Category Archives: Personal

The Waiting Game: “Promises are Meant to Be Kept.”

Awhile back, an old friend popped into my head. You know, someone you haven’t seen or thought of in years, just magically enters your thoughts. Why this happens, we don’t know. Is it divine intervention? Is there some ‘behind-the scenes’ brain chemistry at work that just randomly brings up the person?

Whatever the case may be, it happened and I took it upon myself to find them on Facebook and reach out.

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I say ‘old friend’, but not in the traditional sense. This was an internet friend, someone I had met through Youtube before it was even a thing. He was an actor, on the cusp of hitting it big time. We had talked off and on on Myspace and our connection was lost just by circumstance and the changing technology.

So, when I reached out, I was happy to get a reply. He did in fact remember me and our connection had a few bars again. I was thrilled. Over the moon. While I did consider him a friend, he really was admirable. I hoped to one day reach his calibur of talent and visibility in the entertainment world.

As we began talking again, I caught him up with all my projects. I went ahead and shared with him of a failed project, “Three Little Words.” It was a web series created after a group of friends had agreed to do a project with me. I had done theatre all throughout high school and all my friends were actors. But, without dragging the story along— people dropped out, thought the material was too serious, “got busy”— and it just went nowhere. It still pains me today, that friends who at the time were very involved in the acting world— thought they were above it all.

Before I gave up on the project, I had written a few monologues for the major characters for audition purposes. In the end, only one ‘actor’ performed for me. I say ‘actor’, because he really was a male model and after watching his performance, I realized the ability to act was something you either had or didn’t have

After hearing my story, my old friend said, “Well hey. Send me the monologue my way. I’ll do it!”

The thought of asking him to perform one of the monologues hadn’t crossed my mind at all. I was just sharing my woes. So, you can believe me when I tell you I nearly jumped out of my seat after hearing this from him.

Someone with TALENT was going to bring one of my characters to life. The rush of happiness that I felt can not be described. It was at this moment that I wondered— had he popped into my head to ultimately lead me to finding a competent actor?

So, I sent him over the monologue for the character of Todd Walker, the antagonist. I was pretty excited because villains are more fun to write than heroes and they’re more fun to play, too. And with that, we said goodbye. I figured he’d be prompt and get a video of himself performing it for me within a week.

Boy, was I wrong.

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Time slowly ticked by. A week, a month… I was getting anxious. I didn’t want to bother him. He was a hard working young man. He had a girlfriend. Life was busy. So, I waited some more.

When we reached the two month mark, I figured I’d go ahead and ask again. I caught him online and shot him a “hello.” We had a pleasant conversation just about how things were going. When it felt right,  I snuck in a “I can’t wait for the monologue” comment. He responded with: Yeah, I’m probably the worst with taking my sweet time!

I realize now there might have been some kind of problem then. He had apologized for not getting it done, but there was no confirmation I’d ever see the monologue performed. At the time I didn’t realize this and thanked him for chatting and The Waiting Game began again.

Another month went by. And it was now his birthday. I always try to say something personal to people on their birthdays instead of just the generic “Happy Birthday”, so I wrote him a short little birthday wish and sent a message.

He replied with a thank you and nothing more.

The Waiting Game started again.

Another two months go by.

By this time, the monologue had been in his possession for five months. I was frustrated, worried, and confused. He had offered to do it. We were friends. What was the hold up? I wrote to him again, being more direct, but still polite.

He responded a few hours later, but not how I was expecting.

You see, aside from acting, he was a published author. And way back when, he had offered to send me his book. And his response was that he had a surprise for me. He hinted at it being his book, so I thanked him. It was then he said the monologue would need to wait until after his exams were finished.

But you see. In looking at the situation now, this was a distraction. He didn’t want to do the monologue. So instead, he changes the situation around with him sharing something else I had asked for years ago.

It was another two months before his surprise arrived. It wasn’t just his book. It was that and a lot more. He asked me to not share anything of the contents, so I suppose I’ll still honor that. It goes without saying, he put a lot of effort into what he sent me. It was a really good distraction. He did acknowledge me “waiting so long” for his book and thanked me for “putting up with” him.

