How to tell if your friends are reading your emails

Be very very careful with this. You can’t accuse because then they’ll call you paranoid. There are indeed ways to “tag” an email and then you can see if it has been opened. You cannot tell if a person has read the email. But I can tell you, from experience, that there are tell-tale signs of not having read the email whether it has been opened or not.

Let’s say you write a five-paragraph email. This isn’t unreasonable. Most of my blog entries are more than five paragraphs long. It probably doesn’t take that long unless you’re using a cell phone or you’re not that fast at writing.

Either way, we can assume that the first paragraph is about one thing, the second about another, etc.

I figured out my friend wasn’t reading my emails but it took a long time for me to realize this. When she responded, she ONLY responded to the first or second paragraph in my email. Normally I wouldn’t be concerned but this was a rather consistent pattern. I finally concluded that she never read down to the end. I also concluded that my emails were unwelcome.

I thought, as a test run, to put something really outrageous in the bottom paragraphs. Something that, if she read it, she would be sure to respond. But why bother? It was getting to be more and more obvious. It wasn’t that she wasn’t reading, it was that she didn’t really want to be friends.

I guess I am old school. I put a lot of effort into my emails and my hope is that in doing so, I am reaching out and furthering communication. I don’t want to bother with people who do not appreciate the effort.

Yes there are teachers out there who do not read the papers they grade. Ah, shame on them!

Why standard treatments don’t work

Now don’t get me wrong. Standard, cookie-cutter treatment does work. For cookies. Are you a cookie?

I hear time and time again that a person tried one thing, tried another, tried another, and still, I hear about struggles and heartbreak. What went wrong?

What I know about most therapies is that the aim is to replace your current beliefs with new beliefs. Therapy has “succeeded” if you embrace the new beliefs as your own. Therapists rarely admit this, of course. They’d give away that they’re on big power trips if they did. But let’s look at some of the standard responses that therapists might give to their clients. I will use as example a person who suffers from binge eating.

“You are bingeing because you can’t cope. You need better coping skills.”

Have you heard something like this from a therapist? Let’s break down this statement and see why, exactly, this approach tends to fail.

The first statement, “You can’t cope,” is a statement of incapability. It says, “You can’t.” It immediately puts the therapist above the client, because the assumption is that the therapist, of course, can cope. (They are often far more messed up than their clients.)

The assumption that a person binge eats due to poor coping is overreaching and possibly untrue, but there’s no room for anything else in this statement. Client, you are incapable, and your bad coping is to blame for all your problems. I know better!

So now, the blame is turned back on the client’s deficiency, which is quite typical of the various therapies out there. The therapy is supposed to “fix” the client’s deficiency, which the therapist has identified (and may not exist) with the therapist’s superior way of life. The balance of power is clear here if only you take a step back and see what is happening.

The client leaves with a sense of inner weakness. “I need to learn better coping skills. The therapist is right. I am a poor coper. Just like she says.” The aim of therapy from then on is to knock down everything the client does and says because the therapist’s ways are superior.

This would be great if there really were these totally superior, benevolent, perfect human beings out there. Unfortunately, very few therapists fit the mold.

I think the problem is the identify-and-fix approach. This means the therapist decides what your problems are, or, rather, disorders, and then, “treats” the supposed defects. Identify and fix.

This is the basis for every treatment plan out there. Have you ever seen one? There might be one column for a diagnosis, and another for action plan. How about this….

Problem: Patient restricts her intake.

Treatment: Patient will contract to following a meal plan.

If you ever fall totally off the bandwagon, you probably got blamed by your therapist, who turned all alarmist and even incarcerated you for it. This is how therapy works. But truthfully, what happened here? The therapy failed. You didn’t.

Time and time again, I hear patients saying, “I failed. I have to go back in.” Really? I don’t see it as failure of the individual, but failure of whatever identify-and-fix plan fell through.

Today is the day for no more identify-and-fix. I don’t want to hear about any more therapy failures.  Today is the day for starting to work on realistic and achievable goals that YOU set for yourself. Today is the day to start asking yourself what you really want to do, and how you are going to go about achieving those goals. Whatever it is, imagine it now.

I think many times we sidestep away from our lives and go into black holes (such as an eating disorder) because we have lost the passion we need to drive forward. So we get stuck in the hole. We are almost protected by that hole. It serves a purpose, maybe even for a long time. It might be comforting there. Oddly, once stuck in the hole, we forget about the outside, about the path we were on.

