Friday, August 30, 2013


Me standing at the spot the bomb was left.
The Child Welfare department of Oklahoma has a program with all the big universities, where they select a few social work students and pay $7000 per semester for their Junior and Senior years, if the student agrees work for the department for 18 months afterwards.
I am really hoping to be one of the chosen few.
Today was the first step of the application process, where all hopefuls had to meet in Oklahoma City for a seminar on the in's and out's of child welfare work.
ORU took a van full.
On the way back to campus, we stopped at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.

The memorial has chairs with the name of each victim in the perspective spot they would have been when killed. The trees outline the walls of the building.

Thousands of children sent in art as condolences to the families.They transferred the art onto a wall as a thank you to all the children for showing their support.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Syria and college aged ignorance

I have always rolled my eyes at anti- war protests. I saw it as the hippie straggly haired people who don't have jobs and don't believe in deodorant, as anti war protesters. And I seriously never would have imagined myself getting so fired up about a potential war.

However, I am finding myself more and more emotionally charged by everything that's happening.

In the age of information, I am finding my fellow college students are mostly down-right clueless. I think that is what is bugging me the most.
We seem to think as a generation, that someone else is taking care of the problem, and that everything is alright. 
I was standing in my college deli today, looking up a a tv screen with Fox News on which had in big captions "US Warships arrive on coast of Syria".
As I stood focusing on the screen, a girl approached and asked me, "What happened? Are they the ones that bombed the marathon?"
I answered, "No! They haven't done anything to us."
"Why?" she then asked, "Why are we fighting them? Are they a threat to us?"
Again I answered, "No! The only time they will be a threat to us is if we DO fight them. China and Russia have already sent ships saying they will strike back if we decide to do anything."
The girl shrugged as she walked away, "I'm sure Obama knows what he is doing."

Our president is on the verge of sparking World War 3 and that doesn't matter?!
In class right after that, a teacher casually mentioned, "And we think our economy is bad now, just wait until after this new war starts."
A male student raised his hand and asked, "What war? Are we going to fight Pakistan?"
The teacher explained a little bit of the situation, and then the male student again spoke up, "Hmm, that doesn't make sense why America is getting involved."
The class then went back to focusing on psychology.
Where is the passion, where are the protesters, and where is the public interest?!
Any other day in age, people would have been even more fired up about this than I am.

I have always been one who liked originality and uniquness. Where others liked to think outside the box, for me there was no box. I like things different, and bizarre. Many people tried to squash that trait in me as a child, and said that it meant there was something wrong with me, if I didn't follow along with the consensus.

Many of my peers were drugged to stay in line, told they had ADD or ADHD, or in many cases both! The side effects of the drugs caused depression, for which they were handed another pill and forced to swallow. In some cases that caused stuttering and twitches, which there was ANOTHER pill for! Other peers grew up being told to shut up and follow the rules, no matter if they agreed with the rules or not. If they disagreed with something, they were punished and labeled defiant.

What I see now, is a generation that just goes along with what ever they are told to do. Even when it could mean the utter devastation of our planet. Young adults are very uninterested in the injustices of the world. Just look how quickly people stopped talking about the Sandy Hook massacre compared to Columbine. 6 months vs. 6 years.

Why am I complaining about all of this?

Syria is in the midst of an ugly civil war.That's a fact. But that's about the only fact we have. Chemical gases were used to kill hundreds of people. Churches and Mosques seem to be a priority target. But both sides are killing each other in heinous ways. It's not one side massacring the other side.
We've got a bad leader ordering the murders of civilians, and international jihadist Al Qaeda militants fighting back. It's a lose lose situation. But none the less, it's a situation that the United States has no business in.

What are the risks of not involving ourselves? 1. History shaming us and saying we should have done something.
What are the risks of getting involved? 1. Killing innocent people. 2. Al Qaeda targeting America for another 9/11. 3. Our already wrecked economy being completely destroyed. 3. China sanctions and or take over of the USA for our trillions owed to them. 4. Nukes being fired off by USA, UK, Russia, Iran, and China. 5. History shaming us for getting involved.

