"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day



I was reading the blog of a blog friend today, and he talks about being empty. No reserves of wit or wisdom. No ideas. Unable to make any movements. I read this and thought to myself, "Is this my problem?" But then no. I feel like my problem is the opposite. I am full. Fullness is sometimes good. A full heart. A full stomach. But not really this kind. This is more the kind of fullness that you get from...I don't know...a key lime pie eating competition. You like...no, love key lime pie. So you eat some, and then eat some more, and it's a contest, so you quickly eat some more. You're kind of gasping for breath now, but you've gotta keep going. It's for a trophy, and you love trophies almost as much as key lime pie. And it's over...you've won. But now you really don't want anymore key lime pie...ever, ever again. The analogy loses something along the way, but you get the idea. Fullness that starts with something you love, and ends up making you very, very ill...and maybe a little bit sad that you couldn't just say no.

I do the work I do because I love it. I started out in one area and loved that, but then saw a need in another area. So I started working there, but maintained ties to the first group of people I worked with. But then the job I had became something other than what it should've been, and I needed an outlet (or another job) to make me feel like I don't need to just scrap it all and start over. I got that job, and I loved that job, and that job was awesome. I felt like I was doing something great for people. And it gave me the experience I needed to be able to move on from my awful job. So I'm working, and working, and working. Directing a worthwhile program, providing support to a community that is very important to me, helping people move in off the street. And I love it. I feel like I am doing, or at least attempting to do, everything I possibly can. But then I go on like that for about 9 months. My brain fills up piece by piece. If you were to draw a picture of my brain right now and label all of the nouns (ie. people, places and things) that are occupying space in my head, I do believe that there would be not one vacant space at this point in time.

So last week, I was laid off from my second job. We had a reorganization about two months ago, and in doing that they did away with all of the part-time spots...one of which was mine. But they had no one to work my shifts, so I and my co-workers were kept on until we were no longer needed. Kind of like Survivor. Last Tuesday, I got a call saying that they had found someone to fill my spot and I would have two more weeks. You're thinking "Hooray! You get to sleep and maybe see your friends and meet new people." And that is what I had hoped to think. But the Friday before all of this, I made a significant break through with a client who has refused to work with anyone. We were on our way!!! And now, I'm going away. And suddenly the space this man had taken up in my head expands, and occupies what was taken up by an assortment of everyday things. And now I'm feeling a bit paralyzed. So I go to my more logic inner voices for help. But sadly the logical voices don't really reside in my head, but in Queens, and Hoboken, and Boerum Hill, and San Francisco. I call them and e-mail them to distract me, and to advise me, and to help me realize that it's not all on me. They offer a listening ear, a bit of advice, an amazing lot of help. I hope to maybe be bit less full soon. Hopefully, not empty. But existing in a place where there is room for newness, but also for the old to expand.


Things Worth Reading.

Randomness to read...

(1) A fantastic list.

(2) An article.

(3) And an editorial.


Between the Lines.

In Social Work school, we talk alot about boundaries. It's a very difficult thing to figure out. Social work (for me anyway) is like 1 part psychology, 1 part systems knowledge, 4 parts activism, and like 57 parts empathic heart. And each work setting comes with a different set of standards, and thus a different set of rules. I'm very strident about my boundaries, because I feel that it is the only way to do the work that I do. But every now and then, there is someone who steps through.

I've decided that work boundaries are kind of like a dotted line. Chunks of solid space with gaps in between (kind of like a border fence, or the ozone layer). It goes along for quite some time, impervious and stoic. But then all of a sudden there is a huge unfortified space. For me this comes in the form of very young people newly diagnosed with HIV; in patients who remind me of people I love; in people who I feel have been left behind too many times; in people who are essentially being told that in the eyes of people who matter, they do not exist. I find myself worrying all the time about where they might be, or how it is that we are going to overcome these obstacles, or how it is that I am going to keep them from slipping away again. I battle in my head with how far I am willing to go before I put up a wall and say "I'm sorry. This is as far as my vocation allows me to go. Bless you on your journey." And then I battle in my head to not feel guilty for stopping short. These are the times when I am thankful that I have a roommate. Otherwise, I might have bunkbeds full of homeless people sleeping in my living room. And Marcus just would not like that.


So it's that time again. It's AIDS Walk time. And again this year, I'm walking with my amazing friends at Christ's Church for Brooklyn.

When I set out to be a social worker, it was because I wanted to work with people living with AIDS. It took me a long time to pin down the reason why I was moved to do this. But now, some 7 years later (if you count the pre-New York volunteering days), it's clear to me that it is the scale and scope of this thing. AIDS never should've happened. If the first people affected by AIDS had been upper or middle class, heterosexual, white Americans, it never would've been allowed to get so far before a movement was made to stop it. If ground zero hadn't been a place already so abused by colonialism and greed. If in the United States, it had decimated populations other than those already marginalized and voiceless.

So now what? Now, it is time to move. Now, it is time for justice, and for everyone to be taken care of as they should've been long ago. It is time for us to stand up. To speak out. And on May 18th, to come together and walk. Please join us.