I do not see that as poor coping. After all, the hole is useful and most likely, you’re using it to its full capacity. Why? Because you cope very, very well. Shame on those therapists who knocked you down and told you you can’t cope!

I know all kinds of black holes I’ve seen people in. I’ve seen people stuck in the bad marriage hole for a decade or more. They keep spinning their wheels, trying and trying. They forget about the job promotion, about that gardening hobby they loved so much, about the ski vacation they hoped to enjoy in the winter.

Passion will bring a person out of the hole. Here are some examples…..

Jack got sober after many years. After many years of failing at the very same things his siblings were so good at, such as academics, (which he really didn’t like anyway) he found his sobriety something he could be truly proud of. Finally, he wasn’t a loser at something. He found others who had also found sobriety, and he realized his past drinking life wasn’t a waste after all. He began to use his story to help other people. He found he loved doing what he was doing. He was valued at gatherings of former drunks. He belonged now. He began to expand the horizons of his spiritual faith which he found helped him relate to other people on many new levels. He didn’t want that drink in his hand anymore.

And then there’s Kathy. Kathy kept trying to kill herself. She couldn’t stop. She also cut herself, which she called a mini-suicide. She couldn’t stop thinking about death. She focused on death and was caught up in that cycle. Each time she tried, she got put into a hospital, where, for a short time, she swore she’d never ever do it again. But she did. People were afraid the next time would be her last.

What happened? Kathy was centered on her desire to die. This is a black hole that will seriously fester and won’t stop unless that nasty thing passion breaks the cycle. Kathy will likely resist becoming passionate about the rest her life again, because that will take her out of the comfort of the hole. If I were to challenge Kathy, she’d tell me it’s forever. She’d get mad, insisting her “illness” can only be managed. She’d insist on the permanent brain disease theory. Why? It protects her, it keeps her inside the comfort of the hole, so she clings to the false belief of permanence. The false belief works for her and reinforces the comfort and security of the hole. Right now, she thrives right where she is. But she might agree it’s not really productive.

I can challenge her all I want, but that’s going to lead to a dead end. What could, in fact, happen, will be that Kathy will cling even harder to the permanence myth if I push her too hard.

Therapy will both push Kathy, since it’s a therapist’s job to fix problems, and also, reinforce her tenacity. This leads to the “roller coaster” effect that can even mimic bipolarity, but actually therapy causes it.  So in and out she goes, round and round, and who profits? The mental health system, since they have a great customer who uses up a lot of “services.”

What will break this awful cycle? I don’t know exactly how, but Kathy will. She’ll get fed up, my guess is, and I can only hope that she gets fed up very soon, before she ends up in a state institution or…dead. We don’t want either of those things, right? If you ask Kathy, you’ll get an ambiguous response about State, since she wants to let everyone know she has no desire to help herself. And again, I ask who is benefiting?

These terrible cycles don’t happen for no reason. Someone really is benefiting, whether it’s a doctor, therapist, the patient, school, the family, or even an abusive husband or boss. Traditional mental health care doesn’t want to admit this. Therapy rarely addresses the benefit concept. If it does, it often horribly misses the boat, and does more harm than good with its goofed identify-and-fix protocol.

Kathy was going to a therapist named Joel for a while, who, without even asking, blamed her parents. Joel insisted on grueling family sessions. Kathy is in her 40’s, and her parents are elderly and were confused over the necessity of the “sessions.”. The continued blameful attitude of the therapist, sadly, broke up the family and none of them are even speaking to Kathy right now. After the last family session, Kathy attempted suicide again. While she was recovering in ICU, she got a call from Joel saying he wasn’t her therapist anymore. Just what she needed. The call came while she was still on oxygen.

Kathy’s friends blamed Kathy for Joel’s very quick exit, and also blamed her for the split in the family. All this dug her deeper into the hole.

I hope she makes it. In my opinion, she’s going to have to take control of her life. If you want to be in the driver’s seat (think: driver’s license) you have to earn that place in the front seat. You’re not going to be able to keep it if you lack a sense of responsibility. And there’s the key. Gaining control means you take responsibility for your actions. This is an extremely tough concept for someone like Kathy who has been listening to therapists continue to ramble on about her disease controlling her.

No no no no no. I don’t know of any disease that has a persona. Therapists love to do this, though. They’ll tell you your disease is a person that talks to you and tells you to do stuff. Here I gotta laugh because they literally push voice-hearing on people. I think they do this out of desperation since they don’t want to admit they don’t know what else to do. “It was your illness that made you do it.”

