What is your deal with the word victim and assigning relatives to it, like
the word desperate?
I guess I'm a little short on people taking the victim role.
I try to turn things around and ask the person how they
can take charge of the situation. I just reread Lynn: Front to
Mark Obenhaus who went through the lab school and a childhood friend)
about a fashion model turned photographer who then got breast cancer,
then implant infections,
then brain cancer, and now on the Oprah show describing her survival
Also Mary Seager, who I worked with about her going through chemotherapy,
is another great example of a survivor.)
What does the word
victim mean for you?
Someone at the mercy of the gods. You asked if I was taking
risks in my drawings, which
made me think about courage. I asked Linda if she though
Picasso took risks and she said that he once did. Anyway, this
more examination than
I can give it right now.)
I am just trying to be
honest about the various states in which most people
move in and out. I prefer to observe and try
to understand human behavior.
Something is a little off for me with the idea of
observing and understanding. I'm sure that we do that . . . but I sometimes
that understanding is as flawed
as my idea of "owning"—that we really
to judge it.
And I am not interested in simply negating a state
that is represented by a word.
I am interested in looking at what the circumstances
are that allow or foster someone to enter into that
My mom (as a psychiatric social worker) was good as asking people
why they did things.)
Of course, one doesn't like to think
of someone or oneself as being a victim.
But it means to me that you are using that
word pretty loosely and frequently, and
it. And very critically, as if it
connotes a character deficiency,
rather than a challenge.
Things are just not that simple.
I don't think my girlfriend was being a
victim. It is not useful to even think
of it in those terms.
And it labels her,
that use of a noun. Really backs her
into a corner.
I do think she was desperate,
To me, a victim is one that is at the effect of their world.
This is not a black and white thing . . . but
a continuum. Though it is
also a frame of reference. The interesting question to me is
to what extent you were the cause of what she did.)
she was so afraid of
losing me and probably whatever I might
that she transgressed
that I have gotten past
my anger at the intrusion
of her behavior, I feel compassion
may have contributed to
Doesn't mean it was ok what she
did. Just that my heart is more
open to her. That
in this present moment,
I am thinking
more about her
experience of desperation
than my own of anger.
I think forgiveness is great. We would have eliminated a few
thousand wars if we were better at it.)
I like the new
smoke and fire drawing
a lot. Need to go to
bed. Will look
for your new drawing in
a.m. before I leave
and Fire was yesterdays
Today's will be done tonight
early. I like the fact
you are ahead of me.)
I thought I was going to write about desperation, since I alluded
to that in my previous email. And it certainly is a compelling topic.
Do you know that the Oxford dictionary says that desperation is about
recklessness, impetuosity? (Kim: No.)
It is related to anxiety, craving, hunger, desire, pining.
It is almost to be without hope, to stake everything on a small chance.
Based on that definition, can you recall times that you felt desperate?
(Kim: Not really. I always have known that I could
figure things out.)
know you think there is a relationship between feeling
like a victim and being
be honest and maybe a little
judgmental or dismissive. One is not always a fully
actualized human being. We all have had moments of desperation in
I've certainly had challenges (learning to speak) and disappointments
able to do some things and not being liked by
I am interested in trying to recall a few
instances when I truly felt desperate. I think when I ran
away from home, I
I think there is a relationship between feeling
trapped and feeling desperate. As a child,
having to live
my parent’s rules, I could not
call my own shots. I was dependent—as are most children—on
my parents for my very survival. So I felt
trapped. And I felt desperate.
I remember a dead end love affair I had a number
of years ago in which I felt desperate.At the
time—and that citing of time is crucial—my
eyes were so narrowed, I couldn’t conceive
of anyone who would be more suitable for
me than her. And it was
a total dance of ambivalence
on her end. She did, she didn't. She would,
Ultimately, she didn’t want me.So, given
my perspective and psychological state, I felt
desperate, like it was
my last chance.
For what? Love? Sex? To be understood? To share my
life with someone? What?
I look back now and it is almost laughable. Billions
of creatures of the planet both female and male.
And I thought that was
the last stop. So I was desperate.
Still, I try to be kind to that younger, more
self, instead of scoffing at her. There must
be important reasons why I thought
I had no options.
But I find myself circling back to words about which
we are disagreeing. So perhaps that is where I need
to stay for the
I have to tell you, Kim, I don’t like your use of the word victim,
as it might apply to me. I don’t think
I have used the word victim in description
of myself. And I think
it is for me to self
not to be named.
You'll have to tell me more about this. Is this part of some
There are many significant things that
have happened in my life that I might
wish otherwise: cancer, assault,
injuring my leg, to name a few. Things
that have had major consequences.
In some instances, I think that things
just happened. In some, perhaps I was not
as conscious and thoughtful
as I might have
been and maybe
I brought them on. And in still others,
I think circumstances led to consequences
for which I was not necessarily
I keep coming back to a book that I read 40 years ago, Man's
Search for Meaning
where Frankl describes how
he survives a concentration
camp by reframing the experience.)
have written previously about
what it was like to be sexually
conflicted as a teenager,
and how it negatively
just about everything in
my life at that point.
For example, homophobia makes
it difficult for most young
know that I would use the
word victim, even as a
recipient of active homophobia.
that homophobia affects
But when we are living and dealing
in certain dominant social realities,
experience being acted
upon more than
freely and purely
making our own decisions.
A lot of this has to do with
power. I would like for you to
consider or dialogue more
Power is very interesting to me. It is strange how quickly people
started treating me differently when I became
and how power has led me to do things that I wouldn't have done
There are some things
that are within
our control, and there
are others that
I think you'd have trouble convincing me that this was true.)
Wed, Nov 23, 2005