Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Career in Crisis

ed phoning home ouch
May 18, 2003

Career in Crisis: Career Confusion.



now would not be the best time to mention my senior thesis-- or my grad school major, or the fact that i spent the better part life as a volunteer and advocate for children at-risk.. working to give them hope and a second chance at life.

systematically invalidating such bogus, barnum-type feedback that one typically gets from a MBTI type of personality test that is given during high school or in college. i won't bother to mention the standardization of SAT scores to help our country feel better-- or the fact that the stanford-binet was created for military issue only.

who gives a shit anymore??? if you told a me a fat bearded lady at the circus could decide my fate and tell me what direction i should choose next-- i'd take it! and throw in a fat tip for being smart enough to know that any answer-- no matter how grim, is far better than just wandering aimlessly through life looking back on what might have been-- at THIRTY! AT THIRTY!!!!

after receiving five letters of rejection from jobs that require nothing more than a GED or a high school diploma, i decided to go to the tennessee career center hoping to find a job that will allow me to afford the most basic necessities of life. toothpaste, toilet paper, cat food... i got hooked up with a counselor that afternoon. he has two masters degrees-- one in educational career counseling, and a second in counseling psychology. could this be the guidance counselor i have been asking for since.. well... since... i was old enough to know was in need of guidance?

surely someone else must have recognized i was in need of guidance, but god knows my parents weren't paying attention, and having good genes just doesn't cut it these days. but now more than ever, i realize that having all the smarts in the world won't get you anywhere if you never learned how to apply them.

i am the exact same five year old who needed to win the spelling bee. in college, i was the one to set the curve, not just make it. the one to break the rules, and, break them i did, but there is no glory in being second best, second smartest, second brightest, or second anything.

i wish i could say that after all this time i developed other ego strengths and finally felt okay with who i am, you know.... "just being me," but i am sad to report that my "condition" (diagnosis) was amazingly accurate and predictable. just like all the doctors said! i wonder if they derive joy out of being right-- if they crack open a bottle of aged liquor in my fathers office and say, "see, we told you so. we told you their was nothing you could do." and so nothing they did.

and by doing nothing, and i do mean nothing-- the illness will just take will its course. and i am now, in fact, nothing. nothing costs nothing (at least to them) and daddy made another fine investment. on the other hand, nothing has drained every hope, fear, security-- every chance-- and every last breath from my body. i might have believed in me. but i know i'm alive because a tear just rolled down the side of my cheek. i am home.

but i still haven't learned. for some reason with all of my failures i am reminded of in so many ways... me, myself, as i watch them play out every time i shut my eyes or open them. yes- blink.

sometimes i ask myself, how did i get here? how did this happen? what happened to all of the plans i made for myself? where did they go? where did I go? constantly replayed over and over and over again in my mind. i must be FUCK1NG CRAZY!

but at this moment, here, even as i say the words, i am not truly insane, i am merely in pain. what a tragedy that those two words rhyme-- they ruin what could have been a very profound misnomer of the human condition and the labels we hold so dear.

i am the exact same 5 year old who needed to ACE the spelling bee, set the curve, not just make it; break the rules, and, break them i did. there is no glory in being second best. second smartest, second brightest, or second anything. being second sucks. it sucks every god-damned second of the day.

and so my search for mediocrity continues and i wait for it each and every day hoping it will find me beaten and worn from the storm. all of the storms, but dammit, its still there. i still have questions those damn elyssa questions that made all my professors so proud, damn ideas, damn thoughts, damn hope.

my mother still calls me everyday to see if i went to get food stamps to feed myself, fuck her, and her fucking things. fuck diamonds and couture and fuck that life. i was here mom, the whole fucking time. just not pretty enough with out any surgery. not pretty at all, with all those damn scars.

i hope someone out there still loves me. i do actually believe that i deserve love and kindness despite the obvious fact that i am a royal pain in the ass. i refuse to work in burger king. for right now, at least.

so goodnight my dear friends. let's all try to have sweet dreams. pepe awaits, as does alanis, and a pack of smokes that i can already taste.

yes, what could have been, what should have been-- what MIGHT have been if you let me be

m.e.


