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This website is now published on my mobileme account. Any opinions expressed, however, are totally my responsibility.

The original website was published through the courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Jim Andris, Sept. 17, 2003.

Christmas 75

Season's Greetings, Friends:

In January I entered a TA (Transactional Analysis) program to train to become a therapist. Our training group meets twice a month, and we take turns doing therapy on one another. In August, I started my own therapy group, and have been doing therapy for 4 months now. The purpose of therapy, as I see it, is to free people up to do and get what they want and need. I have had moderate success so far.

In February my year long campaign at SIUE for gay rights paid off. The subject had been taboo, but through my writing in the school paper, speaking before groups, and becoming visible by serving on committees, the topic became much discussed. The president finally broadened the existing policy to cover all discrimination, not just that against women and racial minorities. This was a partial victory.

My own therapy freed me to finish some unresolved business around religion. Last spring I became active in the Metropolitan Community church, which is a gay church in St. Louis. I have discovered that I have a religious part of me. Mom and dad even visited MCC and joined in communion with me.

Jim Burgess got me to MCC
Pat Artrip, close friend and confidant

The year has brought old friends and new friends, too. Mariam Edgar, a "fellow" prankster from high school and lifelong friend, visited me for a week in June, and my brother Tom and wife Dee stayed a few days later in the summer. Patti Artrip is a new friend who is also in TA training with me. We're helping one another with life and therapy and having fun doing it too. And there's lots of other new friends from training, the university, and the gay community.

Tom and Dee Andris at my trailer
Brother Jim looks the happier of the two

Unfortunately, the last six months have been real downers as far as my health goes. I contracted mononucleosis in June, and just as my parents arrived to visit. I didn't really feel strong again until August, and could barely meet my classes. Then this fall, on top of my usual hay fever, I had a reaction to an allergy shot, and I am just now strong enough to venture out beyond my working day. I did get a lot of reading done this summer, and that was nice. I also became an expert crossword puzzle worker.

Mom and dad at the Tom Sawyer House
Jim and mom at the Tom Sawyer House

I'm now looking forward to my sabbatical, which is the next six months. I have lots of plans—travel (e.g. Florida in January), writing, course development, visiting friends, more TA training and marathons. Don't be surprised if I show up on your doorstep this spring. And next Christmas, God willing, I'll tell you how it all went.

Jim Andris

Love is where you find it.