Monday, August 29, 2016

The Night of...and Feeling Uncomfortable

He is such a BABE.  Big, BIG career after this.  Amazing performance.

I've recently just diagnosed myself with GSAD.  Otherwise known as Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder.

I'm not sure if this is specific to myself, but I would be willing to bet, that it's not just me.  Again, you are WELCOME.

I am going to divulge something that you all feel at one time or another, but you can secretly read this and relate in the privacy of your own bathroom.

Anyway, with GSAD, there are definitely TRIGGERS.  Situations, people, some say outfits...whatever, PRIOR EXPERIENCES shape your consciousness and then BOOM, something is THRUST upon you and you just DEAL the best way you know how.  MYYYYY coping mechanism is inappropriate ANYTHING.  You name it, from  giggling to falling asleep... there are a plethora of reactions that I am not proud of when coping with GSAD.

Look, I am FINE, when I am with my people, but when I am subjected to being in a crowd of people I don't know very well, and don't know me-I have a hard time.

I tell my girls all the time that the most attractive thing about someone is confidence.  If you can achieve that, then you are golden.  But then again, if you have an insecurity, come sit by me, because I will instantly make you feel better.

How do you instill that?  Better yet, how do you achieve that?  Is anyone familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy?  If you studied Psychology, you do.  You see, basically he invented a PYRAMID in which you try and "climb the ladder" to self-actualization in order to be the best version of yourself.  The problem with all of this is that it is a universal model and we are all so different, aren't we?  Or are we?

When you live in a suburb, it feels like EVARYONE has the same set of circumstances, No?  But, we don't.  We couldn't possibly.

I still want EXPERIENCES, don't you?  Or do you?

HBO has a new series that makes me uncomfortable.  It is called "The Night Of".  I have actually read articles about it, it is so powerful.  It is a social commentary, at the very least, and at it's best, it is a work of art.

I know what you are thinking.  Seriously?  I have Netflix to get back to.  But, this is different.  And disappointing.  And UNCOMFORTABLE.

Now, look, I feel like a get a free pass, here, because I was a social worker in Denver for a year.  This was the TRENCHES, yo. My clients were literally the people that hold signs up on the exits of inner city belts.  I know this because they TOLD me that if they stood on the corners of inner belt exits to neighborhoods they could make the most money - more than I made, they would laugh.  They were mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, and grandparents, and children. None of which, and consequently, ALL of which, has influenced the way at which I view EVERYTHING and NOTHING.

I was there when the penal and justice system were at it's BEST, and also when it was at it's WORST.

It's just a great experience to have, though, because it gives you perspective.  Being a server at four Mexican restaurants impacted me about the same, I'll be honest, but I digress.

I quit when a sixteen-year-old heroin addict inadvertently killed herself.  That was the end.  I could take no more.  The telephone call with her father following the funeral was too much for me to bear.

I didn't go to the funeral.  I found out after the fact.  She had gone off of my radar and my caseload was immense.

They had struggled with her for years.  She was what they call a "Dual Diagnosis" which means that she self-medicated because she struggled with mental illness.

When I met her at intake, she was in the Psych Ward at a local hospital because she had tried to commit suicide with a pair of dull scissors.

She didn't stand a chance.

But what if this was YOUR child? Hallie is about to turn 15 next month.

Her father was remarried and a surgeon.  They had had subsequent children.  She was unsafe, volatile.

It seems a world away now.  But, I bet it isn't for him.

She made him and his family UNCOMFORTABLE.  And so was I.  You never knew what she was going to do.

Given this social psychology experiment in my mid-twenties,  it gave me great empathy with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Almost ALL of my clients were on the take, but then there would be that ONE or TWO that made your job worth it. I am not judging the ones on the take.  It was learned.  And they were SURVIVING.

While I was a social worker, my boss's teenage daughter was in a car accident with some friends in the mountains when she thought her daughter was staying at a friend's house.  In her defense, not that she needs one, she had just been fired because apparently she was "inappropriate  at the office."  (We were social workers.  No less than 10 inappropriate things happened or were said on my watch.)  She was also a recovering addict - 15 years sober - and was probably "looking the other way" during her termination when her daughter asked to stay the night at a friend's house.

I'll never forget HER former boss expressing concern about her sobriety during calling hours.  She'd just "been through so much" the asshole lamented.  She looks "medicated".  This coming from a woman with zero children and zero addiction experience, with the exception of text books and seminars.

When I think back upon it all, it makes me sick.  But it also makes me STRONG.

Because that is what adverse experiences do to you.  They make you stronger.

That is, if you choose to internalize them.  And if you don't, then I can't relate.

So, if you have the chance to watch "The Night Of" on HBO.  Do it.  It will make you uncomfortable.  And not in the way that Parent Night does at the middle school, where I can't figure out if I should do a clasping wave or a prom queen wave in the hall to the other parents, but in a way that life can turn on a dime, and people change, and adapt, no matter what their upbringing or specific set of life skills.

It is a WhoDunIt with a message, so don't miss it.  You just never know when life will take a turn and the repercussions reverberate outward, and then each person with their own special set of circumstances are then affected, and it is up to them how they will cope.

This set of coping mechanisms defines us, and thus, creates a trajectory upon which we internalize and then project our feelings about a specific situation.

To dumb it down, and it is what I am always telling my children when they approach me with some bullshit (again, THREE GURLS, here), I ask them to consider the source and where the person is coming from.

We are all very complicated beings.  With all of the hoopla and the posturing that goes on society today, it is difficult to discern what is real.

"The Night Of" is not only an exploration of the judicial system, but an exploration of Mankind, and how we are so quick to label people based on the situation they are in.  There is a big bad World out there that is absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. I would rather explore it and examine it for all of it's horrors and ecstasy.

Looking back, I wish I had been a better social worker, better equipped to deal with what was thrown my way, but at the same time, I am so grateful for the experience.  Not a "through the looking glass" type of experience, but a REAL one, where I got to have a real understanding of people and what makes them tick.

No matter how different we all are, we are the sum of our experiences.  You may embrace them or reject them.  That is your choice.  It basically is about what you are willing to let in, and what you need to protect yourself from.  Everyone's thresholds are different. And that doesn't make anyone better or worse for the battle.

I try not to throw stones when I live in a glass house, and I prefer that you do the same.  That is, if you are being honest with yourself.

Insert MIC DROP here.

Coincidentally, posthumous, Gandolfini produced the series.  I hope
Turturro isn't up against Nas for a Globe, because Nas will lose.

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