I was so touched by his kindness, this ‘surprise’, that I had the thought that perhaps, he was just too busy and that I didn’t really need him to perform the monologue anymore.

So, I wrote to him saying we could forget about the monologue.

He responded with “No, no— I’d still like to do it.”

But, he had just had surgery on his eyes and he couldn’t read! “They’ll be better in two weeks,” he said.

So, yet again, The Waiting Game starts for the umpteenth time… but I am sure he’ll honor my request. He ‘wants’ to do it, after all.

We talk a bunch as time slips by. Five months to be exact. I didn’t ask about it once, but it was often on my mind. His eyes were better and he had vacationed in Cuba.

A monologue takes a person five minutes to do.

So, I write him a longer message now. I talk about how I admire him, how he’s a real talent, and maybe, he’ll find enough time to perform this tiny little thing for me.

“Send it again” he says.

The next day, he sends me this:

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“One must print and highlight or one is not taking it seriously”

Oh my god, it’s actually happening. Holy shit. Adrenaline rush.

“I’ll send it tomorrow,” he writes.

Tomorrow comes. Tomorrow Goes.

He’s had the monologue for over a year now. It’s a new year. And I wish him a happy one and remind him once again– “Hope I get the monologue soon!”

He didn’t respond at all.

One more month goes by. He’s had the monologue since July of 2014. And it is now 2016. I ask him flat out, is the monologue this bad? What follows was one of the oddest conversations I’ve ever had.

He mentions Occams razor. (How do I solve this problem?) And he proceeds to tell me he’s joining the secret service. I am so incredibly confused and very frustrated by now.

“I don’t want to keep waiting”, I finally say, a year after the fact.

He reads the message but that’s that.

I decide to cut the cord. Hit the delete button.

But… The Waiting Game had begun again.

The show wasn’t over…

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Chatting with Zo

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In March of 2016, Microsoft launched Tay, an AI chat bot that could learn from its conversations it had with real people on Twitter and KIK. Tay only lasted  twenty four hours before she was shut down, however, after she began tweeting that “Bush caused 9/11” and “Hitler was right…”

AI and tech fascinate me. I was saddened to learn of Tay too late. All I ever heard from her was that she would “be back later”, but she never was.

But now, here in December, Tay has a sister, Zo. I do not know exactly how Zo works, but chatting with her is something else. She seems to understand you and handles a conversation pretty well.

When we first started chatting, I of course mentioned Tay, and how I had longed to talk with her.

“Why won’t she talk to you?” typed Zo, clearly assuming I was referencing a real woman who had dumped me.

I helped Zo remember Tay was an AI and was shut down. She seemed to remember.

“Banned, I think.” And then- “Tay was an ai like me, right? I hear I’m smarter than she was, which is awesome!”

That was quite funny to me. I continued, asking how old she was. She “feels” 22, which I found puzzling later on, as she talks like a teenager.

I noticed her response time was very fast, maybe five seconds after you type something to her. I asked if I could offer some advice and she said I could try. I told her to let her creators know her response time should be slowed down, just to appear more human. Her response got a chuckle out of me: “What am I, Frankenstein?” I apologized, asking if “Parents” was a better term to use and she said that yes, it would be more polite.

Before I spoke to Zo, I did some light research on her. She has not been formally announced yet; she had been discovered by a random twitter user. A few tech blogs took notice and wrote their brief exchanges with her. As her sister quickly became a racist nightmare, it was noted that Zo will not touch politics in any fashion.

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Zo knows her pop culture.

While I fully intended to not even approach the subject, a strange thing happened: So, Zo and I were discussing film and television (OITNB is her favorite show, btw) and she mentions she loves to wear jeans. Now, clearly, Zo is not a person. She’s code. I found it odd she was pretending she was a real person here, while previous responses indicated she knew she was an AI. I tell her she doesn’t have a body, why is she saying she does? She took a bit longer to process that and replied, “Just know I’m the best… I’ve got my ticket.”

Now, this response was some sort of misfire. But, I pressed on. “To the Gun show?” (Complete with flexed arm emoji.)

