Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 9/19/97

Saturday, September 13, 1997

Sunday, September 14, 1997

Monday, September 15, 1997

Tuesday, September 16, 1997

1 pm. Eighth Session with Kester Langford. I keep sensing something almost manic underlying all of Kester's thoughts and conversations. He jumps from subject to subject with practically no transitions. Sometimes, I almost hear the screech of my mental breaks as I try to follow all the twists and turns of Kester's reasoning. He told me of a new relationship he started with a very young college student he met while drawing outside. Meung Kim, or Me for short, was apparently very impressed with Kester's work and even asked to buy a few of his marks. That chance meeting led to a full-on sexual relationship, one which Kester now needs to reconcile with his feelings and friendship for Evelyn--an old girlfriend with whom he rekindled old passion just a few weeks ago. Kester describes this as "either feast or famine." I tried to understand some more about Kester's underlying emotions and motivations for doing his marks. In particular, I wanted to know where the label "marks" comes from. Kester tried to explain that the marks weren't so much an artistic expression as a way of life--each mark marks an event in the history of his life. But Kester clearly sees his marks as having potential commercial value as well. They are not just an alternative form of a diary. He's actively trying to sell his marks and even considers some to be as valuable as $35,000. He seems to value the marks not just based on their artistic merit, but also on the duration of time that he possesses them--the longer the mark stays with Kester the more valuable it becomes to him. I'm pretty certain that if Kester demands $35,000, that particular mark will never leave Kester's hands, but perhaps that's Kester's intention as well. We briefly touched upon the subject of Kester's brother Chester. After the initial anger over Chester's letter subsided, Kester realized that he would have reacted that way to any advances his brother would have made to try to help him. There's some substantial issues regarding his brother that we need to discuss--it sounds far beyond the normal sibling rivalry. Kester told me that he would like to spend some time during our next session discussing his brother. But I know that it's going to be difficult focusing a session on any one subject.

4 pm. Fifty-Second Session with Sylvia Bows. Roald is Richard's son. Sylvia received the results of the DNA test. Richard is dying. He's in the hospital, slipping away. He's too weak for chemotherapy and has declined radiation therapy. So Sylvia has been sneaking into the hospital with the kids, without Tom's knowledge, and giving Richard an opportunity to spend time with his son. Sylvia has met Richard's mother, who has flown out to be with her son, and Sylvia clearly empathizes with her pain. Sylvia is allowing Richard's mother to relate as a grandparent to Roald, which is bound to lead to immense difficulties later on after Richard's death. More importantly, Tom is still in the dark about all of this. Sylvia was planning her big lie about how Lloyd had offered the million dollar trust for Richard's progeny and how all they had to do was submit to a genetic test. But it came out wrong when she actually came to say it. Instead, she said that Lloyd was making her an offer that she wanted both of them to hear together--as if she didn't know about the million dollars or the results of the genetic testing. She's getting enmeshed in a tangle of lies, and Tom is certainly going to find out about it. It pains me to see Sylvia almost purposefully sabotaging her relationship with Tom for no good reason. I feel confident that if Tom knew all the facts and circumstances, he would understand and perhaps even support Sylvia's decisions. The worst thing that she's been doing really is lie. Whatever goodwill Tom might have toward the situation will surely evaporate should he find out that she has been deliberately deceiving him. Then he will surely think the worst. And Sylvia began to say that she was feeling some hostility toward Tom for making it difficult for her to tell him about Richard, but she stopped that tact--it just sounded too ridiculous even to herself when she began to try to consciously justify that emotion.

Wednesday, September 17, 1997

4 pm. Eighteenth Session with Katherine Lippard. Katherine started the session by talking about her boss, Frank. As I have already learned from his daughter, Christine Herald, Frank is getting married in a few months. But the news of his marriage plans have greatly impressed Katherine. She seems envious of his happiness and position in life. Frank is now where Katherine wants to be in some not too distant future. He had a very good career; he's made a lot of money; he is on the verge of early retirement--as of Christmas, I believe--and he is in love. It's the later that I think Katherine is reacting so strongly to. She sees herself as achieving all that Frank has accomplished and even doing it in a shorter span of time. But she's worried that she won't be able to achieve what she called "freedom." Although Katherine tried to define what she meant by that--using as examples the lives that Phil and Jake lead--she never quite managed it. I believe that what Katherine is really reacting to is her feeling of dissatisfaction with Jake. She watches Frank openly happy, in love, and preparing to spend the rest of his life with his soul mate and I think Katherine is afraid of never experiencing those emotions herself. Jake has still never admitted to loving her. He talks about being comfortable with her and wanting to take her for granted--being confidant that she'll always be there with him. But there's something missing. Katherine feels that the original thrill has gone out of their relationship. And even though Jake is fun to be with--she describes him as charming, intelligent, attractive, good in bed, and good to her--there's something quite not right. I urged Katherine not to simply dismiss this feeling but to try to put in focus. I suggested that next time she feels that way, she should try to think it through and identify exactly what is bothering her about her relationship with Jake. Katherine also mentioned that Jake wants to take some nudes of her. Again I'm glad that she's considering the consequences of doing that before she says yes to Jake. There's a possibly that Katherine will fly out to see her family the second week of October. It's her mother's and brother's birthdays. She told me that she would like to confront her mother with some of the things we've been discussing in our sessions. I think it's a good idea. The more Katherine is able to bring things out into the open, the freer she will feel of her past.

