May 25, 2012

stupid little bird

My clients are known for having some interesting requests. And a couple days ago, I kid you not, I got a voicemail that said this: Hey Megan, I found this baby bird that must've fallen out of its nest - do you think you could look online for me at places we could take it? Thanks! See you tomorrow! Now, the thing of it is, I have approximately ten trillion things to do with this guy. We need to go to the Social Security office. We need to find him a place to live. We need to go to lots of meetings and appointments AND he lost his bus pass so I will have to cart him around myself until he gets a new one. That's a lot of stuff. So ask me if I really care to spend time looking online for bird sanctuaries. The answer is no. No I do not.

So sure enough, at our scheduled meeting time, in walks my client carrying a giant cardboard box.

Hey guy, I say. You've got a bird in that box, don't you? Affirmative.

Now, I don't really like birds. I like putting birds on things, but I don't so much want anything to do with an actual bird.  So mostly to appease him - because he is undeniably sweet and clearly very concerned with the health and safety of this little pipsqueak - I went up to my office and googled "found a baby bird Denver." Much to my surprise, through a series of weird phone calls (hard to hear, what with all the birds in the background), I found myself jotting down directions to the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center of Denver. That's a thing. And because my sweet client wasn't going to let go of that damn bird until I took him there, there is where we went. To Wild Bird Rehab. Which, to recap, is a real thing that exists.

As I drove, the little nugget sat in my client's palm, squawking and being generally bird-like, and I have to admit to you that I was feeling a little annoyed. This was adding more than an hour to an already long and generally unpleasant expedition to Social Security. All for a stupid little bird.

We arrived at the bird place and the bird people, rushing it to an incubator, applauded my client for keeping the little dude alive for those few days. He'd saved the little bird's life. It was a little adorable, how pleased he was, how relieved that the bird would get the care it needed, how he explained so earnestly that if you just make this little noise he'll open his mouth to eat - and since I'm not some kind of heartless fiend, I did begin to soften a little to the whole situation. Even Wild Bird Rehab. My client asked as we walked out - something of an afterthought - what kind of a bird was it that he'd saved? A sparrow, she said.

Sometimes the world is rough. Sometimes people look at us, at me probably, and say all of this trouble for stupid little you. When we've got so much more important things to worry about. But when I heard that woman's voice say that it was a sparrow he'd saved, my breath caught a little because an old hymn rang through me, clear as the squawk of that little bird in my client's palm:

He laid out a path for me that I may see - 
I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me

Even on that stupid little bird. You don't have to sing because you're happy, I don't know if you are. But at the very least (which if you ask me is maybe the very most) you can sing because you're free. I know you are that.

May 18, 2012

the haps and the goings on

So, I've been relatively inconsistent in the writing realm. That's on me. This is for multiple reasons, but mostly, I'm just very busy and important these days. It takes up a lot of my time. You understand.

Today, in a matter of moments, in fact, I am driving to Wichita for what I have affectionately dubbed my annual introversion binge. You see, I am an extrovert of the highest order. In ways that are not always adaptive, I am a people person. As such, being alone, spending time by myself? So not my jam. But once a year, about this time, I get the itch to spend a glorious 7-8 hours all by my lonesome in my little red Saturn. And during those 7-8 hours - completely uncharacteristic to my people personhood - I don't want anything to do with any person other than the cast of Rogers and Hammerstein's 1963 version of the musical Cinderella starring Lesley Ann Warren, which I will sing in it's entirety, probably more than once. Annual Introversion Binge, we meet again. Here goes nothing. And you don't need to worry about me. I have mix cd's, so it's fine.

Another reason I will be relatively preoccupied in coming weeks is because I am moving. Yes, tis true, the puggle will be my roomie no longer as Kels is moving to San Fran for love and bliss and all that. I'm not mad about it, there's not really any room for that, but I am a little frantic in terms of what to do now. I have some options, which is nice, but the future is yet uncertain. Oh, there's nothing quite like this seemingly unending stage of transitional twenties. Oh well. Que sera, sera, and all that.

