grow irritated and impatient watching for your failure. These are the types of people I cut straight out of my life- shut the door and lock that sucker! Well your encouraging for sure, and I want to start applying for scholarships as well. And thanks for the ginger tip! I only have ground ginger (and lemon) at the moment, but i’m going to make a ginger and lemon shooter. :0) I hope you and Dirk are loving Colorado. xo

      December 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      • ekeene4

        tis great here….last eve a woman who runs the yoga center in telluride invited all her yoga instructors…i taught and dirk ripped it on his electric guitar. then we all had a sweet pot luck dinner–we are truly touched by the inclusive nature of the peeps here. in taos i was shut out of the yoga community with silence and dirk was met with a hostile and negative music scene (the antithesis of the nor california music groove)….so yes, we are blessed to be here now….
        PS: powdered ginger works too! drink every hour of the day if you can–it helps enliven the digestive system which takes a dive when compromised….
        anyway, thanks for writing and trust your heart…
        w/ love,
        ms. em…

        December 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      • I’m so glad to hear you guys are being welcomed into the community- unlike Taos. I couldn’t believe the BMV ordeal (5 times!); that’s just nuts. Isn’t it great to break bread with people that actually care? So happy for you guys. :0) I hope you both have many great years together. I love Mr. Dirk’s style- Keith Richards has nothing on him! heheh… xo

        December 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

  2. yvo

    Oh B, Congrats on the GREAT grades that you EARNED!!! so impressive!!! and regarding those annoying gnats . . . ha haa SAY CLEAR, FOCUSED and on TRACK. Sooo amazed by you and sooo Proud of you!!! You are the kind of student we love as teachers and Yes, a personal connection is key . . so is loving them. not the kind of thing you can say or talk about but I do pray for them and seek the best in each student to champion. Great REAL friends trump the FOO (family of origin) . Ha haaaa!!!! Love you Darling!!! xXx. y.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    • Oh yes they do-real friends absolutely triumph over FOO. I think about what Jesus said when His disciples said, “Master, your mother and brother are outside and they want to see you.” He said, “Who is my mother and brother? Those that do the will of my Father.” I love that. Even HE said, “mother and brother who?” Those who LOVE are my mother and brother. Y, you have helped me so much- just really helped to straighten out my head because I know you go through the same things. And you’re a good reminder, always, to not allow others to tarnish you in their negativities. That has helped me soooo much!

      By the way, you’re the kind of teacher that students love to have. 😉 It makes us want to do our very best when we know you give a damn. (You’d be shocked at some of the teachers I’ve had that don’t do that.) I know you’re not ethically allowed to “go there” with your students, but you can paraphrase. :0) Are you still going to do the exhibits, and all of them? Definitely keep me updated on how that’s going. Man I’d love to go! Someday we’re going to have tea together, Mrs. Y. I sure do love you too. xo

      December 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  3. Wow, sounds like college has been quite the eye-opening experience for you, that’s awesome. I’m new to your blog so pardon my asking what may be an obvious question, but what are you studying? I work at a psych hospital so some of your courses jumped out at me.

    That’s unfortunate about the family, but probably best to only surround yourself with people who are healthy to have in your life. I’m in a similar boat– only talk to my siblings and their families, no one else (except my Mom, occasionally). I’ve not been accused of needing an exorcism though my father’s mother did once tell me I was a “tool of the devil” so clearly you and I should get along just great 😉

    December 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    • Well then, hey, join the club! I tell you, I’m just so finished with people like that in my life. Pleasure to meet you, Aussa. :0) The degree I’ve been working on for the past few years is Behavioral Sciences and a CPC in Substance Abuse. (Psychology and Sociology mostly.) I’ll be going back in January for my A.S. in Social work. (I could be addicted to school.) I have to take my hat off to you for working in the PSYCH ward. I’m not sure if I could go there (willingly) 5 or 6 days per week. Oh the stories you could tell! :0)

      December 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      • Haha that sounds like an interesting career field, no doubt you will have some interesting stories of your own. I worked on the wards for a year and have now been on the exec side for almost two years… Still blogging about the ward though, and not running out of stories anytime soon.
        I can’t imagine being addicted to school– I’ve briefly considered getting a masters but then I think about how much time I wouldn’t be able to spend on the interwebs and that whole idea just crumbles away 😉

