Transcript of 1st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Kester Langford, Tuesday, June 24, 1997 at 10:00 am.

Mr. Langford: Hello. I'm Kester Langford. Doctor Balis, I presume?
Dr. Balis: Nice to meet you, Mr. Langford. Please come in.
Mr. Langford: Where do you want me?
Dr. Balis: Some people prefer the couch, others the chair.
Mr. Langford: Cool, thanks.
Dr. Balis: So, what's the reason that you came to see me today?
Mr. Langford: Well, I haven't been feeling my best. I just realized that I've been kind of holding my breath, you know?
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Langford: Yeah. I guess I'm a little nervous and uptight. I've never done this before.
Dr. Balis: Therapy?
Mr. Langford: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: You said over the phone that you couldn't really tell me what you wanted to talk about until we got together.
Mr. Langford: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: Would you like to try now?
Mr. Langford: Yeah. Well, it's strange. I've got this thing that I like to do. In fact, I like it better than sex or anything. I'm not discounting sex. No, no. I'm just saying that this thing of mine is life altering. These experiences have shaped my life's path and direction.
Dr. Balis: How is that?
Mr. Langford: Well, it's hard to explain. Mostly all I think about is planning for and making my marks. It consumes me. Some people might even say that I'm obsessed with making marks. People call them designs on paper, canvas, pottery, on anything really. Sometimes I do it with markers, pencils, erasers, paintbrushes. I love it, but I can't seem to make it pay.
Dr. Balis: In what way?
Mr. Langford: Pay in a financial way. It wasn't my idea in the beginning. It was more like a suggestion in a time of need. I started doodling when I was around eleven years old. I always thought it was pretty cool, mostly because it was fun to do and mostly because it took my mind off other stuff. At nineteen, I got serious about my marks and they became brushstrokes. Through the years, people and friends have told me that what I was doing was art and that I could sell my artwork and be a full time artist. Then, there were friends that said that what I was doing was a joke, not art at all, and who did I think I was passing these marks off as art? I've said no. I continue to say that I'm not an artist. I'm just a guy who loves making marks...and the creative process. But I still have to find a way to pay the bills, to eat, and to live indoors when I feel like it. There's no doubt that I'm caught in a dilemma.
Dr. Balis: Learning to support yourself in a different way, that is?
Mr. Langford: Yes. The problem is that I don't want to stop my mark-making lifestyle, but I would like more financial freedom so I could have more control of when and where I eat and sleep. Most of the time, I'm living in a room in someone's house or apartment or out in the open.
Dr. Balis: Have you tried to get work to support yourself?
Mr. Langford: I've always found ways to support myself--taking care of older people, working with kids in day care, being a chauffeur. That's really the point, isn't it, Doc? When I'm away from making my marks for more than a couple of hours or a couple of days, I start feeling uncomfortable. The intensity of unpleasant feelings reaches a state that making my marks takes over and I quit my job or get fired for not paying attention. All of this affects me.
Dr. Balis: How?
Mr. Langford: I feel like I'm off kilter, that I've lost my sense of balance.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel like you've lost balance emotionally and physically?
Mr. Langford: No. I'm only talking about my physical reaction. I don't believe any of that psycho babble mumbo jumbo.
Dr. Balis: You don't believe that you can be off balance emotionally?
Mr. Langford: I really don't want to go into that right now. I just wanted to tell you what I haven't been telling anyone else. This has really been bothering me. The feelings that I get from making, and painting, and drawing, and scrapping my marks are much stronger than my need for food and shelter.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Langford: Well, what do you think, Doc? Can you help me out?
Dr. Balis: How do you think I can help you, Kester?
Mr. Langford: I guess that's a fair question even though it seems pretty obvious to me. Come on, Doc! Most people are able to earn a living doing whatever they know how to do or want to learn to do. Even poor people. That's funny--I don't even consider myself a poor person and yet, in reality, I'm poor when it comes to things and food. But when it comes to energy, enthusiasm, and spirit, as well as the ability to express my own human voice among the people, I'm one of the richest men alive.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like you've accepted yourself and you value what you do.
Mr. Langford: But that's really not the point, is it Doc? Can't you see what's troubling me? I mean, come on. I'm in a bind. I want to get unhooked from either my obsession with making my marks--which I'll never give up--or figure out how to support my habit of buying paint, ink, paper, and brushes, instead of buying food and a steady roof over my head. I'm not talking about ownership or anything like that, although that does cross my mind when I think about throwing my money into an apartment somewhere and helping someone else get rich. It's that old "either I'm creating my own dream or I'm living out someone else's." I don't want to end-up in an institution or a jail somewhere.
Dr. Balis: You have been giving this a lot of thought...
Mr. Langford: Doc, this isn't something I'm just thinking about. I'm living this day and night for thirty years. Of course, I've thought about this for a long time. How about a life time?
Dr. Balis: I didn't mean to give an impression that...
Mr. Langford: Don't get me wrong, Doc, I can feel that you're listening to me and hearing me all right. I'm just frustrated having to deal with this over the past thirty years.
Dr. Balis: I can imagine that it would be difficult.
Mr. Langford: Well, Doc, it's not really that difficult most of the time, you know? Actually, I feel like a free spirit. But there's an intermittent hang-up, a glitch, a very profound low. It's dark, and I'm terrified to do anything. That's when I can't even make a mark. That's really a problem, sometimes.
Dr. Balis: I would very much like to hear more before I make any specific suggestions or recommendations. I would also like to see some of your marks. Do you think you can bring some of your marks the next time we meet?
Mr. Langford: That's cool. I can do that. I guess it's unrealistic for me to think that after talking with me for a short while, you could help me solve a conundrum that has been with me most of my life.
Dr. Balis: Therapy takes time. Not only will it take time to figure out ways of solving some of your problems, it will take time identifying exactly what those problems are. But don't feel discouraged. We had a good session. Is there anything that you would like to say before we end for today?
Mr. Langford: No, not really. All I really want to say is that I'm not as patient as I seem--I don't know how long I can hold out feeling like this anymore.
Dr. Balis: I see. I've got to ask you this. Pardon me if it seems rather harsh and direct, but are you suicidal? Have you thought about taking your own life?
Mr. Langford: That's an important question. There were times in my life when I thought suicide was an option. But right now, I don't have a plan or anything. I've decided many years ago that no matter how bad it gets, as long as I have a breath still in me, there would be a possibility of experiencing the gloriously positive aspects of my life. When I remember the times when I felt that all was right with me and the world, I become encouraged to continue living.
Dr. Balis: I'm pleased to hear that. It seems to me that you have a lot more to offer and a lot more to experience in your life.
Mr. Langford: I think so.
Dr. Balis: Now, does this time work for you? Would you like to schedule our next session for the same time next week?
Mr. Langford: That will be fine, Doc. Well, okay. See you next week.
Dr. Balis: Next week, then. That's July 1st at 10 am. Goodbye, Kester.
Mr. Langford: Goodbye, Doctor.
Arrow, Left, Up & Out Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Kester Langford's Transcripts Transcripts of Kester Langford's Communications
Button to Kester Langford's Patient File Kester Langford's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1997. All Rights Reserved.