Here is something nice that has come of the past few days, however. In putting the word out about my move to anyone who will listen [I'd say strangers excluded but I don't like to lie], I have been met with many suggestions of what I should do. I have been offered basements [the good kind], other basements [the unfinished, dead-bodies probably buried there kind], the back-end of a Forerunner, couches, more basements, summer sublets, old people's basements, rooms in South Carolina, pallets on the floors of friend's bedrooms, squatting in empty neighbors' houses, et cetera and so on and so forth. What struck me though, with all offers both serious and not-so, is the number of people who cared and responded. To crazy me. Empathy [I'm choosing to not call it pity] dripping from their voices, telling me these words:
At the very least we have an option. We'll figure it out, ok?

Moving sucks. Scouring Craigslist on the daily for a house that isn't terrible super sucks. Life, sometimes, is sucky. Sometimes it's just nice to know that in the face of all the suck, I will be met with countless people who will tell me it's ok. I'm not alone. And that's something, yknow?

OH, I almost forgot! In addition to walking for Victory in the Valley, and watching my sweet little niecey pie Emily graduate from high school this weekend (!!!!), I am also travelling to Kansas by car in order that I might procure this little guy: a wicker lion which has been lovingly bequeathed to me by my sweet little Nana pie. So wherever I end up in the next month, I know one thing for absolute certain: I will have a wicker lion with marble eyes in tow. And that is also something.

May 11, 2012

have no plans

If you're looking to have a spectacular weekend, here is my advice to you: have no plans.

Last Saturday, for the first time in quite some time, I had no plans. Not a one. So we set off that morning into the wild blue yonder to do whatever we felt like. We never made any plans in any kind of future thinking fashion, and for something like 14 straight hours, we did not stop having a great time even once. We just did what we pleased when we pleased. At one point we decided we should go eat falafel literally because I saw some granola bites in Walgreens that I thought and commented looked like falafel. Things just happened like that, all day, one after another. We ended up crashing a crawfish boil with a live bluegrass band. We stumbled upon it on our way to get a sno cone margarita suggested to us by one of the ladies whose yard sale we'd attended that morning. Everything about all of it was completely ideal.

I'm not much of a planner to begin with, that's a fact. But this was different - because at no point while we were doing this day was I concerned with anything going on in any other place than the one I was in. I wasn't trying to figure out how to meet up with 26 people or be anywhere at any certain time and I just got to live delightfully moment to moment in a way I'm not used to doing. In a way, I might add, that I will be doing at least monthly from this point on.

All because, for once in my busy little life,
I simply had no plans.

 I highly recommend it.

May 9, 2012

help isn't always professional

I recently learned something important about working with people. You see, I'm a counselor by education, a case manager by day, and a people person by birth, so I do a lot of people-work. I'm trained to do all sorts of therapeutic interventions. I know how to de-escalate someone who's agitated and I can make 50 minutes of therapy fly right on by. I can teach coping skills and strategies for prevention of relapse. I know these things, and there's always more to learn - and I believe they work or I wouldn't do what I do. I believe the people I work with need these things. Honestly, I believe a lot of the time I need these things.

I believe in therapy, in medication, in the power and effectiveness of mental health treatment. But I also believe we have to be open to seeing what people really need in a given moment - and that it's not always those things. The other day I watched anxiety reduce, spirits lift, and mood shift radically in about 4 minutes and 37 seconds and I didn't do a dang thing to make it happen. Because on that particular day, she didn't need a professional intervention. She needed to sing some Whitney Houston.

People need help that is professional, sometimes. And sometimes people need help that isn't. Sometimes they just need a minute to do something that makes them happy. Sometimes people just need people who will give them space to be people. I want to keep learning how to better help people professionally. But no matter how many letters end up after my name, I hope I will never lose sight of the therapeutic power of basking in the sunlight, driving with the windows down, and singing your favorite Whitney Houston song at the top of your lungs.

You may not work with people, but at the very least, you are people, so listen up. Do something that makes you happy. Take the space you need and feel free in it. Relieve your anxiety, lift your spirits, shift your mood, and never underestimate the power of the things that bring you joy. Watch The Bachelor, drink a diet root beer, listen to metal/country/90's R&B, pay a visit to a swingset. I don't care if it seems silly or inconsequential. It's therapeutic.

Take it from me. I'm a professional.