All in all, several nations have vowed retaliation. We are very much on the brink of a world war, and no one seems to care.
So I want to say.........WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!

Btw, I never thought I would ever in my life say this, but, this Saturday I will be going to my first ever protest.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

All about the new job!

New research is showing amazing things about the human mind. Specifically, the mind of abused children.
This photo shows the difference between the brain of a child with a healthy home, and the brain of a child living in severely neglectful home.
The neglected child has a significantly smaller brain, but also has many other irregularities.
Modern child psychology has theorized that abused children typically grow up to be abusive because they were taught to be that way.
But recently people have been looking further in to the possibility that something else causes it. Many times after a child has had a fit of rage, they will say, "I don't know why I do it, it just comes and I cannot control it." Some have started to look into the possibility that they really don't have control over it. Not because of what they were taught, but more because of what they were not taught.
What they have been finding is that it might very likely be the case. Abused and neglected children's brains are actually wired differently.
Through the process of  child development, the brain goes through "pruning" where it stops connecting to parts that are not being used, and it makes connections stronger with the parts used most.
What has been found, is that abused and neglected children are not different, but they use a different part of their brain. Because all they knew was fear and survival skills, the parts of their brain that process love and creativity  and reasoning skills disconnect.
Kids literally forget how to love and relax. As creativity and love weaken in the brain, violence and fear grow stronger.
With this new theory, experts began to wonder, if the key to helping child abuse survivors, is not in teaching them to not be fearful and aggressive, but instead focusing on teaching them to use the portions of their brains that shut off during the abuse. A new therapy was formulated to try new approaches to develop healthy minds. For example, instead of telling them they cannot do something, just tell them the alternative things they can do, and then gradually they learn to figure out alternatives on their own. "You cannot hit people when you are angry" vs. "When you are angry, how about you try coloring or listening to music or running?"

It's called Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

That's where places like my new job were formed. They are now fully functioning organizations treating survivors of extreme trauma and neglect, with the new approach, and the results have been phenomenal.

Even when I was a little girl, I felt there was something very wrong with people saying, "I have to go to work" I do not think work is something that should be just for money. Work should be making enough money to support your life, while you do something you love. I once worked a job with mentally disabled and mentally ill people, and I loved it! Sometimes they would call to see if I could work an extra shift, and I would answer with an over excited, "Yes!"
When I came to Tulsa, I was working a job that was just for the money. I longed to get back to the kind of job I liked going to.
My roommate over the summer was the person who told me to check out if they were hiring. When I looked I did not see any openings that I qualified for.

That same day I got onto a job finder websites email list, and the next morning they emailed me that the organization was hiring with a position that did not require a degree, just prior experience in social work and mental illness. I had both.

I applied that day, and a week later I got a call for an interview. I wanted the job so badly, that I was extremely nervous the night before. I posted all sorts of outfit pictures on facebook, trying to get advice on the perfect outfit.

I had planned to use a friend's car to drive that morning, but they slept through their alarm and through my calls. So I ended up frantically pedaling my bike to the interview, making it with 4 minutes to spare and completely out of breath. I was scared that it was all over from the start because of my unconventional entrance.

As the interviewer told me more about the organization, and more about my potential role in the organization, I realized that I was literally applying for my dream job. I would be leading group and play therapy, mentoring, and caring for children, while watching them transform and overcome their tragic pasts.

I pedaled back home from the interview and knew if I got the job, biking was definitely not an option being I applied for a night shift in a shady neighborhood.
When I got home, I had an email with a job offer. Full time, Friday through Monday, starting pay $10 with 1.75 additional for night and weekend hours(which is all I will be working).
That was on Friday, and Sunday night I got a nice car for $900 of craigslist.