        December 1, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      • I know! But if you get your degree online (it’s much harder, believe me- I’ve done both types, online and brick and mortar college) then you can use the interwebs to do your “research”. (And check your comments in bloggie-land.) That’s usually how it goes for me…heheh. I’ve been “researching” my book report all day (here). Really though, distance education is no joke! You have to have some crazy discipline to meet all of your deadlines AND turn in good work. (I’m actually a research hound and do love to write my papers, etc.) I’m definitely going to have to pop over and read your ward posts. That’s a bucket of fun waiting to happen. :0)

        December 2, 2013 at 12:56 am

  4. Oh and I found this one blog on here I wanted to recommend to you. This girl is a journalist, loves Sylvia Plath, etc. She writes about mental illness, issues in the world, body image problems…. She checked out my blog and when I saw hers I found that we had a lot in common. Thought I would share 🙂

    December 2, 2013 at 5:26 am

    • Yeah, that’s Sami! She’s my buddy. :0) Sami’s been told by people that’s she’s a lot less than she is. I’ve been pointing out that they should really all take a flying leap and to know her worth. She’s not “sick” but unique in that she has the ability to look deep within herself. When we see what we have on the inside to the degree that she can, it can be shocking. But we all have two sides- good and bad, “flesh and spirit” (etc.) and if there’s anything I can’t stand it’s people who makes others feel sick by labeling. It’s a matter of perception, you know? Also, it’s a convenient avenue for people to separate themselves from you because they lack the capacity to love and engage themselves. They can label and judge, but cannot love. (Unless you satisfy their image of what you “should be.”) Sami’s very special to me. Great girl. :0)

      And yes, my familiy. UGH. What can you say? It was actually my brother who wanted to exorcise me which just freaks me out entirely. Never underestimate the pride of somebody who has his head perpetually stuck up his own ass. The cold, hard, facts of the matter is that my brothers were all raised to believe that women are whores- all of them. Period. This didn’t sit well with me, as you can imagine. I caught every one of them with a Vaseline jar but you’re going to tell me that I’m an- “unclean woman”? Sorry, that ain’t me- that’s on THEM. If one’s eyes are diseased then yes, every woman you see is going to be “a sinful woman”, especially when you’ve been raised by a patriarchal misogynyst. I don’t have time for all of that craziness.

      I was cracking up reading about your mom and the exorcist- oh dearie me. I tell you, people never cease to amaze me. I can be around all kinds of people who suffer various forms of mental illness, truly, I have a special place for them in my heart, especially the homeless. But I can’t handle people who are spiritually-diseased and have already excommunicated you from their hearts because you’re a “sinner”. GUH. That’s a form of mental illness that I WILL NOT TOLERATE because it’s a self-imposed one and rather than see through loving eyes, they choose to “fuel up” on blind hatred. No room for that in my life.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your semester, M&M. It’s to be expected considering what you’ve been through though- that’s your sister. I totally understand, and yeah, it’s going to be rough sailing for a while. I think you’re amazing and doing incredible given that. Take it easy on yourself, yeah? You’ll get yourself back to where you need to be in time! Big hugs. :0)

      December 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

  5. bipolarbarbieq

    They don’t make you do APA for Social Psych?!?!?!

    December 3, 2013 at 2:14 am

    • Haha…I just noticed this. Yeah, you’d think, right? Too funny. :0)

      December 4, 2013 at 5:49 am

  6. I made an agreement with myself that when it came to my art…that I would be totally free to do what I what. That has worked wonders for my well-being. So often in life, we are pulled by others’ expectations of what we should be doing which in the end … is not a recipe for happiness. I think this is why so many are threatened by people who think for themselves.

    December 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    • I must agree with you 100%, Al. I’ve been surrounded by people in my life (for many years) who will “accept” you as long as you’re dancing their little jig; but can they accept you if you are simply being you? I’m perpetually blown away by people who aren’t capable of showing love or good will toward another person unless they’re in church on Sunday morning. How is that love? Or good will? It is neither, but hypocrisy to the uttermost. I’m weeding out the heartless drones from my life. Again I say, “I’m going where the love is.” Good seeing you, as always. :0)

      December 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm


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