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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Magnificence of the Social Work Profession -

Please take the time to read this great poem. Today marks the last day of National Social Work Month. I have spent time attending trainings (increasing my competency), Advocating for policies (fighting against social injustice), educating future social workers, celebrating the social workers I work along side, giving away two self care packets to those in the field, and assessing my own self care practices. I have really enjoyed this month celebrating myself and others. I feel especially in a profession that often is not understood it is important to really participate in those Nationally recognized dates.

The Magnificence of the Social Work Profession -

Friday, March 14, 2014

The hope of something new

There are times when things seem to be meant to be or more than a coincidence. There are some people that you meet that just seem like they were supposed to be in your life all along.

I have finally identified what I enjoy most about the first few interactions with a new potential romantic relationship.
How great does it feel that someone sees you and decides that they want you in their life....if only for a short time.
How wonderful is it to have someone actually listen to the story of your life for the first time and want to know more.
It feels even better for that person to then comment that you are a "cool person".
At times you can take the people in your life for granted because it has typically been many moons since they initially decided "Hey I want you to stick around in my life indefinitely". You take for granted that every day/ every interaction they decide that yes they want to keep on knowing you.
I am in awe of the fact that every day a select few people on this earth make the decision to actively foster a relationship with me simply because I am worth of their love and attention.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Social Work the Protected Title

As a social worker I feel a great amount of pride about what I do, but that doesn't make me a social worker. I often hear people describe the profession of social work with a job description. That's like saying a doctor is someone who listens to your lungs and looks down your throat. Though those are things a doctor may do as part of an exam, those things do not make one a doctor. In the same thought a social worker is not someone who assists with food stamps, or works at CPS. Though social workers can hold positions doing those things that is just the job.
Let me explain. Social work is a protected title much like a doctor, nurse, or attorney. To call oneself a social worker requires a license in social work, to get a license in social work you must have a degree in social work from an accredited university. So if you work at the food stamp office and have a degree in English you are a person who works in the social services industry but NOT a social worker. See this from the State Board of Social Work Examiners
   Licensure is required if you identify yourself as a social worker by using titles initials that create the impression that you are qualified or authorized to practice social work. This includes using any title containing the words "Social Worker" or initials such as LSW, or LMSW. The board may impose a civil or administrative penalty of not less then $250.00 or more then $5000.00 per day for each day an unlicensed individual holds them selves out to be a social worker.
 You are exempt from licensure if you do not represent yourself to the public - directly or indirectly - as a social worker and do not use any name, title, or designation indicating authorization to practice social work. More Here
There was once a time when many of the social services jobs that now employee those without social work licenses, required that employees be social workers. I believe this has something to do with the public belief that those are "social work" jobs. When I tell people that I am a social worker I often here "So you help people apply for food stamps/Medicaid/Medicare/TANF?" or " Oh so you are mean and make people fill out forms" or  "Oh  you take people's children away?". These are jobs that social worker's can do but not things we are necessarily taught to do in our degree programs. I believe I spent one or two days in undergrad on how to assist people with applications for public assistance. That was several years ago before everything was computerized, when I help clients with forms now I simply read the application and assist the client in answering what is asked. I also was not taught how to take people's children away. I was taught how to assess family functioning, to acknowledge child development including warning signs of delay, I was taught the etiology of mental illness and who this affects, I was also taught the demographics of which people abuse their children, I was taught methods of rebuilding families, ways to navigate systems, ways to pull communities together, how to affect change and assess for a client's willingness to do so, I was taught about chemical dependency, empathy, grief, therapy, and so many other things.
So forgive me if I stand up for my profession.
I am a social worker because I have the education, training, experience, and ethics to call myself a social worker. As a licensed social worker my clients can rest assured that if I do not follow my ethical code and for example talk about their situation to others without their express consent, I could face severe repercussions. If I fail to follow the Values and Ethics of my profession I could be fined, lose my license, be put on probation, or a combination of those three, as well as other sanctions. I am forbidden from having dual relationships with my clients or in having a personal relationship with them following our work together under many circumstances.  Ethical Code
I am also required by my licensure to maintain a certain degree of education as long as I am a practicing social worker. This means I must continue to learn and grow professionally so that I can use the most up to date knowledge in helping my clients. This includes ongoing training in ethics which helps protect clients.
Though I did work at CPS that did not make me a social worker, in fact many things I did at CPS were not in line with what my social worker brain would have had me do. I am a case manager now, but I am a social work case manager. I function out of a social work framework, I pull upon theories and evidence when I work with my clients. In a few years when I am done with clinical supervision I will work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Meaning that I have the professional skill to offer psychotherapy to my chosen client population.
A part of being a social worker is advocacy: for human rights, clients, and the social worker profession. For that reason I felt it was necessary to clarify these things here. I am a proud social worker and I want others to know what a social worker is and what they can do.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why I'm a jaded single lady

