Transcript of 4th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Kester Langford, Tuesday, July 29, 1997 at 1:00 pm.

Mr. Langford: Good afternoon, Doc.
Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, Kester.
Mr. Langford: I guess I don't have to wait for you to ask me any questions for me to start, right Doc?
Dr. Balis: It's up to you where and when we start.
Mr. Langford: Well then, I'll start by telling you that I was much more disappointed that you didn't let me hang one of my marks on your wall than I let on last week.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Mr. Langford: Yes! When I left last time, I spent the next few hours off and on composing a see-you-later letter which included a good deal of profanity. I finally worked it out, because, as you can see, I am here. But it was touch and go there for awhile. You really pissed me off.
Dr. Balis: Can you talk more about your feelings?
Mr. Langford: You actually want to hear more about how utterly outraged I was by your rejection of me? I mean your explanation was logical enough, but logic was not what I was after. I really don't want to hear another well thought-out series of reasons about why it's inappropriate for you to hang my marks, because it's not going to make me feel any better. I know that no matter what I say, you're not going to change your mind, which, believe it or not, gives me some comfort.
Dr. Balis: What was comforting about knowing that I wasn't going to change my mind?
Mr. Langford: Well, while growing up, it was never clear to me what my parents were going to do or how they were going to act at any given moment. They always changed their minds about everything. It was impossible to read them, which I think contributed to my difficulties in making up my mind about things. They always told me to stick to one thing, while they were always going from one thing to another. My pop was a printer, but he was never satisfied with his job. So he went from job to job. And mom could never decide whether to get a job or stay home--I never could figure that one out. In addition to that, they loved moving from apartment to apartment. Sometimes, we'd move three or four times in one year. Yes, we're going to stay. No, we're going to move again. I had a hard time counting on whether I was going to stay with my new friends in the neighborhood or have to find new new friends in the new place. I hated moving from place to place. Sometimes, I think that I'm both of my parents rolled into one person.
Dr. Balis: What are you feeling now?
Mr. Langford: I'm feeling sad--way too sad, and angry as hell.
Dr. Balis: How about you start with sad and then we can talk about being angry as hell?
Mr. Langford: I miss my parents. They were the only real friends I've ever had. With all their shit, I always knew that they loved and appreciated me, even though they said many times that they didn't understand why I made my marks all the time. They even had some of my marks hung up in our house. I was happy to see my marks when I would visit them. But the truth is that it really didn't fit in with their decor, but I was their son, after all.
Dr. Balis: Would it be accurate to say that my being firm was almost comforting because it set some limits for you?
Mr. Langford: I don't know about that, Doc. That's your department. You said no and that's what it meant. I was hurt at the time you said what you said. And then as the hours and days rolled on, I became more and more angry at you--I was yelling and screaming at you out loud and in my imagination. As the days passed, I realized that my sadness and hurt didn't have anything to do with you and that I was thinking about everything and everyone that ever hurt me. My anger became the kind of thing that encompassed all of my anger--my anger towards my parents for dying, my anger towards myself for not taking the next step towards my dream, my anger about getting older, and on and on and on. Everything is so interwoven and interconnected, it's hard to separate things out sometimes.
Dr. Balis: What's hard to separate out?
Mr. Langford: Why I'm so fucking angry, and hurt, and immobilized so often. With you, it seems that when you say something, then that's the way it is. I don't have to second guess when you're going to change your mind or to think about how I'm going to try to help you do that. It's just something that I don't have to worry or think about any more. I'm not going to have my marks up in your office. And I know that no matter how much I seem to take it personally--as a personal rejection or put down--that it's not. It's just what you say it is. You don't allow it not just for me, but for anyone. That's a clear message, and I hear it loud and clear. It just that it reminded me of the roller coaster events in my life which have hurt me deeply and which have intensely angered me.
Dr. Balis: What or who do you think is responsible for your pain and anger?
Mr. Langford: Is that a trick question or what? It's not about blame, Doctor Balis. It's about my own thoughts and feelings. It's about me. If anyone is responsible for how I feel and what I think, it's clearly me. That's the problem. If it were someone else, that would be easy to deal with. The difficulty is that it's me--my choices, my reactions to people and situations. That's why I decided to continue to show up to talk with you. The truth is that I don't want to give up my feelings and let go. I'm afraid that if I let go, I'll forget the most important people in my life, and I can't stand the thought of that.