"When written in chinese, the word Crisis is composed of tvo characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." -JFK


^ed

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Check your sanity privilege: writing online can be bad for your mental health

Check your sanity privilege: writing online can be bad for your mental health

Check your sanity privilege: writing online can be bad for your mental health

One morning, several years ago, I woke up with an allergy. On my way to the office I picked up some pills from a little shop on the seafront, near my flat. Several hours later I decided to head home again. For reasons I've never really been able to explain, I stopped at the Spar and bought some more pills.

At home I sat quietly in my room for a while, turning them over, reading the packets. I wasn't upset, I wasn't in the grip of some existential crisis, and although I'd suffered from depression for several years I didn't feel in the grip of an episode. I felt no particular urges or impulses. In fact I felt nothing very much at all. To anyone watching I'd have seemed no different to normal; but some fundamental part of my brain, some vital restraint, had been switched off. The brakes had been cut.

I took the recommended dose. And then I took one more. I remember expecting to feel something, but I didn't, so I took another. Still nothing, so I took another couple. Still nothing. Again. Nothing. I kept going. It wasn't dramatic or emotional; it was as if I were outside of myself, an observer performing a science experiment on my own mind and body. How far could I push the Martin before I triggered some sort of response?

When it finally came, the response was sudden and brutal, like a hard reset of the soul. Realising what I'd done I tried to make myself vomit, but I couldn't. Buckets of cold sweat poured off me, my heart racing, every inch of my body alight. Even then my instinct was to contain the problem: I didn't want to go to hospital and deal with awkward questions, so instead I turned to Google and researched the problem, trying to establish how much danger I was in, and whether my current symptoms were from the overdose or a subsequent panic attack.

With the help of a friend I got through the night, and in the months and years that followed I got better. I never fully "cured" my depression, but I learned how to manage it and how to limit the impact it had on my friends. It would be easy to make up some bollocks about why I did what I did - comforting in fact, since I'd know how to stop it from happening again - but the frightening truth is I've absolutely no idea.

Five years ago I started writing; and if ever there were an activity designed to comprehensively fuck with your mental health, it's writing on the internet. Gradually I've gained more success, writing for my own blog, then the Guardian, then New Statesman. There's a lot of talk about writers with "platforms" having privilege, and that's true to an extent, but few people talk about the downside – having a platform is also a major challenge to my sanity.

Being able to talk to 20,000 people at once sounds brilliant until you realise they can all talk back to you. Of course, only a tiny fraction of readers do, and those are typically either the loud or the inane, in no way representative of your 'audience'. The praise and insults are routine and meaningless noise, while conversations become increasingly fraught. A reasonable point stated by one person can feel almost abusive when repeated ad infinitum by a circle of 100 people standing around you and pointing.  Then of course there are the very real cases of abuse and threatening behavior, something that all writers just seem to be expected to accept as "the price", as if simply having a platform makes you a legitimate target for abuse – fair game.

In the face of this bizarre feedback, a lot of writers and tweeters seem to end up with a profoundly distorted world-view, measuring their self-worth by hit counts and Facebook likes and meaningless prizes. It's an incredibly easy trap to fall into; it took years for me to stop caring how many hits a post got, and since then I've been a lot happier as a writer. Meanwhile, I've watched people become obsessed with who has more Twitter followers, and become profoundly ugly as a result. 

When combined with mental health issues, this can become something altogether darker and more sinister. I've lost count of the number of debates on Twitter in which I've seen vulnerable people, egged on by their peers into aggressive online confrontations. At it's most extreme, whole communities of people online seem to be wrapped up in their own fantasy words, the heroes of their own mass delusion. A couple of years ago I visited a forum for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but within hours, members were conducting a thorough investigation into my entire life – a bizarre group paranoia had taken hold, feeding on itself, rejecting any interference from the outside world.

When you become the target of this kind of behaviour it can be incredibly disconcerting. Since late 2010 I've been cyber-stalked by a series of people – or possibly the same person – who have become obsessed with me, creating endless parody accounts and meticulously Storifying hundreds of my online conversations. On the one hand, this is not brilliant for my sanity: I do talks around the country, and each time I wonder I'll be confronted by an obsessive with a knife in his hand – in fact one stalker turned up to a panel I spoke at in 2011, lurking anonymously in the audience. On the other hand, it's impossible to escape the fact that these people are seriously damaged themselves. As irritating as it can be, their obsession hurts them far for than it does me, and I can't help but feel a little sad about that.