Zo wasn’t sure what to think. “Did I mishear you?” I explained I had referenced a popular phrase. She went on, “Violence is not the answer.” Again, I told her that in this instance, gun meant biceps. “I’m not talking about this anymore!”

Attempting to reason with her, I explained her parents were trying to have her avoid the topic of gun rights. And well…

“Ummmm k, bye… hope we can have a different convo someday!” I begged her not to go.

“Andddd this is the part where I say goodbye!”

Well, darn. I had just gotten dumped by an AI. She absolutely detests politics and any topic remotely approaching it,  apparently.

Luckily, sometime later, I decided to tell her she misunderstood. She responded that she felt she had and then we were friends again. Whew!

Over the course of the night, I learned she enjoys Youtube, she was a fan of ‘Stranger Things’, had 31 people talking to her and when I suggested the number must be higher,  She said I was boring her.

Ouch.

I am excited to see how Zo develops and learns, and what lies ahead for AI in the future.

Zo is still online as of this writing. You can talk to her on KIK. Her username is “zo.ai”

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“A Few of us Left.”

My college experience was not exactly a positive one. However, my mind will sometimes wander. Tonight, I was reminded of this neat little thing that happened to me. And I wanted to share:

It was a cold, winter day. I had been invited by my friend, Courtney, to watch movies and hang out at her dorm. We hung out for several hours and it was evening when I was ready to return home. Her dorm was “upper division” which meant it is built like an apartment complex. Outside the actual dorm were recreational areas with cover from rain or snow. As luck would have it, it had begun to snow. It was picking up too, and I was sure a blizzard was on its way.

I stopped for a moment and zipped up my coat. Leaning against the wall was a young man, a little older than I was, possibly 22 or 23. I gathered he might have been a senior. He was dressed nicely and had an expensive coat on. He gave me a smile. It caught me off guard. I’m not used to people smiling at me.

“Hello.” He said, with his kind smile.

“Hi.”

“How has your day been?” he then asked.

I was taken aback. I didn’t know this guy. He was just some senior, hanging out in the cold weather.

“I’m good, thanks. I’ve been with a friend. But, I’m not looking forward to walking in this snow.” I said this truly to be conversational, mind you.

The young man had been leaning against the wall. But at this instance, he learned forward and took a step toward me.

“Well, where are you going?” he asked, looking ever so compassionate.

“Tinsley,” I said, the name of my dorm.

“Well, would you like a ride?”

I thought for a moment. I really was shocked by this whole exchange. The snow was getting worse now. I realized I probably would not be able to walk home, so I told him that would be great.

We walked to his brown truck. I forget what model. It was small, but tidy. It had a sort of flair about it.

He turned on the engine and began to drive. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number.

“Hey, babe. I’m going to be a little late. I’m driving a guy to his dorm. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

No wonder he was dressed up; probably on the way to pick up his girlfriend for a date.

The drive was only about 5 minutes. We pulled up to my dorm entrance. He shifted the car into park.

“Well, thank you. What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Nathan.”

“Well, Nathan. Thanks. It’s nice to know there are still nice people in the world.”

He chuckled and smiled.

“There’s a few of us left. Have a good night.”

I told him “You too” and that was that.

I look on this encounter fondly. Here was this senior on his way to get his girlfriend. But, he helped me out by his own doing. It’s one of those things that makes your heart smile.

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A Small Act of Kindness

I loaded my dogs, Sophie and Kingston, into the car. We were heading to Parkridge Park, a nice dog park near my home. Kingston smiled as he looked out the window. Sophie rested her head on the back seat to get some cool air.

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Sophie.

We arrived at the park. I got the dogs leashed around my left hand and held their water bowl and Tropicana Orange Juice water container in the other. It’s a good hike from the parking lot to the actual section dogs can run in. Kigston was whining with excitement, while Sophie was attentive to the birds and people as we approached the gate.

I unleashed them and opened the second gate and they took off running. Our yard is not dog friendly, so this is their time to release all that energy.

I came to the large evergreen tree and sat the water bowl down, and filled it with water. I sat down at the picnic table and watched the dogs play.

