Transcript of 3rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Benjamin, Tuesday, April 21, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Lisa. How are you this week?
Ms. Benjamin: Great! I have so much to tell you about this new place I'm working at.
Dr. Balis: The video place?
Ms. Benjamin: Yes. Video Free America. It's completely great. I met another woman there; she also works as a stripper, except she works at a job that pays a lot, lot more. She is making a documentary about her job, too. It was really interesting talking to her about it. She is doing the same thing I want to do--she's teaching herself as she's going along.
Dr. Balis: Has this made you feel that your project has more of a possibility of becoming a reality?
Ms. Benjamin: Definitely. This is great because I have so much fear about actually undertaking it. I'm so afraid that anything I'll try to do will just suck.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think that?
Ms. Benjamin: Well, I guess this is as good a time as ever to get into my family a little bit. I think they really discouraged me from doing anything creative when I was growing up. Now, they are actually very excited about my job at SII. I think they want me to get into programming.
Dr. Balis: What is it that you do at SII?
Ms. Benjamin: I'm a secretary and I hate it. I do think I can actually work there as...well, as something more than a secretary. I'm actually great with computers. But I don't think I'd enjoy a real job there, although I'm sure I have the aptitude. I guess if I were really on the ball, I would use my experience there and with some more training...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Benjamin: They have a special effects department, and they have even done some film stuff. I guess I can make a move into that.
Dr. Balis: You don't sound very enthusiastic about that idea.
Ms. Benjamin: Somehow it's just not where my heart lies. It seems like the easy path. I want to go off-road. I love meeting the people at this video place, and I love hanging out with the other women at the Lusty Lady. I guess I'm attracted to people who have had it a little tough.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think that is?
Ms. Benjamin: In these two little sub-worlds--the Lusty Lady and Video Free America--I've found all these people who seem to know where it's at. People at SII seem so sheltered to me. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Maybe they're like everyone else--perverts, but only in private. I like it when people let their weirdness show, when they're just open about it. When they can get past that hang-up, they can move on to realizing some amazing things about themselves.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Do you think the people you are meeting at the video place are more open-minded?
Ms. Benjamin: Yes. Some of them have been through some really terrible things. It's unbelievable. This women at work, Gabby, was a prostitute on the street and was addicted to heroin. But now, she's finishing up her education at Berkeley. She's getting the highest chemistry grade in her class. She's a smart kid with a twist. I think that's the coolest way to be. She came from a really awful home and went through some horrible times. But now...she may actually become my roommate soon, we're subletting a room together.
Dr. Balis: Lisa, I can see that you admire people who have come from a difficult background and bettered themselves. But do you think that makes them superior to someone who comes from a supportive background?
Ms. Benjamin: They've seen ups and downs at a younger age. They had to provide for themselves rather than depend on their parents. I want to go more that route. I don't know. Maybe it's because my parents got their nose in my business. I guess I need to break free of that...of them.
Dr. Balis: Tell me more about your parents.
Ms. Benjamin: Well, it's a lot of things. My job at SII, for example. But other things, too. But SII is a real sore point. They feel like I have a lot of potential I'm not living up to. They are disappointed that I'm just a secretary. And I can't tell them about any of the other stuff I'm doing. I was an English major, and that was a disappointment, too. I guess they wanted me to go for more practical stuff, but I wasn't interested. The thing is that I don't really commit to the things I actually do want. I'm stuck in the middle. I probably should have ditched college altogether and gone to film school. But I had this feeling that I should get a good, basic liberal arts education.
Dr. Balis: Was this your parents' feeling as well?
Ms. Benjamin: It must have been. It's not even so much what they said. It's how they always acted whenever I brought up the idea of making a film. I wanted to put together this project in high school--just a little video where I'd follow one of my friends around for a day. Somehow, it just never got done. I'm not sure why. But I always remember thinking that I just didn't have what it takes or something.
Dr. Balis: Do you think you got this idea from your parents?
Ms. Benjamin: I just know that neither one of them really got to do what they wanted with their lives. Growing up, I remember them saying stuff like, "Remember, there are no happy lives, only happy moments."
Dr. Balis: Who told you that?
Ms. Benjamin: My mom. I think I was crying about something, probably about some boy who didn't ask me to dance in junior high or something. Wow. Actually now that I'm thinking about that, that's pretty crazy. My mom should have been telling me the usual motherly line about how there would be plenty of boys or that I'd grow up to be pretty or something. That's what you'd see on a television, right? But instead, she was telling me to get used to misery. Great. And at thirteen, I was supposed to take that advice?
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Benjamin: It sounds so unnecessarily grim. Yeah. So anyway, I know she gave me some weird messages about other things.
Dr. Balis: Do you remember any of them?
Ms. Benjamin: Okay, this one has to do with the video thing. I remember saying something like, "Hey, Mom, I think I want to be a director." I probably started saying this pretty young, because I was always into movies as long as I can remember.
Dr. Balis: What did your mom say to that?
Ms. Benjamin: And she would say, "Well, it's very difficult. Many people who try to get into this field end up with broken dreams." Then she'd get this far off look in her eye, like she was imagining all of her broken dreams. It was annoying at the time. I thought she was being totally over-dramatic. But maybe I believed her on some level. Oh! I have to split just a little early today.
Dr. Balis: Work?
Ms. Benjamin: I'm meeting some of my friends from work, we are going to a movie. I think we're going to get a little wasted and see this animation festival.
Dr. Balis: Wasted?
Ms. Benjamin: Yeah...well, I'm not sure how you feel about that, but I guess I should tell you everything, right? We're just going to get a little high
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Benjamin: And then later, we might go dancing and do some speed.
Dr. Balis: Are you a regular user of these drugs?
Ms. Benjamin: I'm a recreational user. I guess I'll talk more about that later. Okay? I promise. I really have to run! Bye, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I'm not thrilled about you ending the session early so that you can go do drugs, but we'll talk about this next time. Goodbye, Lisa.
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