But what’s in this statement? An excuse, really. You didn’t do it, the Devil made you do it. I’ve heard this so, so many times, and varieties of it, enough to really make me…excuse me….puke.

You didn’t do it. It wasn’t your fault, it was your mania. It was your chemical imbalance that caused you to purchase an airline ticket and fly to Los Angeles and then, try to catch the attention of a movie star you were sure was in love with you. You’re not responsible for the thousands of dollars you’ve now charged to your credit card. Oh no, we’ll get you disability and you’ll get a huge sum, after a while, and you can use that to pay off the bill.

Officially off the hook.

Do you hear what I hear? And I’ve heard that in the mental hospitals time after time. “You weren’t really responsible for beating your kids. You have a chemical imbalance.” Officially excused!

You don’t have to clean the house, since your chemical imbalance makes it oh so hard. We’ll send state services in to clean it for you. And if that doesn’t work, we have a nice halfway house where all your meals will be cooked for you. You don’t have to work, you’re excused. We’ll hand you tutors and ridiculous accommodations because your permanent brain disease impedes your ability to cope with school and you love being singled out and called “special” anyway. It’s so helpful.

Yes I am having loads of fun here, looking back on the insane illogical shit they fed us in the System. A lot of the patients just needed to grow up and realize THEY were the ones who needed to take care of themselves. Not “services.” They did. I can’t believe how some would demand everything be done for them, like spoiled children. Of course, the System teaches this, thrives on the You Can’t mentality, and wouldn’t even last without it.

What does it take to get someone motivated to get to that point? I think we have a Yin and Yang here. We have a person who, likely, wants more freedom and choice in their lives, but doesn’t understand that freedom cannot be obtained without maturity and responsibility. So they aren’t given much choice in their lives because they haven’t yet sat very well in that driver’s seat. They have to realize they need to earn that choice, speak up for themselves, and take charge.

Agreeably, the use of force is not at all helpful, since it impedes a person’s freedom and choice no matter what, and takes away any chance to be an adult. I am not in favor of the use of force and I don’t think it solves anything, although someone out there is going to tell me about the one person, out of hundreds who were harmed, who did indeed benefit. So be it.

By the way, Kathy, Joel, and Jack are compound characters, disguised to oblivion but I think you know folks JUST LIKE THAT.

Ah, I have much fun being a writer. See you later.

Public admission of failure or premature proclamation of victory

Many of us have been through this so I thought I would address it.  Much of the time, we humans love wishful thinking. We live on it. After all, that’s what drives the placebo effect. We want to believe we’ve made progress and we fool ourselves sometimes. The happy ending looks nice and gets “likes,” after all.

Back in late 2011 I wrote in here that I was over my eating disorder. I would have been if I hadn’t stuck with that abusive therapist, Maria. I wasn’t deliberately jerking anyone around. I really believed I was all better and I didn’t expect Maria to put me into the pits of despair. But she did. Manipulators like her need customers, after all.

I wasn’t lying. I actually believed I would stay on the right path. Unfortunately, such premature proclamations usually get twisted around as either “lying” or being “manipulative” when really, it’s our human wishful thinking at play.

Proclamation of failure has worse results. I don’t recommend it except after the fact. The worst thing I could have done for book sales was to publicly admit I hadn’t sold any. I didn’t know any better! I thought being honest was the right thing! It isn’t! What happened? People assumed it was a bad book. They didn’t even look at it. People who hadn’t read it condemned it, and condemned my character even though they had never met me.

This little oddity will happen even with your best buddies. They’ll blame you for your own failures, even gang up and call you a shit. I don’t think anyone can be trusted to such admission. Like I should keep to myself that I tried for two years to get a job and couldn’t, because it makes me look bad, even if I use this little fact as  a joke. As far as I know, if you haven’t sold any, if business isn’t booming, just keep that to yourself and keep plodding along.

Admission of failure leaves you vulnerable and open to name-calling. While I love being honest I am realizing I shouldn’t have publicly admitted my book hadn’t sold. People do not like failure and they’re quick to blame you. I’ve heard it all. Attitude problem. Not positive enough. And of course all kinds of criticisms about the book by people who never read it.

The best thing to do is probably laugh over the idiotic things people say . People are ignorant and they’ll say anything that looks good to others without even realizing what they’re saying.