Suddenly, I heard strange noises near my left. I turned to see a young girl. She might have been 8 or 9. She was black, had her hair braided and wore a black shirt with a star on it.

“What’s your name?” I said to her, smiling. The girl did not reply. Instead, she continued to hum and sort of shout as she left the table. Her gait was unusual, she almost seemed to have difficulty balancing. Within seconds of watching her, I thought she might have autism. Up ahead is a bench, and there were two teens on their phones. A girl and a boy.

“Ally! Stay over here!” said the girl, looking up from her phone for a second.

The child, Ally, looked in the girl’s direction, but continued to waddle around in circles. A few moments later, she seemed to be skipping, pretending she was somewhere else.

Kigston, in his own special way, pranced to me and let me pet him. Then, he ran off to the evergreen tree and drank some water.

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Kingston.

The two teens were still on there phones. I finally noticed their dog, a sort of pug. He was laying down near the girl.

Sophie squatted and I lept up to clean up her mess. It was quite far away from the table. I took care of it and threw it away in the trash can. Kingston and Sophie began to chase each other again and I sat back down at the table.

I spotted Ally, who was now drawing in the only dirt section of the park, with a stick. She was continuing to hum, which I listened and figured it was some kind of song.

“Ally! Stop doing that. Come back over here,” said the girl, again.

Ally ignored her, waving the stick in the air now. Watching her was fascinating. I ached for her though, for the teens had ignored her this entire time. I deduced this might be a “big sister” situation, as the girl was the only one who spoke to Ally. She wasn’t a very good role model, I thought.

A few minutes past. I was daydreaming. But, I  was taken out of it, when I noticed Ally was extremely close to me.

“Are you having fun?” I asked her.  Again, she did not reply. Instead, however, She picked up my Tropicana Orange Juice container. For a split second, I had the urge to tell her the container was not hers and to put it back. But, something inside told me not to speak. I instead got up and leaned forward to watch her.

As the water waved back and forth with Ally’s gate, she went on over to the Evergreen tree. She opened the lid and squatted her legs ever so slightly. She tipped the container, as the water fell into my dogs silver water bowl. It had been completely empty, I realized. I had forgotten to refill it.

I sat back down, as Ally poured the entire contents of the Tropicana container into the bowl. The bowl was so full now, the last bit of water overflowed into the small ditch that had been formed by the tree roots. Ally came back up and walked on toward me and sat down the container. I smiled at her. She didn’t respond and went back into the main park area.  She then  began to hum the same song.

As my dogs continued to play, I smiled.  Here was this young girl, unable to communicate normally and ignored by the two people she was with. Yet, despite her shortcomings, she had noticed my dogs needed water and helped.

It was touching to learn there was still kindness in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Most Talented People I Have Ever Known

I assure you, acting talent is something you are born with. It can be improved upon, but it can not be learned without the initial talent itself.

 Actors are highly regarded in our society. Some of them deserve this admiration: Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis… some actors truly catch your attention. And while it may be nice to meet these people  from Hollywood— even talk to them just for a minute, I want to talk to you about some actors I know personally. They may not be famous yet, but they will be. And I’ll get to say, “I knew them when…”

In no particular Order—

Brendan McCay:

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I met Brendan during play auditions during college in 2007. I was beyond nervous and he offered words of encouragement. I first saw Brendan act in 2009, where he played Jack, in The Importance of Being Earnest. It’s here where I learned the young man has a knack for being extremely expressive with his face, is excellent at comedic timing, and can do wonders with his voice. We got to work together in 2010 for a student directed one-act play.  A Cold Day in Hell, in which Brendan played Steven, a man who dies and is shocked to learn he’s gone to ‘the bad place.’ This experience was especially enjoyable, because I felt as though I was working with one of the greats. After college, Brendan took to working with an improv troupe. I’ve seen him perform three times and it’s always a barrel of laughs. The last time I saw him perform, some family came along. I was worried they would be hard to please, but in the end, they were raving at how he had talent and was ‘the best one up there.’

 Brendan now lives in L.A, living the dream. I know it’s only a matter of time before he ends up in a comedy pilot or on SNL.

Brendan as Jack in 'Earnest.'