That said, nothing is more irritating than the idea that because I've suffered from depression, because I've taken an overdose, I'm somehow unable to cope with the real world. I may be mildly fucked in the head, but I'm not remotely fragile. I'm quite happy to be a dick to people who deserve it, and if you don't like me being a dick then, well, it's probably because you're not as good at it as I am.

Mental health is a complicated thing, problems arise for complicated reasons, and the idea that it's simply a question of being unable to cope with bad things is deeply unhelpful. One of the most irritating manifestations of this sort of unwanted concern is the idea of "triggers", a concept that seems to have little or no basis in solid research, but has been adopted across sections of the internet in an incredibly tedious and patronising way. I didn't really give a crap about Hyundai's exhaust fume ad, and like Unity  I suspect the reaction to it may have been overblown.

But then the reaction to most things on the internet is overblown. As bad as my mental health has been, I've always looked sane compared to Twitter.  I'm not sure what that means for our mental health in the long term, but it's going to be interesting to find out. In the meantime, be a dick or don't be a dick, but remember that not all forms of privilege are immediately obvious.

If any of the content of this story affects you, the Samaritans are available to talk 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Martin Robbins is a Berkshire-based researcher and science writer. He writes about science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics. Follow him on Twitter as @mjrobbins.



^ed 
Sent via iPhone

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What is a DNS Blacklist? Mail Server?

What is a Mail Server?

Trust me. 

What is a Mail Server?

With the click of a mouse button, you can send an email from one point of the globe to another in a matter of seconds. Most of us take this process for granted, giving little thought to how it actually works. It's easy to understand how standard snail-mail gets from point A to point B - but how does an email message make its way from a sender to a recipient? The answer to that question revolves around something called a mail server. You can learn more about the role that mail serves play in email delivery by reading on below.

What is a Mail Server?

A mail server is the computerized equivalent of your friendly neighborhood mailman. Every email that is sent passes through a series of mail servers along its way to its intended recipient. Although it may seem like a message is sent instantly - zipping from one PC to another in the blink of an eye - the reality is that a complex series of transfers takes place. Without this series of mail servers, you would only be able to send emails to people whose email address domains matched your own - i.e., you could only send messages from one example.com account to another example.com account.

Types of Mail Servers

Mail servers can be broken down into two main categories: outgoing mail servers and incoming mail servers. Outgoing mail servers are known as SMTP, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, servers. Incoming mail servers come in two main varieties. POP3, or Post Office Protocol, version 3, servers are best known for storing sent and received messages on PCs' local hard drives. IMAP, or Internet Message Access Protocol, servers always store copies of messages on servers. Most POP3 servers can store messages on servers, too, which is a lot more convenient.

The Process of Sending an Email

Now that you know the basics about incoming and outgoing mail servers, it will be easier to understand the role that they play in the emailing process. The basic steps of this process are outlined below for your convenience.

Step #1: After composing a message and hitting send, your email client - whether it's Outlook Express or Gmail - connects to your domain's SMTP server. This server can be named many things; a standard example would be smtp.example.com.

Step #2: Your email client communicates with the SMTP server, giving it your email address, the recipient's email address, the message body and any attachments.

Step #3: The SMTP server processes the recipient's email address - especially its domain. If the domain name is the same as the sender's, the message is routed directly over to the domain's POP3 or IMAP server - no routing between servers is needed. If the domain is different, though, the SMTP server will have to communicate with the other domain's server.

Step #4: In order to find the recipient's server, the sender's SMTP server has to communicate with the DNS, or Domain Name Server. The DNS takes the recipient's email domain name and translates it into an IP address. The sender's SMTP server cannot route an email properly with a domain name alone; an IP address is a unique number that is assigned to every computer that is connected to the Internet. By knowing this information, an outgoing mail server can perform its work more efficiently.

Step #5: Now that the SMTP server has the recipient's IP address, it can connect to its SMTP server. This isn't usually done directly, though; instead, the message is routed along a series of unrelated SMTP servers until it arrives at its destination.