*Warning* sarcasm and cynicism below

So...I have been without a relationship (that has lasted longer than 2 months) for the past 6 years. I have really gotten used to being single but it is not really what I wanted for my life. I have been wondering lately if I want to be married with kids because that is what I am supposed to want or if it is because that is truly what I want for myself. Any time I even mention accepting that I may be single for life there is never a shortage of women that chime in shaming me for not having faith. I think it goes back to what Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche says in Flawless by Beyoncé. We are taught that women must strive for marriage and careers/success come second to that. I agree that the same pressure is not put on men. Its more than a little annoying that people feel it is necessary to shame me for not thinking that marriage is in the cards for me. I agree that God has all power and control and a plan for my life. I don't know what that is, neither does any other woman I encounter. So how do they know it is not possible that I am meant to be single? did I get here? First let's start with the most recent dating disappointment. I went out with a friend after a dance event. I was having fun dancing and enjoying myself. A very personable man comes up and talks to me and because I am trying to up my flirt game I flirted with him. We danced and joked and were as my bestie would say boo'd up for a while. He asked for my number and I faked jealousy when he appeared to be flirting with other girls. When I didn't hear from him the next two days I was cool with that, it was just fun to be engaged for a night. Then in typical 30+ fashion he contacted me after two days. We had cute text conversations and I was excited to have a conversation with a man that didn't make me want to throw up a little in my mouth (I get so tired of repeating myself with the online dating I have been attempting). I mean he had everything: a good vocabulary, he could dance, and he was the type that could sale you a mink coat in the middle of Texas summer. Then the red flag was thrown he said "look I will never make a promise to you I can't keep. I promise to tell you anything you ask." Now if you have never been completely kept in the dark by a dog of a man this may not seem like that bad of a thing to say but I saw it for what it was. He was laying the foundation to tell me later down the road that I should have asked him a certain something and because I didn't ask he didn't lie. So I did a little research- his Facebook was squeaky clean, then I searched for his name which revealed a honeymoon registry, which led to another Facebook search, which led to a wife who only 3 months ago had a baby. REALLY!?!?

Its not much of a loss for me but just thinking that this is why I am single...even the married guys are no good. Don't believe me? I know a married man that I have known for a while that offered a few years ago to father a child with me, the old fashioned way, and yes he was married at the time. This is the third married man that has seemed not to care about his wife while trying to woo me. And trust me I am not the type to give off the vibe that I would be cool with that. There have also been some less "violent" offenders: I talked to a guy on a dating site about my back and other things and the last comment from him was "well I guess you won't be having any good sex soon". The guy who took me out and argued with me about everything (such as the viability of Chinese food the next day) and ignored me (asked me questions I had literally just answered). The guys who I have known for years that will not talk to me for months on end and then reappear and expect that I have missed them, they get upset if I don't remember their birthdays or don't smile when they call.

I really feel like the world has become a place where we expect everything for nothing. Which translates into spoiled teens, women, and men. There is no longer a need to work for anything, if a man takes you out he doesn't have to be a gentlemen just show up and be prepared to receive. If a man has mistreated you in the past, all he has to do is not talk to you after the event for a year. By doing this he insures that when he does call you he can pretend to not know why you stopped talking and profess how much he has missed you, because you obviously feel the same. Imagine putting a book down and picking it back up where you left it and beginning to read again, women are just like that right?