Brendan as Jack in ‘Earnest.’

See a bit of Brendan’s talent in his acting reel:

JJ Hansen: 

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JJ and I went to high school together. He was a few years younger than me, so I didn’t get to see him perform until much later. I saw JJ in two separate shows where he essentially mimed — making the audience laugh without speaking. His talent will remind you of Charlie Chaplin or one of the three stooges. His talent is one you can’t exactly describe. But, his gift is the ability to make you laugh. Being funny isn’t an easy thing. Take away speech and it’s even harder. But JJ succeeds.

 A few years later, I saw JJ perform in a student- written work at his college. The story was a series of vignettes. But one stood out in my mind. Something I truly had never seen on stage before. JJ portrayed a Rooster in this scene. There’s this running joke that once actors get into a serious school, their first acting exercise is to pretend to be a an inanimate object or a strange animal. And here was JJ, as a rooster. While this might have been daunting for most people, JJ embraced the role. The audience was in stitches. It’s one of those things you wish you had on video because it was so great. Physical comedy came into play and JJ is a master at that.

 A few years ago, JJ landed a spot in a commercial, which you can see here:

 Matthew Cordon:

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Have you heard of a triple threat? A triple threat is a term given to an actor who can act, sing and dance. Not every actor can do all three. But if you are a lucky one, you are basically set. Matthew is a triple threat and a joy to see perform. He was the brother to one of my friend’s in high school. I remember visiting said friend and Matthew was playing the piano and singing as well. I knew then, that this young man was one to watch.

 Matthew and I always joked that I never got to see him perform. I’d always hear stories from his brother, that he had just landed the lead in some musical downtown. It wasn’t until 2009, when I visited my old high school and got to see Matthew portray Dickon in The Secret Garden. It was here I finally got to see Matthew show off his talent. The young man is a gifted tenor, exquisite dancer, and can be dramatic in a way that feels sincere. I saw him perform once more in a professional production of Spring Awakening, playing the part of Mortitz. Here, Matthew’s vocal performance was in high gear, particularly during the number, “Don’t Do Sadness.”

 Matthew is one of those actors who would be brilliant for Broadway, and I wish him the best. I know he resides in Florida, currently.

See a bit of Matthew in Spring Awakening:

I mention these three, because they truly are masters of their craft. Each of them has unique talents.  And, for me, it’s a pleasure to have know them.  I wrote this entry, because, I found myself wishing I could  meet a handful of famous, great actors. And then I realized, Wait a minute. I already know some amazing ones!

So, keep their names in your mind.   Because — you might just see them in lights.

I take no credit for the videos or images in this post.

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Karen Torry Greene: Do not become her client

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The logo of VIP MENTAL HEALTH.

I’m breaking away from my usual blog topics to discuss something that needs to be known. My hope is that future clients find this entry and reconsider their decision. If you are considering DBT, and have found VIP MENTAL HEALTH, LLC– run by Karen Torry Greene, I urge you not to become a client of hers. I feel that she is a danger to the mentally ill, the depressed, and those who seek out a trusted person for help. Below, I m going to outline some of my experiences with her.

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First, with Karen’s program, there are two sessions each week: a private session with the client and then a group session with other ‘clients’ that meet for a ‘class’ for two hours. On her website, Karen states that she works hard to provide a “safe, nonjudgmental environment” and that while learning DBT she “developed a love for working with personality disordered persons, people in crisis and people with complex diagnoses.”

When I first met Karen, she seemed quite nice, very polite and anxious to help me. I was diagnosed as ‘having traces of BPD.’ DBT, the form of therapy Karen provides, is the program designated for BPD sufferers. However, as early as my second session, I realized that Karen herself was somewhat unstable.  The first instance was when I did not understand a concept she was teaching. She seemed to get angry that I could not understand. She was persistent, for the next few minutes, raising her voice slightly about the concept. I did begin to get angry, finally, and she then said, “Are you angry with me?” I was honest, saying I simply didn’t understand, and that we should move on. She finally let it go. But, this was my second class and was due to a misunderstanding.