Someone even had the nerve, a while back to tell me to post six out of seven bogus posts on Facebook. Post silly pics, she said, because that way people will like you more. She claimed she had done a study on Facebook and six out of seven, she said, had to be cutesie pics and worthless “memes.” That, she said, works.

While she very well may have been right, I resented every bit of what she said. Let’s look at the flip side. “Julie, no one likes your genuine posts, so how about faking it six out of seven times because people really can’t stand you.”

In her effort to be helpful, that’s essentially what was behind what she said. And why I didn’t follow those instructions at all, but instead, found people who appreciate who I am and actually like me.

Freud was right about projection

I have heard arguments on both sides of the Freud fence, and maybe that’s because Freud, like any other human being, changed his mind, as he had the right to do. Unfortunately he changed his mind to please not-so-nice folks, perhaps to maintain his elite status, which explains his wacko penis envy theories that reek of woman-hating.

Freud didn’t always believe that stuff. I suspect he wanted to get as many “likes” as he could get so he caved in to the pressures of the crowd. It is probably accurate to say that he was pressured by child abusers to make it look like molestation was all in a kid’s head, a fantasy…a normal fantasy even.

I am pressured, too. I’m pressured in many ways by a lot of people one way or the other. I have been pressured to give up the fight, or even to make some statement that the abuse that happened to me never happened or was “justified.” Yikes. I have been pressured to stop writing, threatened even. You guys probably remember the police visit 1/10/14, entirely illegal, when the cop and two church people demanded I stop writing. I didn’t. Thank goodness for that!

I was name-called by folks at my grad school and I never got an apology for all that. They weren’t pressuring me to change my ways, but definitely calling me a shit and I didn’t appreciate it.

I get pressured by people who just don’t want to hear nor believe the truth. Thankfully many others have been abused in hospitals. I just found this website, as you can see, the founder started the site because she was horribly abused in a hospital. I have contacted her although I am not sure they’re doing anything outside of New York. I encourage anyone to get in touch with them because they seem like an active organization that might really help get people representation.

Freud did cave in, but he was right about projection. The projection idea explains why some people get overly critical. I really hate pickiness, don’t you? Like slamming you down for using the wrong grammar (when you’re really tired and only want to end the conversation) or insulting you because you ask what they think is the wrong question. Sometimes people certainly hate themselves and they show off their self-hatred by condemning others. Other times people are very controlling and if you don’t fit into their little submissive box they will lash out. Interestingly, some will condemn you and then, try to get others to chime in. “Oh yes, she sucks.”

People will criticize you for the very flaws they hate about themselves. Even if you don’t possess those traits anything beyond the normal, somehow, they’ll imagine you embody everything they hate and then, call you names. I have seen this, and worse.

I don’t like using the baby and bath water analogy since psychiatrists used that one on me, but when it comes to Freud, he was right sometimes, and not right other times. Isn’t that about how the human condition is?

If there’s such thing as gay rights, then there should be such thing as single person’s right to stay single

What is gay rights? Gay rights means, I think, the right of a person to love another regardless of gender. This is becoming more accepted as more states are honoring the rights of gays and lesbians to marry.

What about single person’s rights? This means (according to me) the right to NOT be asked, most obnoxiously, “Are you married.” The right, subsequently, NOT to be hit on after I say, “No, I am not married.” The right to say I am happy to be single and NOT be told, “Oh, you must be lonely.” How presumptuous is that!

I have the right to enjoy being single and unpartnered. I have the right to end these assumptions that I actually am unhappy being single, since…hey, blog readers, have I ever actually stated I wanted a partner on here? No…..

I have the right to say I enjoy being single and not be hammered with, “Oh boy, you have a disorder.” And let’s name that disorder please. “Frigid.” Or, maybe, “Incapable.” Or if I were male, the assumption, “He can’t get it up.” Can’t I enjoy being single without these rude assumptions?

I am tired of people saying, “You will find a great partner if you do X Y and Z.” What if I don’t even want one? Did I say I wanted one? Did I say I was on the prowl, or wanted to change my life to get one? NO!!!

Please, dear suitors, stay away. I am tired of the come ons. I like my life the way it is and as Single Rights Activist, I proclaim my right to not be called disordered just for being unpartnered. Please don’t say I’m abnormal just for loving my much more pleasant fuzzy creature. Yes she snores but I love not ever saying that fish and bicycle thing when it comes to dogs. So there.


Just found this: lawsuit long time overdue

This happened in Illinois:

Pretty bad, eh? I am NOT surprised that this man’s treatment team turned the other way. This is par for the course. They likely called him psychotic. yes we are used to this.

