Category Archives: Crying
I wept when I saw this photo on Facebook today. I weep as I write this. Science Fair was my salvation!
I was a teen when my family hit really hard times.
Fortunately, I was a kid who was a native of Washington DC. Four generations of my family had nourished our minds and souls at the Smithsonian Museums.
When I was a girl, Mother would pack me a sack lunch and pin two streetcar tokens to my blouse and off I would go to spend the day at the museums on the Washington Mall.
Natural History was my favorite one, especially the Hall of Minerals. I loved crystals.
Later, my science fair project would be about crystals. I grew crystals in a strong electrostatic field and observed the changes in their behavior under the influence of that field.
Even as my family was collapsing around me, I continued with my project. I did well in the school fairs and the regional fair. When I was a senior in high school, I won first Grand Prize in the Regional Science Fair and won a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in St. Louis.
As a result, I won enough scholarships that I could attend college. I completed my BS in Chemistry in 3 1/2 years.
Later, I would earn an MS in Human Physiology.
And later, my MD.
All because of Science Fair.
When my daughter started first grade I started volunteering to judge school, district and regional science fairs. I did so for 16 years. I judged twice at International.
My daughter was a science fair kid, too.
I coached her science fair classes starting when she was in 9th grade.
I taught the science fair kids to watch three movies:
* October Sky, because science fair CAN be your ticket “out”.
* Space Monkeys, because sometimes the judges give it to the monkeys.
* Cool Runnings, because, “If you are not OK before you win the gold medal, you won’t be OK after you win it.”
I am happy to say that science fair taught my wonderful daughter poise and grace under fire from science fair judges. She’s an alumna of the International Science and Engineering fair, too. She’s a PA and holds her own BS and MS.
So, you see, I wept when I saw the photo at the top of this blog. Because of science fair, I have three degrees. Because of science fair I’ve written two books, three columns for national magazines, many articles for national magazines and now this blog.
Thank you, Science Fair!
Fifty years ago I heard the anguished voice of our high school Vice Principal, Mr. Hughes, come over the loudspeaker and say that the President had been assassinated.
My friend, Sooty and I decided to go and pay our respects.
We took several busses from our neighborhood in suburban Maryland to get there.
We were in a line that stretched six blocks along East Capitol Street. It was 40 degrees and drizzling, but we were determined. It was hours before we could view his coffin.
While we waited, Sooty told me that she felt like screaming. I encouraged her to scream, which she did.
Probably everyone else in line wanted to scream, too.
Finally, it was our turn. We mounted the marble steps leading to the East front of the Capitol. We could hear the flag, at half mast, whipping in the cold wind as we ascended.
The rotunda was hushed. The honor guard had members from every branch of the service. We paid our respects and felt grateful for our brief chance to get warm again.
We didn’t say a word on the journey back home.
Today at my church, we presented the fourth graders with their own bibles. The youth minister had wrapped the bibles in five different layers of “gift wrap”. First a mailing envelope, because it was a Special Delivery. Then festive gift wrap. Then a map, because the Scriptures would take the kids to places they’d never been. Then newsprint because of the “Good News” in the bible. Finally in gold paper to mark the bibles as treasure.
It was a beautiful ceremony, but seeing the fourth graders stand there makes me tear up every year because, statistically, it is fourth-graders that are sexually abused by clergy, altar boys and altar girls. They are so little!
Sexual abuse is a fourfold catastrophe for the child: physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual. It creates a shattering of the child that takes years to heal.
My own abuse by a clergyman happened when I was five. That’s me in at age five on the cover of my book.
My faith is strong again now. People remark on it. I would not wish on anyone what it took for me to get it back!
I have a Pinterest board “Justice for Kids”:
It is based on the “Legend of the Starfish”: A woman is walking along the beach at low tide. Every time she sees a stranded starfish, she reaches down, grabs it and throws it into deep water. A man is walking toward her and when he gets to her he asks her what she is doing. She explains. He says, “it doesn’t matter, you can’t save them all.” She throws the starfish in her hand into deep water and looks him in eye kindly. “It matters to that one.”
Every time I come across a photo of a starfish on Pinterest, I pin it to Justice for Kids and add the words, “It Matters to That One”.
Protect one kid.
Save one kid.
Believe one kid.
Call the police if a kid discloses abuse of any kind. It is THEIR job to investigate, not yours.
It matters to that one!
p.s., it’s grand if you can save more than one!
“AP Stylebook” Adds Entry on Mental Illness for Journalists
The Associated Press (AP) has added a new entry about mental illness to their “Stylebook,” clarifying how journalists should refer to mental illness and people with a mental illness in articles and stories, and admonishing reporters and editors to avoid stigmatizing terms and phrases.
The entry includes the following instructions: “Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story,” and “Do not assume that mental illness is a factor in a violent crime, and verify statements to that effect. A past history of mental illness is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and experts say most people who are violent do not suffer from mental illness.”
The “AP Stylebook” is widely used by writers, journalists, and editors for a broad array of publication types, and the new entry reflects a remarkable sensitivity to the way public perception of mental illness can be shaped by modern journalism.
The sad truth is that the mentally ill are more likely to be VICTIMS of violence than they are to be violent.
Let us cherish our mentally ill, not stigmatize them. Let’s make it easy and possible for them to get the treatment they need.
The average woman cries three times a week.
I am an above average woman.
I love to cry.
I will cry on Easter morning, singing the hymns of that day. I cry when I hear about kind deeds, acts of great mercy and stories of great love.
Occasionally I will “catch” another person’s tears and cry with them. For this reason I have my own box of tissues in my Psychiatry office.
When I have a patient who has rediscovered crying after a long dry spell or one who has suffered a great loss, I give them the box of Kleenex beside the chair where they are sitting and give them permission to “cry up the whole box”.
Tears are a complex solution of sodium chloride (salt), potassium, manganese, prolactin (the nursing hormone), a stress hormone and a morphine-like compound. No surprises there. Tears happen at times of great emotion, at times of suffering, times of joy, times of compassion and times of pain.
I encourage you to be an above average person and cry whenever it is right for you!