Oldsmobile Olga and I had some quality bonding time that Thursday when I went to meet a friend in Arkansas

A week later I started a week long training. This last Saturday was my first day working with the kids. There was a lot of training on what to do when a child is hurting them self, and how to protect yourself if a child is attacking you.
When I spent my first three days with the kids, I could see why we had all that training. The kids have a lot of issues...but I've seen some of the kids who have been there a long while and how far they have come.

Can you tell how excited I was on my first day?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Employment Rollercoaster

I debate on where to start on this story. Should I start by telling you about my new job? Or maybe I should start back when I was given a raise at my old job. Maybe I should start where it all went badly. Well I guess I will start where it all started...My first day of work at my old job.

I swore I would never work at a retirement home again after I quit the one in Oregon. In fact I said I would never work in the food industry again because it was so terrible.
I came to Oklahoma with $2500, but by February that money was gone, and I knew I needed to get a job. I was scared when I discovered not even Walmart was hiring. I put in several applications and heard nothing back from anything.

Then one day I vented to a friend, my concerns that it may be a long while before I find a job, and that I had no money left. That was when she told me her work was always hiring. She asked if I wanted her to bring me an application, and I said overly excited...Yes!
It wasn't until after that, that I thought to actually ask where she works. To my dismay she replied, "Food service in a retirement home." I could not believe it, after I swore never again....the first and only place I got a call for an interview at, was the same exact job I had said I would never go back to.
I was hired on the spot, and paid well above Oklahoma minimum wage, so I told myself to toughen up and do it.

My first week of work, a man who washed dishes there, approached and asked me if we could go out some time. I told him not now, because I did not even know him. He asked me to ask around about him, and then give him an answer(he had to come back later to ask me my name). What I found out about him was concerning to say the least.

I told him he was not the kind of guy I was interested in having a relationship with. He answered me, "I wasn't looking for a relationship. I just wanted to f*** you now and then."

I started to be alarmed as to what kind of people worked at my new job after that. But before I had much time to figure it out...I was headed off for a month in Africa.

I returned to America and returned to work at the retirement home, full of bliss and rejuvenation, but with in a month things started to go badly again at work.

Two more times men asked me if we could sleep together. I got woo's in hallways, and was uncomfortable being alone anywhere, because some guy would come and say inappropriate things.

Then on the first of August, the head manager called me into his office. He told me I was one of the best staff, and in my few months of employment I had surpassed many who had been there much longer. That day he gave me a pay raise.

3 days later a fourth male worker grabbed me and made gestures. Again I made a complaint about it, but this time I also told the management I was fed up and was done working in a place where I was constantly afraid of being touched or talked to in sexual manners. I told them I was quitting.

During this time, I was in summer school, and had an incredible roommate, named Joy. Joy and I had many great late night conversations, and I had told her all the frustrations I had at work. Before I had quit, she told me she had a friend who had just become a social worker, and Joy said she would ask them about any recommendations of where I might be able to get a job at.

Joy cheered for me when I finally told them I was fed up and quit. That same day she got back to me with four organizations names, from her friend, that I might be able to get a job at.

I looked up all four websites, and none had openings for people with less than a bachelor's degree. I was disappointed. After that, I figured the first thing I needed to do was work on my resume. I joined a website that helped make resumes.
I groaned when I opened my email and discovered I had made it on to their mailing list. They sent me 10 emails in one day of bunches of job openings in other states, or that did not apply to me at all.
But then the next morning I woke up and opened my email(yes, I was still laying in bed). Again they had emailed me, but this time it was with the name of one of the 4 organizations Joy had told me about.
I sat up and squealed when I read the job description and requirements. It fit me and my interests perfectly!
I applied for the job right then.
A week later I got a call for an interview, interviewed that week, and had an email by the time I got home, with a job offer.
It is a full time, weekend job, working with abused and traumatized children.
I felt just getting the job was a cool story, but it's I will save another entry for telling you about the actual's super awesome.