Has anyone read the Lucifer Effect?

I just discovered this book, although I think I heard about it when I was doing research on cults at some point. I downloaded a sample. It is a hard book to read and you can tell it was painful for the author, Philip Zimbardo, to write. He was the psychologist, or one of them, who masterminded the Stanford Prison Experiment, and admits, with much regret, that he wishes he stopped it sooner. He testified in defense of an abusive prison guard, stating that this man had to work 40 days in a row without a day off.

It makes you think about hospital workers. They aren’t paid much, and they are regularly threatened because they work under a hierarchy. If you hang around the wards long you realize they’re actually under pressure to treat us badly. They have to be sneaky to do us “favors” or be nice or kind or actually listen.

I can recall so many times I argued with them, and the “nice” one, some low-paid worker, would FINALLY sit with me and hear out my side of it. Then, that worker might say something like, “I’m not supposed to do this but I’ll go talk to the supervisor.” Like they’ve been told we’re wrong by default.

That’s what happened to me while I was being abused in Mount Auburn Hospital in 2013. The worker started at 3pm and stayed till 11 or 11:30. Right away, at 3 when she came on, she said, “Excuse me, I have to use your phone.”

At the time, I thought she was arranging for her ride home. i didn’t realize this was the beginning of her shift. In fact, I didn’t even realize she was coming in to work. I thought she was from some other floor and had stopped in and suddenly needed to use my hospital phone, which I let her do.

She kept talking. A half hour had now passed. I was expecting a call and this woman wouldn’t let me have the phone. Finally, she put it down. It rang again and she picked it up and started talking some more. Now, a few hours had passed and she had been using the phone nonstop. I was really worried I was going to miss my call. Also, I was paying for the phone, and she was using it. Why wasn’t she using her own cell phone? Probably because she didn’t want to use up the minutes.

I walked out into the hall. I tried to get the attention of one of the nurses. “Hey, this woman has used my phone nonstop! Hey, look!” But when the nurse looked in, the woman hid the phone behind my bed.

“Oh no, Julie, you’re just paranoid. She’s working. Go back into your room.”

I couldn’t believe it. She was calling me psychotic and this was really happening.

Six hours had now passed. No amount of pleading to the hall nurses did any good. They only shooed me back into my room and insisted that the worker was “only doing her job.”

Finally, when the shift changed, the worker gave up my phone and left. I felt on the verge of tears. The next worker was one of the few “nice ones.” I’d had her before.

I told her what happened. Another worker, an ally, came into the room and they spoke with each other. I knew in my heart they believed me.

The “nice one” said to me, “I’m going to tell the supervisor.” I couldn’t believe it. Someone was taking my side.

It was past midnight when the supervisor showed up in my room and I told her the whole story. I tried to explain that the worker lied to me when I picked up the phone myself and told me, “Oh, it was just a wrong number. Some Chinese guy.” It wasn’t a Chinese guy! It was a call for her, which she didn’t want to admit. I told the supervisor that the worker used my phone the entire time, and the damn staff claimed I was delusional and that it hadn’t happened.

Do you know what it is like to be called delusional when  you are not? Especially when you are both medically compromised and in captivity. The traumatic effect ran deep, and to this day, I have a lot of trouble getting along with other people.

I wish that whole thing never happened. But it did, and I can’t erase the hurt and fear I went through. I can’t take it back. They aren’t going to apologize for the eye-rolling, for the physical abuse, for the jeering, for the infantalizing, and for keeping me in captivity the way they did. Most people who have been abused the way I did never get any resolution, certainly not from the source of abuse.

It is indeed a bit of consolation knowing that these lower-paid workers were under immense stress. They were told I was a subhuman monster and to treat me totally disrespectfully. Which they did. One heard me out and she tried to plead with the doctor to let me go, but I think he must have bullied her, too. He took her off my case totally and from the looks of it, she was forbidden to speak with me after that.

I couldn’t stay friends with anyone who claimed this abuse was justified. I unfriended many people. It was NOT justified. Boy was that  a cruel thing to say. Yes they were covering their asses. The only danger that I presented to them was my pen. Which the administration knew damn well.

The Me Too Bandwagon

I used to think the Me Too Bandwagon was helpful, but I learned in coaching school that it isn’t helpful nor productive. I believe our instructor was spot on here. I have learned that chiming in with Me Too, which I used to do thinking it was supportive, actually wasn’t.

