Where were you in 1965?

For any Dominican, who was living in DR during that year, this question is akin to ‘where were you on September 11th’. Lots happened in 1965 due to political instability and the American occupation of the Dominican Republic.

I first found out about the events of 1965 during the time immediately before ‘Operation Desert Storm’ in early 1991. The US had set a deadline of January 17th, after which they would bomb Iraq. I was working in a mental health clinic in Bushwick with predominantly Spanish speaking clients. Many of the clients started getting increasingly anxious during this countdown. I noticed the increase in anxiety but did not know exactly why until one person was aware enough to connect the dots between her current anxiety and her experience in 1965 where she, as well as many other Dominicans, witnessed and experienced many atrocities. She told me her experience. I looked for books on the subject but found none. This was the age before internet, so there was no Googling anything back then. I then started asking all my Dominican clients who were born before 1965 what their experience had been and each and every one of them had a story to tell. They told me of the fear they went through during the months of this occupation. Children did not go to school and when family members left the house, sometimes they didn’t come back.

The events of 1965 are complex politically. I have never felt satisfied in knowing what ‘really happened’ in the Dominican Republic in 1965 by looking at books or on the internet. I did find out though that the US Intrepid, was one of the ships that went to the Dominican Republic in 1965 and is now stationed a few miles away from the predominantly Dominican neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. What this means symbolically is up for discussion I suppose.

As far as mental health is concerned, there is always that one question that unlocks the memories and emotions that are otherwise hidden away in the recesses of the mind.

The Lazy Song

Very cute video.  As I was on my treadmill, struggling with running after not having run for several days, I heard this song on the radio.  It struck me that while he did not feel like doing anything, he in fact, wrote this song, set it to music, and directed the video, had friends/associates that could do the video with him, and it became a number one hit.

There is nothing wrong with taking a mental health day, feeling lazy, or laying on the couch all day on the weekend watching tv…but the fact is, that you do have to show up for yourself and do the things that you don’t feel like doing.  Exercise, eat right, meditate, work, pursue your goals and your dreams.

The issue that gets most people though is not ‘being lazy’, but feeling ‘not good enough’ or ‘not enough’.  Once you have the knowledge of what you would like to be doing in order to feel better, or accomplish your goals – you have to take all the thoughts that come afterwards, that are obstacles to you taking the next step, and put them in a locked box.

Or maybe you can write a song about it…