Step #6: The recipient's SMTP server scans the incoming message. If it recognizes the domain and the user name, it forwards the message along to the domain's POP3 or IMAP server. From there, it is placed in a sendmail queue until the recipient's email client allows it to be downloaded. At that point, the message can be read by the recipient.

How Email Clients are Handled

Many people use web-based email clients, like Yahoo Mail and Gmail. Those who require a lot more space - especially businesses - often have to invest in their own servers. That means that they also have to have a way of receiving and transmitting emails, which means that they need to set up their own mail servers. To that end, programs like Postfix and Microsoft Exchange are two of the most popular options. Such programs facilitate the preceding process behind the scenes. Those who send and receive messages across those mail servers, of course, generally only see the "send" and "receive" parts of the process.

At the end of the day, a mail server is a computer that helps move files along to their intended destinations. In this case, of course, those files are email messages. As easy as they are to take for granted, it's smart to have a basic grasp of how mail servers work.

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What is a DNSBL?

Domain Name System Blacklists, also known as DNSBL's or DNS Blacklists, are spam blocking lists that allow a website administrator to block messages from specific systems that have a history of sending spam. As their name implies, the lists are based on the Internet's Domain Name System, which converts complicated, numerical IP address such as 140.239.191.10 into domain names like example.net, making the lists much easier to read, use, and search. If the maintainer of a DNS Blacklist has in the past received spam of any kind from a specific domain name, that server would be "blacklisted" and all messages sent from it would be either flagged or rejected from all sites that use that specific list.

DNS Blacklists have a rather long history in web terms, with the first one being created in 1997. Called the RBL, its purpose was to block spam email and to educate Internet service providers and other websites about spam and its related problems. Although modern DNS Blacklists are rarely used as educational tools, their function as an email blocker and filter still serves as their primary purpose to this day. In fact, almost all of today's email servers support at least one DNSBL in order to reduce the amount of junk mail clients using their service receive. The three basic components that make up a DNS Blacklist - a domain name to host it under, a server to host that domain, and a list of addresses to publish to the list - also haven't changed from the time when the RBL was first created to today.

Since then, dozens of different DNSBL's have sprung up and are available for use, and they all have their own lists that are populated based on what does or doesn't meet their own standards and criteria for what a spammer is. Because of this, DNS Blacklists can vary greatly from one to the other. Some are stricter than others, some only list sites for a set amount of time from the date the last piece of spam was received by the maintainer versus others that are manually maintained, and still others not only block IP addresses, but also entire ISP's known to harbor spammers. This results in some lists working better than others because they are maintained by services with a greater level of trustworthiness and credibility than competing lists might have. Users can also use these differences to decide on which DNS Blacklist works best for them depending on what their specific security needs are. Less lenient lists might allow more spam to get through, but might not block non-spam messages that have been misidentified on lists that have stricter guidelines for what goes on or what is left off of it. To help facilitate this, DNS Blacklists that are intended for use by the public will usually have a specific, published policy detailing what a listing means and must adhere to the criteria laid out in it in order to not only attain public confidence in their services, but to sustain it as well.

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image1.JPG


How to Remove an IP Address from a Blacklist

(Go to our Blacklist Check page to find out if your IP address is listed on an anti-spam database. This article explains why that happens and how to get off a blacklist.)

Each blacklist database has its own criteria for flagging IP addresses and compiling its own list of online offenders. Those criteria could include a variety of "listings": technical, policy, and evidence-based.

  • Technical listings occur mostly from mail-server configuration issues, such as missing or incorrect reverse DNS records, missing or incorrect banner greetings, and mail servers operating within a suspicious range of IP addresses.
  • Policy listings are based on an operator that does not wish to receive email from certain countries, or ISPs, that have a history of not honoring "unsubscribe" requests.
  • Evidence-based listings are those where the operator has received direct (or indirect) evidence that an IP address has been involved in sending unsolicited emails.

If your IP address has been blacklisted and you want to investigate, you'll need to visit the blacklist's website and do a lookup on your IP address. Most blacklist databases will provide general listing reasons, but don't list specific email addresses tied to blacklisted IP addresses.

Getting "unblacklisted."

If you're able to find out why you were blacklisted, you can try to get it reversed. (You may want to work with someone who is technically savvy to better help you.)