Maybe you have run across this. You have a friend whose spouse has passed away, and you, too, lost a spouse. So you’re very tempted to say, “I know how it feels.” Which is actually not true. You cannot get into another person’s body nor feel what they feel. You don’t know how they feel, even if you THINK you do. Even if your experiences are similar, they can’t possibly be the exact same thing. And they aren’t. So saying you know how it feels is seriously presumptuous. You may, but then again, you don’t know, do you?

This happens when we talk about psychiatric drugs. “Oh I know how bad it is to get off __ because I did, too!” Really?

You guys know my discussion about smoking, how I could be obnoxious and say, “I quit, so you can, too!” but I don’t do that. I know that for unknown reasons, some people have a bitch of a time quitting, and some totally can’t. I know it would be really terrible if I assumed everyone else had an easy time quitting like I did. How can I explain this? I can’t. Only good luck, or…the way the cards fell.

It’s the same with anything else. I can’t jump on the Me Too Bandwagon and if I feel like I’m going to, I need to stop myself. “Oh I was in college too, I remember…” No….Don’t go there. “I was fired, too, I know how discouraging it can be.” No I don’t! I have been thinking I was sooooo helpful sharing these experiences but really, it isn’t helpful at all.

Coaching school reframed a lot of that for me. I learned that a lot of the time, people think they’re being helpful but they are not, they’re being presumptuous. No one is a mind-reader, after all.

What’s worse is when someone goes on a rampage about how shitty their life is and starts targeting you for god-knows-what…trolling or whatever when you know you aren’t. And gets all alarmist and finger-pointing, trying to gather others against you, too. And says you have “issues” when inside, you know this person has ten times more “issues” than you do.

I don’t know what to do when that happens, except laugh my fool head off at the hypocrisy I see before me. And keep that bit to myself, which I assume you guys will, too.

Blog entry of Brogan’s I actually like

Here is the link:

My New Year’s Resolution

Usually, Brogan’s entries are full of slick advertising and self-promotion. I was so disgusted I was tempted to unsubscribe but I kept up the subscription. I wasn’t reading her posts anymore, though. I didn’t want to buy her program (which wasn’t relevant anyway). After all, she claimed it only applied to 11% of women and then, insisted that her entire audience fell into that 11%. Where did she get that figure from, anyway?

I’m realizing that a lot of people self-promote whatever business they are doing. It seems that this is the goal of one’s Facebook and Instagram presence these days, to sell something. With so many people getting in on the act, it seems like we’re just squeezing each other aside, doesn’t it?

I feel guilty asking for money from anyone. I think this is the result of decades of unemployment. I’m not accustomed to being paid for what I do. I even did my entire master’s degree with the idea that I’d never use it for employment since…I admit…I was off the hook via “disability.” Disability that didn’t quite add up. Which wasn’t my fraud, but that of those that convinced me I was disabled.

Do others in similar situation work as hard as I do…for nothing? If I were to add up the hours of the day that I work, work hard that is, creating web pages, fussing with plugins, writing content (as I am at this very moment), writing more content, answering emails, editing the shit I write, creating newsletters…it adds up to an easy 40 or more hours a week, likely 60. I never take time off and enjoy myself immensely. Am I alone here?  Am I the only one who has to exert effort to tear myself away from my writing to get housework and laundry done?

Anyway, I like this entry of hers, but I fear it’s only a teaser.

It’s a fucking rat race out there, folks. Whoever has the money to pay into glossy advertising will get more clicks and be the winner. Quality no longer matters. It’s all about the bucks. And I find that sad.

A long time ago I befriended a homeless man named Mike. I was walking around the city with him when suddenly he showed interest in the contents of a trash can. I swear Mike had a keener eye than anyone I’ve ever met. He had x-ray vision. He saw right into the trash can. He pulled out a wad of trash and extracted a pencil.

Mike and I sat down at a place called Market Square. He found a piece of paper, probably the back of a piece of advertising. With the pencil he had found, he began to draw. I realized this guy had talent beyond anything you could possibly imagine.

He drew several images. I asked myself if Mike would ever be able to afford art classes, or be able to show his artwork in a gallery. Likely not.

Do you have a Mike in your life? Someone you know really has talent, but isn’t out there in the limelight? Someone who can’t even afford a pencil, let alone pay for advertising or promotion? Someone who works hard at his craft but doesn’t get paid a cent?

Today is Appreciate a Starving Artist Day. That’s a New Year’s resolution for you, eh?