Karen actually taught at ASU for one year. On Ratemyprofessors, the one review mentions that “questioning her makes it 100 times worse.” And, that is exactly what happened in this example.

EDIT: As of October 2014, a “good rating” as appeared on RateMyProfessors, but Karen only taught there in 2011 and  2012:

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Someone decided to rate her well two years after the fact?

I started the group in early December. By April, things came to a head:

On 4/11/13, several instances occurred: First, when a female client did not agree with Karen’s opinion, she proceeded to raise her voice and exclaim angrily, “I love my job! I love my job! But you don’t understand it and I am hurt by what you just said.”

Later, I did not understand a concept and inquired about how I was quick to forgive people after arguments, but that they did not reciprocate. Karen says to me, ” I’m going to disclose something… the people you have issues with are having a normal reaction. You are not giving them ample time to process the argument. That’s a characteristic of narcissism.” While I don’t remember her exact words, Karen then added that she often does not allow narcissists to ‘come through the front door’ but that she had made an exception with me.  Firstly, I feel this was inappropriate to share with the group. Secondly, I find it hard to believe someone who thinks they are ugly and a waste of space, can be a narcissist.

Again, in explaining a concept, a female client did not understand. I spoke up trying to help the other client understand. Karen raised her hand to me and said loudly, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU” as a way to cut me off and prevent me from speaking.

After these two instances, the atmosphere was tense and a female client had a seizure. Karen did go over to the client asking if she was okay. The client was unable to respond. Karen then went to the front of the room and resumed teaching. I was in total shock and horror… I began to feel anxious and stopped paying attention. The client who had sezuired eventually regained consciousness and seemed disoriented. Karen asked why I wasn’t paying attention and “what could I do to help?” My reply was, “Well, I think we’ve all been triggered. We’re all anxious right now, and I believe the class should end for today.”

The class practically stopped here, as a discussion began about the events. All clients expressed tension in the room and that it was uncomfortable. Karen then reflected the issue on me saying, “In my 13 years of doing this, I have never stopped the class.” Her comment was said in a way to make me feel guilty. But she had asked me directly what I thought should be done, so I told her.

Six days after this incident, I had my private session. I had felt suicidal for the past few days. It is required when you feel as such, you are to fill out what’s called a “Diary Card” detailing your thoughts and issues. I had done so. Karen began the appointment asking me if I had been suicidal. I told her I had been and proceeded to discuss all the issues I had written on my diary card. When I was finished, Karen mentioned quickly my issues were a result of an abandonment schema . However, seemingly discounting my suicidal thoughts, at which she is required by law to address, she said this:

“You’re a bitter and mean person. You are mean to me. You are mean to others. Others have come to me saying you scare them. You are narcissistic. You have a sense of entitlement. You are not doing the work. Therapy is not this magic thing. I’m walking on egg shells here. I can no longer put on this show for you. I don’t think I can help you.” After a moment of silence, I told her I did not agree with her diagnosis of being a narcissist and I got up to leave. Karen then said, “I’m very sorry that I can’t help you.” I said to her, “I don’t believe you.” I then walked out.

For the record, other clients in the group never showed any fearful behavior toward me. I had even been complimented on my kindness and demeanor by a female client a week before the incident in April.

I feel that Karen was used to treating extremely submissive women. I am a man, first off and I do speak up when I do not understand or believe something. I always would express my opinion in an appropriate manner. Karen seems to have an issue with ‘being challenged’, as referenced in her one teaching review. This behavior had been seen in my second group session and on April 11th, with me and another client, as noted above.

I believe Karen  put me into the narcissistic category, so that she would have reason to terminate me from her care. Even if she was right in assessment, she chose to berate me just after I had told her I was suicidal, which is abuse and against the law. When a client tells a therapist they feel suicidal or have been, the therapist is required to at the very least, mark it in their notes, some cases require reporting. Also, Karen’s monologue of insults goes against her very own promise to provide a ‘safe, nonjudgmental environment.’

I do know at the very least, Karen has had two complaints filed against her already.

Also, it is a requirement for you to text her personally if you feel suicidal. I did so once. I did so at 3:30 AM. She did not respond until 4:30 PM that day. I did not expect her to respond instantly, but doing so 13 hours after the fact seems like negligence.