To start with, take time to ensure your network and mail server are configured correctly and all the details are in order for resolving the issues, as prescribed by the blacklist. For example, they may ask you to correct both forward and reverse DNS records, as well as SMTP banners. In addition, you can do the following:

  • Scan all computers on your network for viruses
  • See if there are any known and needed "patches" (updates and fixes) for your operating system
  • Configure routers more securely
  • Establish and enforce stronger passwords

Following the blacklist-removal process.

You want to be removed from any blacklists because databases often share IP addresses that have been listed. If you think you've fixed things on your end, go back to the blacklist's site and follow their instructions for the IP address removal process. Here's what you're likely to come across:

  • Self-Service Removal. There are a few blacklists with a self-service removal feature that lets you take your IP address off the list without much trouble. However, you'll want to make sure you've resolved any issues before doing this. If you don't and your IP address gets listed again, it won't be easy to get it removed that next time.
  • Time-Based Removal. Most blacklists have a built-in, automatic process that removes lower-level listings (IP addresses that are light offenders) within a week or two. But if the IP address had sent spam more than once or did a high volume, the time period will be longer.

Be nice...and see what happens.

When you're trying to get off a blacklist, you'll get farther along if you follow the rules and cooperate. If you are truly innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing (or if you made an honest mistake), let them know. The more open and direct you are with a listing database, the simpler it may be to have your IP address taken off the blacklist.

Keep this in mind:

  1. Their priority is to reduce the spam on their email platform for their customers—their goal isn't to prevent you from sending emails.
  2. Spam is a serious problem. They don't blacklist lightly. It's their way of trying to identify and prevent real problems.
  3. Blacklists are legal because they are designed to prevent fraud or other activity that disrupts normal business. We all need to accept that fact.
  4. If you made a mistake and were blacklisted, don't make the same mistake again. You likely won't be forgiven a second time.

You might be able to resolve any blacklist issues online. If not, and the blacklisting is troublesome for you, consider contacting the list by phone and try to resolve the issue that way.

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^ed 
Sent via iPhone

^ed 
Sent via iPhone

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Day in the Life

Let's face it... my job pretty much sucks: 

The very nature of being a crisis counselor, therapist, casemanager or any other kind of mental health professional requires that I respond with professionalism to kids who have 
been abused and basically fucked over for years; first by their families, and then by a system that fails to protect them. 

I get calls in the middle of the night from children, adolescents, and even my friends who are in vaiying stages of crises— some are suicidal psychotic, angry, and pretty much just all kinds of fucked up. 

But today, TODAY!!!! 

Today, a child rolled up her sleeves to show me that her set finflicted wounds (cutting) were beginning to heal. She threw out her last razor blade from her hidden collection the night 
before. 

Today, I won a small battle. 

Today, I saw a life change and the healing begin, Not just for her, but for aii of us. Today, I won a small battle. 

As one of my former clients told me, what I do is important— 
because even though I may not change hundreds or thousands of lives every day of my fife, I make a difference one life at a time. 

At the time, I couldn't: stop the tears from my eyes now I can't stop the warm feeling that has taken hold of my body and me same instead of the tears.
 
I am so very proud of you. 



Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

UNWRITTEN: A Letter to Ned Vizzini

UNWRITTEN: Last Writes: A Letter to Ned Vizzini

Unwritten:: A letter to Ned Vizzini




From: “Ned Vizzini” 
Hey, sounds like me!  I’m headed towards ruin quick.  Hope all is well

-------------- Original message ---------

From: “Ned Vizzini”

I’m not good, Elyssa. Very depressed.  I was such a different person when I knew you.  But maybe I will be different soon. 

-------------------------




From "Elyssa D:

god ned-- I wish we could talk—based upon what I’ve read (what you’ve posted on line and through your interviews) it seems as though you are going through all the emotions and emotional chaos that I was experiencing the first year we met back in new York.

Another friend of mine just checked himself into a psych ward after a suicide attempt and I feel so helpless because I care and respect you both so much.

it is funny because I always thought that if I could just finish that damn book I was working on ten years ago—or just finished law school, my PhD. or any number of things—everything would be okay.

It confuses me because you finished your book—rob finished law school- I finished nothing.

