how does that make you feel

Yesterday, buraco was tight. My partner and I came out of a magnificent hole and lost by 30 points. They tried to declare us the winners because no one (not even she and I) could believe we manage to get to where we did. We had some hair-raising moments, because although we are partners, neither knows what the other has in their hand. I trundled off into the darkness with a care package of Russian tea and an old flannel sheet. The tea is for me, the flannel is to try to entice the mad kitten to nest somewhere else then right up my wazoo during the day.

Right now, I am making massive amounts of strong tea. This has been an incredibly intense and exhausting day. Which is amazing when you consider that Monday’s have technically become my day off. I usually catch up on sleep and food and putter. But three things happened today that fit together like puzzle pieces and have left me with more of the picture, and an awareness of how far there is still yet to go.

For one, and I will start slamming this around within the next day or two (along with several other sites and people who have been roped in), Poet Tree Magazine is doing a fundraising drive for food for the homeless this thanksgiving. You get to have a great and fabulous classy shirt, a copy of the latest issue and know that for the price of 19.99 plus shipping and handling, that the 19.99 will go directly to the selected agency. That’s where I come in, through my other project, Grace Independent, we’ve selected an aid agency in Rhode Island (because I am here and can monitor it) who of that 19.99 will use 15.99 for direct services. Which, in donation percentages of service use vs. admin/advert/opertations is almost unheard of. From there, loveandwords and grace independent will be making a free ebook available that will show you how you can do this in your own community – from creating something that can be sold and the money gained free and clear for donation, to how to read annual reports and United Way ratings to pick a place where the donation will be used for the service and not to just support the existence of the entity.

This was a fine thing to come together this morning because I ended last night with the information that a local AIDS charity that frequently raises money and has done so for the past 10 years has rarely if ever given more then 3% of any of the money raised to any service. Yet, that is not public knowledge. And they hold their books closed.

Its why one must be careful, when moved to “do something” not to just accept what someone else tells you is the way and path to best be effective. Some of these aid agencies have become so large and unwieldy as a administrative entity, that although they have great money raising capabilities, little distribution to the population in need occurs. The existence of the idea of the agency has become more important (reflected in their budgets) then the actual services they provide. It is not an area to enter in blindly, which is why we are doing this as a “test” in Providence to then write a manual so others can do it elsewhere without being completely frustrated.

I went from that to a meeting, one of my little finger-in-the-pie lunches where the topic was the issue of the new DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The new volume is greatly expanded. Disorders and diagnoses are broken down and rearranged into more effective and realistic categories. However, the topic on hand was the approach to defining and listing something as a disorder that has never been included before. And that is the diagnosis of Evil. Evil has long been recognized/suspected in the psychiatric community as existing. Now, everyone is trying to hammer out a set of criteria for recognizing a person who’s life is disordered by their being Evil and the ensuing treatment protocol and recovery predictions.

In the middle of this, CNN was on and on came that family in Connecticut (the home invasion with the mother and daughter killed and the husband beaten and left in the basement) responding to the sentencing to death of one of the perpetrators.

It was, to say the least, an odd little garnish to the conversation that had been going on. What stopped all of us, and (we admitted later) made us all feel slightly queasy, was the intensely obvious dynamic going on during the presentation by the family to the news media. This was not the reactions of a family who thought that the death penalty was a just sentence for someone who caused harm to their family; this was a family who spent the entire news conference trying to lay out arguments to convince everyone else that it was a just sentence. The painful obviousness that there was a huge degree of discomfort and lack of belief within them regarding the death sentence was just…it did not matter whether you support or don’t support the death penalty, you knew, watching and listening to them, that they are so conflicted and ill-at-ease and searching for something to define once and for all that this is “right” that they will never find peace and resolution for their loss. Or if they do, it will be a long and hard road where it did not have to be.

Leave there. Home. Negotiate with the mad kitten for a bit of bed. Nap. Wake up. Run down the street to the local hospital.

Where I attended a lecture that is part of a Medical Ethics series titled “The Psychology of Humiliation and Shame in Healthcare.”

The gist being that the protocols and environment of healthcare engage in a constant and sometimes deliberate infliction of humiliation and shame, not just on patients but also within their own hierarchy. And, that since culturally we do not handle humiliation and shame at all, it becomes a situation where literally – a few thoughtless words can end a persons career before it starts, people would choose to be ill rather then seek care to avoid feelings of shame and humiliation that they have the experience of going through in those situations, and, that even the majority of our healthcare language and styles of communication is designed/evolved to inflict distress on people by dehumanizing them.

Interesting to note. The fellow, Aaron Lazare, put up a slide with the synonyms and emotional descriptions of shame and humiliation – and everyone of them, as he put it, embodies description of murder.


am going to post this, drink my tea, and pull out my violin and work on my Mozart ditty while the rain just falls and falls and falls outside

c.2010 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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