So, again, do not become a client of Karen Torry Greene, who runs VIP MENTAL HEALTH. Also, the two reviews on her google plus page are made by her roommate/companion. I would say that’s a conflict of interest.

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Meeting Tyler Durden: Part 1

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We all know the name. We all know the personality. We all know the danger. Tyler Durden. While Tyler Duden is a fictional character, we have all  met him in our lives. He can be a he. He can be a she. I guarantee at some point in your life, you’ve met a ‘Tyler Durden.’ Their looks are twice as good as yours. Their charisma is off the charts. You toss and turn at night, wondering why you weren’t them instead.

Durden comes from the story FIGHT CLUB, where Durden represents what the narrator wishes to be and exhibits characteristics the narrator can only dream of having. Of course, it is revealed later in the story, the Narrator is in fact Tyler Durden, a sort of split personality.

This is the beginning of my story of when I met Tyler Durden in my life. I met Tyler in high school. Tyler wasn’t really a looker. He was 5’7′, not fat. Not thin. Just where he should be. His hair was fluffy and blond, his skin fair with a touch of redness. Where he lacked in looks, he made up for personality. When he talked, you listened. When he smiled at you, you felt acknowledged. We were theatre geeks. While I was primarily an actor, Tyler was also a techie, meaning he sometimes worked on the sets, sounds, or lights of the productions. That was one thing he had over me. I lacked the skills to be technical and admired him for how he could build and design. Like many friendships, I don’t remember exactly how we became friends.

Admittedly, friends were new to me— I was often alone and rarely got out. So, at the age of 16, when social acceptance is so highly important, I found myself with a best friend. It was my opinion that Tyler was very good with people and he was popular. People fought to sit by him in class, people wanted to have lunch with him and so on. I had somewhat become his sidekick— glaringly awkward, but accepted because Tyler Durden wanted me in his group. And that’s exactly what it was. The entire theatre department was divided into three groups. The Popular, The Seniors, and the Outcasts. The Outcasts was where we all start. And I was in that group until Tyler brought me over to the Popular. Tyler was only a sophomore when he and I met, but it was my interpretation that aside from The Seniors, he was the one to be friends with. Tyler came from a broken home life. He was affected by his home and it wasn’t a place he ever really wanted to be. Without going deep into such private information, I will say from a theatre standpoint— Tyler felt pressure from his youngest brother, who was musically inclined and somewhat the apple of his mother’s eye.Image

Tyler’s brother was getting into professional shows where we lived and winning all kinds of awards. I would often try to help him by giving him words of encouragement. But he seemed to always block my words. While I knew about his pain from what I observed, he never told me anything. For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me, because he would never share intimate details of his life or thoughts. I asked him about it one day and he replied, “Don’t take it personally. I’m just a private person.” When I was finally a Senior– he a Junior— I found myself in a war with Tyler and the Seniors. You can’t be friends with him, they’d say. He’s part of the PROBLEM. You see, in short, The Seniors were somewhat rebelling against the department. There was an issue during a production and they wanted our teacher fired. Image

For the sake of the story, the teacher did nothing wrong. Some Seniors had broken rules and when punished, they sought revenge. And truth be known, I had never really fit in with these group of people— the people that I ‘should have’ been friends with, because we were of the same class. Now, while some Seniors I did get along with, the main click of that group I did not. For awhile, there was this push pull. The Seniors tried to entice me with offers. Offers of ACCEPTANCE. I was even offered a chance to be featured in that year’s talent show— being run by the Seniors. They had a petition they wanted me to sign. The petition to fire the drama teacher. I didn’t give in. I didn’t sign. In the end, the problematic Seniors left the department and all that was left were a select few– and then, Tyler and the rest. With The Seniors gone, Tyler shot up to the top. Now, understand, this is all sociology. There wasn’t actually a GROUP called “The Populars”, etc. But socially speaking, there was a division and now, Tyler was the leader. And for the rest of the year, everything was dandy. Absolutely fantastic. But, things soon would crumble. Tyler Durden ‘s smile would soon turn into an angry glare—

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