My first relationship really laid the foundation for this. It was very traumatic and very public, he started the cheating. And not just an ordinary cheat, he cheated with my best friend who then stopped talking to me with no explanation for the next three years in high school. Every significant relationship I have had with a boy/man has involved me being cheated on. The last relationship I was in ended basically because my boyfriend was afraid of being dumped. So though I always pictured myself married with two children now all I can see is a child and a dog.

It may be wrong to be cynical but that is like telling a former CPS worker that children don't get abused everyday. I know that is a lie.

At this point my plan is to just try to enjoy the short period of dating when I enjoy talking to guys. The precedent has been so far that I will talk with them for a few days and either: they will stop communicating with me when I am not immediately available for a date; they say something offensive and I stop communicating with them; we go on a date and it goes no where; or we go on a date and I end up with a person that randomly texts me for months after that I no longer actually date.

With Valentine's day coming up (used to be my favorite holiday, the past 6 years it has been the most painful day of the year) I plan to love myself. I will don a saccharinely sweet outfit, treat myself to a date, and buy myself the gift I really want. What could be so wrong with that?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Funday| Summer's new sound

Summer surprised me today on a trip to get my favorite beverage with a new sound. Luckily the catalyst, another dog nearby barking, repeated itself and she made the sound again. Its was too funny not to record and share.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Soundtrack of my life 2013

Music the sound of life

For me music is integral to my daily life. I prefer to have music playing while shopping, typing, exercising, during the shower, well pretty much all the time. I listen to so much music that when I am not listening to music there is some random song in my head. If I am really enjoying the song I am usually singing/dancing along. I love having an old mp3 or cd and listening to songs I haven't in a while; memories always flood back. I can remember the time frame in which I was jamming a certain track/ album and it is such a great feeling.
So below are the songs that played in the background of my life this year. Mostly albums this time since I have more than usual and grouped into the type or feeling they inspired in me.

Guilty Pleasure Albums/Tracks

1. Ariana Grande-Yours Truly
The girl has some pipes! One of her songs reminds me so much of Mariah. My favorite tracks are Honeymoon Avenue, Tattooed Heart, and You'll Never Know
2. Miley Cyrus- Bangerz
It was very difficult to list her here. She spend the majority of 2013 writhing around naked and being credited for a dance that is at least as old as I am (28). All of this for attention for her album, which was actually good. My faves are Wrecking Ball, Adore You; Love, Money, Party; Get it Right, Drive, F.U.; and Do My Thang.
3. Chanel West Coast- Now You Know
Who knew the goofy, pretty girl from Ridiculousness could actually rap and semi-sing?
4. Selena Gomez- Stars Dance
She's an ex-Disney star but Come & Get it and B.E.A.T jam

Disappointing albums

1. Backstreet Boys- In A World Like This
    I really wanted to enjoy this cd, but I can't even remember which track I actually like.
2. Katy Perry- Prism
    There are a few that are okay but I was underwhelmed
3. Lady Gaga- Artpop
  I wanted to like more of the songs on here besides: Applause, G.U.Y, and Do What  You Want, Fashion!

4. John Legend- Love in the Future
   I enjoy Made to Love and Asylum.
5. Janelle Monae- The Electric Lady
Only Exception: Prime Time, Dance Apocalyptic
6. R. Kelly- Black Panties- never thought I would put him here. I love R. but this was too raunchy. I do enjoy Legs Shakin' and Cookies

Complete Albums

AKA albums that I like more tracks that not
1. Justin Timberlake- The 20/20 experience
2. Beyoncé- Beyoncé
*When I initially listened to this song it felt like I had gone to the movie rental store and picked up a Katherine Heigl movie only to pop it in and discover that it was actually a sex tape she made with her husband. While watching this unexpected movie I found the filming to be great and the music to be catchy but was I really seeing what I thought I was? I have gotten used to the Beyoncé tracks and sing along but still have mixed feelings about the content. I really don't want to be in the bedroom with Yonce and Jay. *
Favorite tracks Grown Woman, Haunted, Mine, XO, Partition (I know), and Flawless
3. Drake- Nothing Was the Same
Faves: Worst Behavior, Wu Tang Forever, Own It, Come Through (reminds me of a pointless relationship I had :), The Motion LOVE!!!!!
4. The Dream- IV Play
I could not have made it through this year without this album *High Art,
Too Early, Loving You/Crazy, Tron, Holy Love, Divine*
5. TLC- 20
So glad they made the movie and this cd with the new track: Meant to Be
6. Paramore- Paramore
7. Tamar Braxton- Love and War
   All I can say is 'She did that!'

