the alternate title of this post was a very lengthy list:

why i won't be joining the student walk out
why i did not stop by the Occupy Portland camps
why i used direct praise in session on Monday
why i don't own an I Phone

all things that would be expected of me right now.

i won't be joining the student walk out that's set to happen in 50 minutes.  i will still be at this cafe, eating my lunch.  instead of joining the subsequent march through the park blocks downtown, i will be headed to class and will be turning in my paper. i might be the only one.  i might not.  my professor will probably be there and she might be disappointed that i am there.  i will not be joining the walk out because i don't understand the goal.  as far as i can see,the purpose of the march is to voice extreme frustration for the out of control tuition hikes and the fact that you cannot get a good paying job without a college degree (some would argue at least a Master's), but it's getting harder and harder (almost impossible) to pay for said degree.  i agree with all of these points.  it's the part where somebody connects a walk out and march to effectively sending a message to our lawmakers that i myself am not connecting with.  this walk out and march are passionate and involved and i fully, 10,000% support the students' right to do this.  i certainly connect with their fury over the cost of a decent education.  but we, who are adults and in graduate school, and are counselors and attorneys (those came first to mind b/c that is the position that Shoes and I are in) and holding a fair amount of social capital, WE are the ones who should be changing the laws.  WE should be breaking down the doors of our congressmen, demanding change, withholding our votes. WE are at about the age where WE ourselves should be running for city, county and state positions.  maybe that makes me a bad social advocate.  or maybe i just choose to advocate differently.  (this, of course, would be countered by those who state we have to re-claim power, shake up the system and not do things the way we have always been doing them.  i respect that.)

i did not stop by the Occupy Portland camp.  i did not attend, as a support/spectator, the deadline of 12:01 Sunday morning for the Occupiers to leave camp.  i fully respect their passion and their willingness to camp for 5 weeks in the damp, Portland rain.  my heart aches for the homeless and mentally ill that settled in so naturally, finally having a community and a (relatively) safe place to stay.  but, again, i'm having problems connecting how a large group of people camping downtown is something Wall Street cares about.  and i am so very open to hearing more about the connection, if anybody can shed some light on it.

i used direct praise in session on Monday.  after externalizing the problem, eliciting strengths and feedback, and looking into the eyes of a still very bewildered, very exhausted parent, I said, "You're trying as hard as you can and doing the best that you can.  Good job."  i don't have the right to tell parents if they're doing a good job or not.  only they can decide that for themselves.  but in a moment where i saw total and utter confusion, i stood in the gap and told a parent (metaphorically), "now is the time to trust yourself."  conventional / theoretical wisdom gave way to being in the moment with a human being.

i do not own an I Phone.  in a time where every professional i know has one, i do not. i think i would very much like to, but i do not because i cannot afford one and am unwilling to pay for something outside of my financial means.  the phone i do have is sad, but because i can afford it, i choose to love it.  it's the underdog.  the little engine that could.  i have dropped it several times (including once in the toilet) and it still keeps on keeping on.  it's loyal.

all this to say, there are things that are expected of us.
as a woman with christian beliefs, i am expected to hold conservative political beliefs and traditional family values.  i don't.
as a gssw student at a liberal university, it is expected that i jump on board with this walk out.  i'm not jumping on board.
as a 33 year old, short of the middle class woman in contemporary culture, it is expected that i use something other than a horribly beat up samsung phone.  i'm not. and i'm also driving an old toyota hand me down that's not even mine.
all this to say, i am happy with myself for being able to see what's expected of me and still be able to make a choice about what i'm going to do.

is there something you're struggling with?  something you're expected to do?  how will you make your decision?  what do you trust most?


  1. nbrown on November 20, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Lisa, I'm blog stalking you because BreAnna linked you into her Thankful Thursday post. I just HAD to comment on this post because I, too, have a little-engine-that-could of a cellphone. I purchased it waaaay back in 2007, which I believe in our generation of new-upgrades-every-6-months-or-so makes it essentially an antique. I've dropped it more times than I can count. One of my students brought me a new case for it when I was teaching because she noticed how tattered and worn mine was. Yes, a third grader took pity on my poor cellphone. I do not have the internet. I do not have a touch screen. I can't always receive picture texts. And just today, it began to reject it's charger. But you know what? It makes and receives calls and text messages and it has a clock on it. That's about all I need. :)

  2. Lisa on November 21, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    Ms N., that is one amazing third grader! So glad to hear I have a tattered cell phone sister (I, also, do not always receive picture texts). Maybe one day we'll upgrade ...

  3. Anonymous on December 7, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Once again...what can I say...what always comes to mind is "I love you". I love your voice and your heart and your fabulous brain. I never connected to the "walks" and "occupies" either. Or how reposting your bra color or where you left it on fb in a cryptic manner raises awareness for breast cancer (are we really not yet aware?). I don't see how these actions which seem to serve more to rile people up or bond them in odd ways CHANGES anything. If it had a snowball's chance making something BETTER, or at least DIFFERENT, I might get it. I've never been a marcher or a protester...I need, like you, to see how the line connects to actual change.

    And...I totally think you "have the right" to directly encourage and praise people. Don't believe everything they feed you at the GSSW...being human and making a connection when someone is in pain has more therapeutic value than all the "proper technique" and "appropriate boundaries" combined. Have you ever read the book Escape from Babel (Toward a more unifying approach to psychotherapy practice). It's the only book from grad school I still own. It helped condense for me all of what they were shoving down my throat into the basic stuff you already knew in your heart....or as close to that as you're gonna get in a clinical textbook.

    I love your writing, I love your blog...yup...back to that...just love the YOU that you ARE.


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