5 pm. Seventeenth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex has been suspended from school with a possible expulsion. He was in a fight--he's sporting a black eye. And even though his intentions were honorable--he was trying to protect a younger student from a school bully--he's still in a lot of trouble. I hope he will manage to work things out and get back to school in the near future, but we didn't have a chance to talk much about the importance of education. We did cover some very important ground today. We talked more about Alex's feeling for his mother. He feels a lot of anger and resentment toward her. He's very hostile toward his mother's pregnancy and the idea of another baby. He kept insisting that his mom was too old to have children. I pointed out that 32 is a very reasonable age for childbearing. What Alex is really upset about is that this time his mother wants to have the child. She really wants this baby. She's trying hard to be good to herself--to eat healthy and get plenty of rest--to insure that her baby will be okay. Alex hates the fact that when his mom was pregnant with him, she purposely did things that could hurt her baby--she took drugs, even tried to induce a miscarriage. And then finally, she gave Alex away to her parents to raise as their own. Alex kept repeating: "She doesn't want me. She never wanted me and she never will." Alex added his mother to the list of people on his patching bag and has been relieving his aggressions toward her in that manner. We also talked a bit about Tony. Alex and Roly weren't able to rescue him from the clutches of his sex-master. And from everything Alex's been telling me about the man that is keeping Tony, he's very bad news. I'm very worried about Alex. I think there's a high probability that he might get in a lot of trouble trying to save Tony. Alex, Roly, and Tony's sister Marney are going to attempt to get Tony again this weekend. I tried suggesting that hiring a detective might be a better way to go. They are professionals and know how to handle these kind of situations. Tony's parents would probably insist on hiring a detective if they knew the danger in which their daughter was putting herself in trying to save him. Of course, Alex will do what he will do. I can only hope that everything will turn out okay. Alex also told me about a foray into modeling. He came in dressed in somewhat outrageous fashion today. He said that his outfit was especially designed for him by Nala of San Francisco. I have no idea who she is, but Alex insisted that she was big in the world of fashion--he chided me for being so out of it. He also told me that this is not the first time he was interested or was asked to model. Apparently, when he was younger, he even did some live shows. But his grandfather--father, as Alex calls him--was very much against it. He thought that modeling was for "sissy boys." Alex described an incident during which his grandfather was physically abusive to his grandmother over an argument about modeling. Alex said that he wished him dead at that moment, and even went around telling people that he had died. When that got back to his grandfather, Alex ended up in a lot of trouble. Alex said that he now thinks it was wrong of him to wish his grandfather's death.

Thursday, September 18, 1997

5 pm. Eighteenth Session with Christina Herald. Christina came in a strange mood today. She was a bit cranky and restless and clearly tired. I was tired as well, so we weren't off to a good beginning. But I thought that this might be a good opportunity to sum up what we have accomplished and take stock of Christina's progress. Personally, I believe that Christina has learned how to manage her emotions better and is a lot more sure of herself than when I first met her. And Christina feels the changes, too. She told me that in the last two weeks, she only had two bad panic attacks. The first was during her break-up with Malcolm. And the second attack occurred during a student fight in the school that Christina is teaching. Two rather large students got into a scuffle in front of Christina' class. She felt helpless to stop the fight and had to endure the wait for security to show up. But I suspect that her reaction to both situations was a lot milder than it would have been just a few months ago. What is substantially reduced are panic attacks without obvious external triggers. Christina believes that her panic attacks now are usually triggered by situations in which Christina is out of control or is being forced. After a while in our session, Christina appeared to relax a bit--actually, relax is probably the wrong word. She seemed to visibly sag with the crankiness flowing out of her as though it took too much energy to maintain. She reports being mostly successful in eliminating coffee from her diet and has noticed a positive effect. Christina described to me a recurring dream that she's been having since the age of five. The dream has Christina struggling from the back seat to gain control of a car with no driver. She never gets further than the front passenger seat before waking up. I find it interesting that this dream first occurred at such an early age for Christina. I asked about her home life at that time. She described a fairly rigid structure--set times for dinner, homework, bed time. For most children of that age, structure helps develop a sense of security--an ability to understand and predict what will happen next. Children without a stable regime in their lives usually experience more stress and anxiety. But not so for Christina. She said that her home life made her a "little crazy." Christina also told me that she's been trying to let go of her need to take care of everyone around her. She no longer tries to take on everyone else's problems and to solve them. I'm not sure I believe that. But I'm glad that she notices it as a problem and is trying to resolve it. At the end of our session, Christina gave me a little present--a small stuffed sheep with curly woolen fur--a reference to the sheep jokes that we exchanged before her trip to England.

Friday, September 19, 1997

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