Artists I discovered in 2013

1.Kendrick Lamar- hats off to you sir
2. Big Freedia- always makes me bounce Track: Excuse
3. Childish Gambino

Songs I can't resist dancing to (in any setting)

1. Freaks- French Montana feat. Nicki Minaj
2. El Teke Teke- Crazy Design
3. Happy- Pharrell Williams
4. Love More/Trumpet Lights- Chris Brown
5. Collard Greens- Schoolboy Q
6. Excuse- Big Freedia
7. Work B*tch(remix) - Britney Spears
8. Twerk It- Busta Rhymes feat Nicki Minaj
9. Bezerk/ Love Game- Eminem
10. Black Skinhead- Kanye West
11. I.D.G.A.F- Mike Posner feat Pharrell Williams
12. Give it 2 U- Robin Thicke

Others- good tracks/ albums

1. Fall Out Boy- Save Rock and Roll
2. Jay Sean- Neon
3. Kanye West- Yeezus
4. Luke James- Whispers in the Dark - I haven't had much time with this album but I love Hurt me & Be Bad
5. Miguel- Do you...., Adorn, Don't Look Back, Arch and Point, How Many Drinks?

Surprise finds

1. The Saturdays- Living for the Weekend
2. Stooshe- London with the Lights On
3. Tori Kelly- Dear No One- this is so about me *listen*

To check out last year's list click Here.

Monday, December 30, 2013

My experience at the 2013 MS Walk

It has taken me a while to write this update following the walk because I had a few unexpected feelings during the event this year. This year as every year I participated in the MS Walk in Waco. My friend was diagnosed several years ago with MS and since I moved out of Waco I had not seen her in several months.
The MS walk for me at least had always been a time of fellowship and fun for the children. There were also typically new medications being shared and information for participants. Over the past few years the walk has been less exciting with fewer activities and fewer vendors. This year the walk took place on the same day as two other events and on a rather dreary day.
Though I was very excited to reunite with my team I realized that I had not seen my friend having a flare up in a while and was unprepared for it. I had been communicating with her over the months leading up to the race and she never mentioned her health status. Her mother informed me of just how it had been going for her and I was very shocked. Basically I had been hoping that regardless of what I knew of the disease process that it would totally skip my friend. So I spent the day being slapped in the face by my friend's mortality. As I watched her be unable to walk the entire route due to a flare up and an injured ankle, then being helped across the finish line by her husband and mother I almost cried.
Denial is such a beautiful liar. As long as I no longer see my friend every day at work and do not have to see the waxes and wanes of the disease being handled by her medication and body, I can pretend that she is doing fine. In my dream world she is not having anymore flare ups and in fact the disease is deciding to leave her alone all together.
Reality though is a mean slap in the face of hard work. My friend is fighting the disease every day. She is pushing through the pain and limitations to raise her two children and enjoy life with her husband. She is negotiating high drug prices and suffering if there is a fluctuation that requires her to go without. She is actively raising funds and advocating for a cure not just for herself but for those she has met with MS and those she will never meet. She is setting a wonderful example for her little girls of what a strong woman looks like and what she does.
So while I was feeling sad for my friend and sorry for myself I was missing the whole point. A dreary day and a small turnout does not diminish the hard work that we all did to raise funds and raise awareness. Every day we raise funds, post on Facebook, and tell our friends/coworkers about the event there is that much more of a chance that a new person will become invested in our cause.

Here is a short video of the walk
Below are a few photos that represent the walk for me.
I wore this every day until the walk as a reminder

The reason I walk

Hubbard's Crusaders

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil®, as part of the Advil® Relief in Action campaign. I received compensation for this post. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about Advil® as a product or its effectiveness.