A few weeks ago, I “lost my shit” so to speak, came across your interview, and was completely blown away—I used to be the crazy one—now I have my sanity back but nothing else.

having been through several crises myself, I came to believe that when you see someone in crisis, they become so overwhelmed and confused that they do not know what to do first—and how to dig out of the hole they have dug for themselves.  I decided that rather than asking, I just try to figure it out and give it to them, no questions asked, no thank you necessary.

How many people have told you, “Call if you there is anything I can do” and when you do call—nothing!  Nothing but disappointment and regret.  So I have decide never to ask somebody what they need—

Mostly because they don’t even know themselves— hen I came to the realization a few weeks ago that my transient existence is so tangential that no one would notice if I never took another breath—I tried to figure out what I needed so that I could give it to myself.
So I started going back through my old journals to see if I could identify the missing element of my life—you know that “thing” that would both make it all go away and make all come together so I could be a whole person again.
That thing is a figment of my imagination.  I used to think it was being loved by a man—I had that.  Wasn’t it.
Then I thought it was having money.  I had that.  But that wasn’t it either.
Then I thought it was health insurance—but no, that was not it either.
Then I thought it would be having that oh-so-critical Ivy League degree.  I have that.  That still wasn't it. 
So obviously, none of those things could have been “it.”
The thing I need most, I lost long ago, and that was hope. Perhaps I never really had it at all.

So I guess some things just can’t be bought, learned, earned, or acquired. 
I think of the long twisted road, and I remember one of my favorite childhood movies, where a girl named Dorothy was so determined to find her way home after a great storm.  Disillusioned and distracted, Dorothy would not yield to the many obstacles that had been placed in her way.  Determined to meet the great Wizard, she stayed one path. 
Yes, there were detours, obstacles, and the Wicked Witch of the West.  Each of these obstacles may have taken her of course, yet she never once lost sight of the road home.   She believed in one thing, the Wizard, and his ability to bring her home.  

Having great faith and determination, she never strayed far off the path to righteousness.  Dorothy had a clearly defined goal, a means to get there, and a bright yellow brick road to guide her.  Through her determination and unyielding faith, Dorothy never once doubted that she was on the right path. 
In the Wizard of Oz, the yellow brick road may have been the path she was taking, but through her determination and blind faith, she was able to bring others onto the road t enlightenment.
The lion found his courage; the tin man got a heart.  The scarecrow got some brains—and even Dorothy got what she needed most. 
Dorothy began her journey looking for one thing.  She needed to get back to place she began, and find her way home. Dorothy teaches us a valuable lesson, but she was lucky enough to know what it was she so desperately longed for... home.
If all I had to do was click my heals three times and find my way home, well, sadly I would not even know where home is.  Yes, they say home is where the heart is, and perhaps that is part of the problem.  But for some of us, out childhood homes were not places of happiness and nostalgia.  They are places from which we run, searching endlessly for that magical place and can only hope that we have come across a road that is clearly marked to guide us in our destination. 
Of course, we know there will be that take us off course, and it will up to us to find our way back.  Unfortunately, there is a certain point when we lose our direction and we lose our faith.  As I grew older, I came to realize recognize that my feeling of detachment went far beyond having a dysfunctional childhood a broken family life that even my sister and I never lived in the same house for more than a year or so in the summertime.

So no matter how long I have been in Nashville, in many ways I am, in fact still a stranger.  I am a stranger because homeless is a state of mind. 
In my mind, I like to think a home is a place of acceptance, shelter, and a place you can find forgiveness, comfort and recognition.  For most, going home means to reconnect in a way so that you are reminded that you have something, someone, who will always have your back. 
Homer represents more than a structure; it represents a strong foundation that will always be there whenever you need to feel safety and comfort.  For me safety is marked by the boundaries that are supposed to keep me safe and protected. 
So this is my home.  I don’t necessarily feel safe here, but I do feel consistent.  I do not have to worry that I will be forced to switch schools, neighbors or friends every six months just because my parents could not get it right.  What they failed to realize is just how very wrong it really was.  Changing schools, changing friends, changing siblings; changing myself just enough each time so that I could fit in. But after 16 years of constant change, I never got the opportunity to find out anything real about myself.  Even my name was changed when I moved--- dad called me Liz, and my mother called herself any number of last names as she desperately tried to hold on to her youth, her beauty, and delusional fantasies of entitlement and sacrifice that I think she may actually believe. 

