Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Teach a man to fish.

I was told by a staff tonight that I have two career choices: lawyer or comedian.....or both. His comment came directly after I enacted stepping off my soap box and said, "Okay, I'm done." :)

All anxiety issues aside, being in an adult, co-ed residential treatment home is interesting, trying, annoying, humorous, frustrating-as-all-get-out, and full of "are you serious?" moments. There are 16 "adults" living in this house, but at times I feel like I'm in kiddy-garden..... pee on the toilet seats, apple juice and milk boxes at every meal, and crayola markers scattered everywhere. On top of that, there are some "rules"....if you will....that are straight-up obnoxious. I have no problem with rules (I prefer guidelines though :) ) if they make sense. I want to understand so that I can get on board. And when I say "get on board" I don't mean so that I can like, love, or cheer for the rule....I mean, get on board in the sense that I understand the reasoning for the implementation of the rule. For example.... I find speed limits incredibly annoying at times; however, I understand the reasoning for speed limits, therefore, I'm willing to 1.) abide by the speed limit, or 2.) risk the consequences if I choose not to abide.

What spurred this lively discussion (well....speech is probably more accurate) behind the closed, but definitely not private staff office door, was my choice to sit in the living room and eat a bowl of fabulous goodness, when we have been specifically asked to only eat in the kitchen or kitchenette out of "courtesy." Oh boy.....this whole situation is WAY more detailed and "Kristen dramatic" than, I'm sure, most of you care to read about, so I'll try to summarize. Haha! :)

I am kind of opinionated....okay, a lot opinionated. :) Surprise! I generally don't hesitate to let you know how I feel about something, and in therapy this has been found to be very helpful as self-disclosure happens easily. And to be fair to myself, I'd say that a lot of times I am asserting myself rather than merely sharing my opinion. As was the case in the plastic bag situation....

Anytime we leave the house we have to check in with staff upon our return, at which time they look through our bags to ensure we don't take anything to our rooms that we aren't supposed to keep in there (i.e. food, razors, etc...). We were also not allowed to have plastic bags, so we would have to fumble our way to our rooms trying to balance all our hygiene products, or whatnot, in our arms because our plastic bags were immediately thrown away. However, right next to my bed is a large trash can with a 13-gallon plastic bag lining it. ???? Many of you are probably smirking right now and thinking to yourself....."Oh boy....I can see where this is going."

Within my first week here I asked for the logic behind our shopping bags being taken away from us. The answer I was given? "Because of safety reasons." With the most puzzled look, I cocked my head to the side and said, "Really?" I thought about it for a few days wondering what safety would be compromised by allowing us to keep our shopping bags if we had access to 13-gallon trash bags in every single bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen. Not only did we have free reign with all these large trash bags, there were also many unused spares on the bottom of each trash can, conducive for us folk struggling with contamination OCD as well. A little sadistic, I know....but seriously, who made that rule? So, without further ado, I began to question. And question and question and question I did....for weeks....until that rule was "reexamined" and "modified." We are now allowed to keep our shopping bags. :)

Now....back to my bowl of fabulous goodness. I was too full to eat dessert at lunch today, so I decided to save some for my evening snack, which I often do. Like I said earlier, we have been asked to eat our snacks in the dining room or kitchenette out of "courtesy." Courtesy for who exactly....that was never made super clear. This whole discussion and rule enforcement about snacks just came about recently and abruptly. I questioned...many of us questioned...and I agreed to abide by the rule only AFTER I was given "proof" or evidence to support their decision. (That's where I'm leaving out all the nitty-gritty, yadda-yadda-yadda details.) A couple days later, the word "rule" was replaced by "out of courtesy." Interesting.

My guess as to why this was brought up in the first place is: 1.) People were leaving their snack wrappers and dishes everywhere. Definitely a problem that needed to be addressed. And 2.) This particular facility is for people with anxiety or anxiety and eating disorders, therefore, it's my assumption that eating in designated areas is out of courtesy to those struggling through their anxiety surrounding food. bowl of fabulous goodness, take 3.... :) I took my bowl containing two slices of pound cake, heaped vanilla ice cream on top, poured an insane amount of strawberries over the ice cream and topped it all off with a whopping dollop of whipped cream. If that isn't fabulous goodness, I don't know what is. :) Excited to dig in, I notice that four of the five chairs at the kitchenette table are occupied by residents struggling with eating disorders, but the living room is completely empty. Let me ask YOU....what is more courteous....taking the fifth seat and attempting to enjoy my much anticipated dessert in front of individuals who wouldn't be here if they could do the same, or, eating my dessert in the living room? Tell me, which is more courteous?

Within minutes of digging into my fabulous goodness, a staff approached me and said, "You're not supposed to be eating in the living room." It was all I could do not to turn her face into a whipped cream carnival attraction. I pleasantly said, "Okay", finished and enjoyed every last bite of my fabulous goodness in the living room, put my dirty dishes where they belonged, then gathered all the staff and posed to them the same question, "Which is more courteous?"

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

Okay, I'm done. :)


  1. as one of the past "rule-makers" in your life, I had to laugh at your latest post. :-) Loved it!! BTW, wondering if you got the latest package? Praying lots for you!

  2. ROTFL!! You crack me up, Kristen. I can't help but smile as I picture you posing this question...very calmly, yet convincingly, to a full staff. My smile broadens as I imagine the inner conflict the staff experiences as they realize YOU are the one making sense in this situation, but alas, their hands are tied as the rule has already been handed down, set in stone, if you will. As Barbara Coloroso states, "Just because it's not wrong, doesn't make it right." :-) I applaud your assertiveness, thoughtfulness, and courtesy... and I envy your metabolism! Thanks for sharing!

  3. "It was all I could do not to turn her face into a whipped cream carnival attraction."

    I would love to see that, dear Kristen. I would just love to see that.

    Your logic is intact. Thanks for doing what is logically courteous, which, at times, contradicts the rule book's standard of courtesy. I'll admit this: If I had been one of the four at that tense table in the kitchenette, I would have been envious to see you eat your pile of decadence as I nibbled and chewed my fist-sized apple. Cake sounds tastier.


  4. ahhhh haaa haaaa ha! Don't MESS with Kristen and dessert! That's where the line was crossed ...
    Sounds like your free spirit is taking over. That's a beautiful thing.
    I Love it! Love YOU