Dr. Balis: I can feel that there's something more there, Kester. Do you want to share it?
Mr. Langford: Well, Doctor Balis, I have to admit something, but it will take me a moment to gather my thoughts.
Dr. Balis: Continue when you're ready.
Mr. Langford: I don't really mind having to move, and I've always enjoyed my time living outside. I don't have a problem with that at all. Since my parents passed away, I haven't been able to function as well as I did when they were alive. I've been consumed with the pain of their loss. I could always go to them to share my excitement and enthusiasm about whatever project I would get involved in. When I would get down, they were there to help prop me up. Now, my life is like a morgue. My excitement has been diluted to marginal interest, into a downright "who cares" attitude. And it frightens me, because I've lived an exciting and somewhat charmed life, and the gap seemed to be widening until yesterday.
Dr. Balis: What happened yesterday?
Mr. Langford: When I left you last week, I went to three different coffee houses ready to post my requirements for a place. I found a note that offered room and board for doing security on the weekends. When I went to check it out, it was a studio apartment above The Range Gallery. It seemed too good to be true. The gallery had been vandalized recently, and paintings and sculptures were disfigured. The gallery had an alarm, but for some reason it malfunctioned. The insurance company told Jake to get a security guard or they wouldn't insure the gallery any longer. The note was a little misleading, because the job was for six nights a week. The good news was that I didn't have to wear a uniform or carry a gun, and there was a security system in the apartment with a monitor that covered the entire inside of the gallery. If I was willing to take the graveyard shift six nights a week, the place was mine. There was one hitch. One night a week, someone else had to stay in the apartment and watch the monitor. I agreed and I'll move in at the end of the week.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad that you've found a place to live.
Mr. Langford: Thanks, Doc. Having my own place, so to speak, is necessary, but it doesn't really change my feelings and what I'm going through for more than a brief moment. Of course I'm excited about the possibility of showing and selling my marks in the gallery, but that will take time to evolve. Jake said that he spends a lot of time at the gallery, so there will be time enough to have him see my marks--now that I will be living upstairs. It could be really great, but I have to take one step at a time and not rush it. My marks are so unusual compared to other forms of personal expression, that I have to take a conservative wait and see attitude.
Dr. Balis: Kester, I'm going to write an order out for a lab that's just down the street. I'd like you to go and give them a blood and urine sample.
Mr. Langford: Is this something to do with the drugs that you were talking about prescribing?
Dr. Balis: Something like that. I'd like to check out certain things before prescribing drugs for you.
Mr. Langford: How long will it take to get the results?
Dr. Balis: It usually just takes a few days. You're concerned about the results?
Mr. Langford: Sure. I think that's only natural. I mean it may change my life.
Dr. Balis: I think that it would be better if we talk about that when the results are in.
Mr. Langford: Okay. Something really cool happened. I'm not sure, but I think it helped me sort out my feelings of anger towards you and then, of course, towards myself. While I was waiting to meet Jake at the gallery, I saw an old girlfriend that I hadn't seen or talked to for over six years. Evelyn Bliss--I could never forget that name. When she saw me, she came over and gave me a great big bear hug, and I hugged back. For the entire afternoon, we just talked about old times. About how in love we were then, and the good times we had walking hand and hand along the beach. She was a prayer answered, and I don't pray.
Dr. Balis: What else did you talk about?
Mr. Langford: We discussed the gallery thing. She thought Jake was a hunk. I couldn't read Jake's reaction. Anyway, she told me about this documentary film she was making--something about the effects of pet monkeys on mental patients. Truly, I was drinking her in. I was feeling how exciting and stimulating--almost uplifting--it felt to be around her. Of course, she was leaving town the same night for somewhere in the push to be a part of another documentary experience. She's really cool!
Dr. Balis: You still really care about her, don't you?
Mr. Langford: Yes, I really do.
Dr. Balis: How would you describe our session today?
Mr. Langford: Well, today I actually felt like a different person from the one that came in to see you six weeks ago. A lot of feelings are coming up for me. That's intense. And...well, I think that I'm opening up, but that I have ways to go before I get everything out. If you know what I mean.
Dr. Balis: Definitely something to discuss next session. And, as I recall, we were going to talk about a sexual problem. Maybe we can take that up next session as well.
Mr. Langford: Sounds like a plan.
Dr. Balis: How's next week at this time?
Mr. Langford: Good. Goodbye and thanks, Doc.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Kester.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier 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
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