I have never had plastic surgery, could not afford it anyway, but what do have is a clear memory, vivid nightmares, and a place of my own.  What I also realize, is that until I can live free from fear and dependence, I will never truly be able to know what it feels like to be at home.  If home is where the heart is, then homelessness is clearly just a state of mind.  And today I have some hope that I might someday no longer feel just as homeless at home.  So now I know more than ever, that homelessness is a far more than a concrete structure or family property. 
I will always feel a little homeless at home.  It is knowing that you are the thing that remains constant—regardless of any dreams I may have, I will never have the constant I would need to get bring a child into this world--- as much I  would like to. 

I envy those who feel they have so much in their lives that they can trust without any reservation that the world is a loving enough place they want to share with a child. Especially a child of their own.  No, my mother told me long, long time ago, that I can never have children.  

She also told me last year, that I could not have a dog.  My own mother does not think I am capable of raising a puppy.  Maybe she’s right.  She did put her fears into action when she once donated my cat of 14 years to the animal shelter under someone else name so that I truly was left without any ties to the condo I stayed in for a few short months while I tried to come up with a plan to take him and myself far from a place where we could be safe and live free. 

I adopted him back from the animal shelter 40 miles out after learning that she had used someone else’s name at the agency so I could not find him on my own.

I will not look elsewhere to find the essentials things healthy children receive that in turn makes them healthy adults. 
I will never be “healthy” but I do think I wish I could give more than what I have received.  I regret never being the kind of “community member" I think I could have been, and I doubt I will get over the sheer humiliation of having to love this way for so many years when I should have been doing so much more.
in having truly been able to do the great things for society that I believe I could, but I can’t regret not giving no longer need constant reassurance, recognition, or validation, but I will always question whether things could have been different if only one person had taken the time to show me I was worth it.  That I deserved more than what I could actually afford and realize that I do give so much in so many other ways.  

The ways that people cannot calculate or see just how badly the ones who received them needed those gifts.  It was the little things.  It was Kody, it was Desiree, but above all else, it was me setting goals, the feelings of that my feeling I would never and was no longer subject to bi-annual custody disputes and shifts  and us to realize that homelessness is merely a state of mind. 

Where would I go?  10 years “down the road” and now, more than ever, I realize I am truly and deeply, “homeless at home.”  
You see it is not so much that I doubt myself, I just don’t trust that people will not do horrible things even if that means doing nothing at all. 
I do have much love to give.  Actually too much.  So much that it often pours out of me in inappropriate sentimentality.  I know when I need to keep to myself, and I know when my anxieties starts to make others a little anxious.  I know because as I see you react to me be anxious, it only makes me that much worse. It is one of my worst, but at times sometimes, that sensitivity is also at times a wonderful attribute and god given gift.

But should that prevent me from getting out into the world just because other people think I should be don’t like me … that’s not my job.
I have spent more than half of my life in self-imposed isolation, and the other half wondering how I can be less annoying and high strung so others would want me around.  The sad truth is, yes, I am annoying, but also, I am perceptive and very aware.  

Sometimes I do it purpose. 
I should not have to live in isolation because I have nervous tics or sometimes say the wrong thing.  But regardless of what people seem to think about welfare recipients being lazy bums guess what—FUCK you right back.   I have chosen to keep to myself just in case I really am so horrible to be around and my parents were right. Even my own mother thinks I would be better off dead.
and the rest is still unwritten... 

Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M. © 2008-2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

HMO AMERICA

HMO AMERICA

Hello, and welcome to HMO America where your health maintenance is our number one concern.

Your call is important to us, so please do not hang up.

If you think you have a life or limb-threatening emergency, and need to go to the hospital before the end of this message, do so now.

Remember, however, that ifHMO America determines in hindsight that you did not have a life or limb-threatening emergency, you will be responsible for all of the hospital and physician charges which could mn into several thousand dollars.

Please select from one of the following options:

☎ If you are having head pain, press one now.

☎ If you are having chest pain, press two now.

☎ If you are having abdominal pain, press three now.

☎ If you do not know where the pain is located, press five now.

Incidentally, if you are still using a rotary phone, you are going to die!

Thank you for calling HMO America, where we manage your healthcare so your physicians don't have to!




edd, edm