The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves”…
“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”… John Waters
this autumn has been an especially colorful season on a few levels. the late excessive rains in colorado followed by an unseasonably hot indian summer has produced the most glorious red, gold, and orange foliage that i can remember since my arrival in colorado in 1989. each day in october i am still awestruck by the majesty these colors bring.
along with this is new level of trust and perspective to which i have ascended with my vocation. i have run headlong into my own dissonance between how i want to feel and how i actually feel. i am still working on resurrecting some sense of balance around all this.
today of fb, i received a note from a former neuro psychiatric resident that i have spent time with at the clinic. although he was working in a different department, we shared office space and many lunches and coffees. i must say i was gobsmacked by the tone and the purpose of his words.
Rod, I’m not exactly sure how to go about this, but I wanted to apologize for not informing you I wasn’t going to be able to make the Rally. I’m not going to bother with the excuse for my absence, because it doesn’t matter—I promised I’d be there and I didn’t show. I also didn’t bother to let you know either before or after the fact, and for that, I’m sorry. I thought about reaching out over the past year and came close a couple of times, but I was never quite able to muster the courage to do so. Even though I’m glad you reach out, I wish I had been the one.
I’ve since left Chicago and moved on to my official internship at a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey. It’s a different world out here on the east coast, that’s for sure. My experience working at a psychiatric facility brings along with it many pros and cons. Regarding the latter, I find myself oftentimes discouraged with the complacency I see in the staff. The treatment of patients, at times, lacks the compassion and sense of humanity one needs in order to foster growth and help develop a sense of self-worth and agency in others. Anyway, I bring this up because I realized a huge part of the reason I even understand what it takes to connect with someone in the first place is from quietly observing you in my corner cubicle for 10 months. I’ve worked with several psychiatrists, psychologists and neuro psychologists who did not teach me as much as you did about how to treat patients. You do great work, and I never took the opportunity to tell you that before I left. I’m sorry for that, too.
I’m assuming you read that last piece and started feeling a little uneasy. My guess is that you started to immediately minimize the hard work and long hours you put into giving your patients the best care possible, or perhaps you deflected it by attributing it to someone else. Don’t. It bothered me you couldn’t take a compliment–it always felt like you were depriving yourself of feeling good because you thought you didn’t deserve it. Thanks for setting the bar so high, Rod. And thanks for the beats..… (click on beats to hear some sounds from my 80’s alma mater laid down in 1988 by jonathan scrappy gilbert.
but more in keeping with my emotional state… here is a selection of arias by one of the best our world has ever known.