Statement by Ann Richards, Actress, New York City Teacher of English and Drama
As to the lie about families: I am incensed to see statements on the Internet saying people who teach Aesthetic Realism divide families. I hate it because it's a gross lie and I hate it that people who do not know what Aesthetic Realism is could be influenced by such stuff. Aesthetic Realism brought my family together at a very difficult time, one that millions of families across the country face now and are having a time of it trying to deal with.
For the past four years, until her death in February, I had been, together with my family, caring for our mother who suffered from the forgetfulness and the loss of mental ability associated with Alzheimer's. (She herself never studied Aesthetic Realism.) Throughout these years my Aesthetic Realism education has been a source of great strength: I learned how to be kind to my mother, way beyond her physical needs.
I can only relate the smallest idea of what occurred, but in just this you can see for yourself how untrue these terrible things said by Bluejay and Mali actually are. Although she was finding it more and more difficult to live in her home of over 50 years, she did not want to leave it, nor did she want anyone to come in and help her. Of course I was terrifically worried, but I felt burdened, too. In professional classes in which I asked about how to see my mother more fairly, I literally learned how to have compassion, beginning by seeing that my mother is not just my mother, but a person in her own right, related to the whole world, someone to know without limit, and that, with all the difficulties of the situation, it was my self-expression to do all I could to know her and to know what would make her stronger-to have good will.
In those years, and after, when she was admitted to the hospital, I did try to understand her and I worked with the nurses and her doctor, my husband, and my family to have her better off. And she was happy about this, even as she suffered so much. The two of us held hands over the bed-railing for hours until my arms ached, we talked, we laughed. It means everything to me that my mother was more at ease, despite her great distress. She was grateful to Eli Siegel and Aesthetic Realism for the daughter she had. Those liars insult her dear departed soul and I won't stand for it. "Using a Mother's death to See Meaning in the World," an article published in newspapers around the country, written by myself and Ruth Oron, can be seen at www.ruthoron.net .
As to the lie about being "watched." Though I would like to address all the lies, I will now go after one of the most absurd. It's a story about how people who study Aesthetic Realism watch over each other, "observe" one another or something to that effect. I object to this portrayal of myself and others who study Aesthetic Realism, more intensely and more vehemently than I have the power of words to express. The utter ridiculousness of it-the way it paints me like some creature who just hovers around in some watchful-and-watched state is something that just belongs in some science fiction movie like "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers."
I am a free, independent, citizen of this country. I do as I please. I love French cuisine. I love going out to eat with my friends (some do and some do not study Aesthetic Realism), friends who are doctors, retired people, fellow teachers, secretaries, my supervisor, lawyers, my neighbors, construction managers, etc. I vote in elections. I take yoga classes. I play the flute. My husband and I love bird-watching, music, photography, going to the theater and movies. I like to watch reruns of "Law and Order" on TNT. I like to shop. I am a high school English teacher who loves literature, particularly drama, and the class valedictorian in 2001 nominated me for Who's Who among America 's Teachers. I have always hated being told what to do, to which anyone who knows me will attest.
I do belong to organizations to which I have paid dues: my union, the New York State English Council, the Screen Actors Guild, Actor's Equity, Hawk Mountain (bird) Sanctuary Association and others. I do not "belong" to the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, I study in it. I am studying to teach Aesthetic Realism myself because I think it is a wonderful education. I take classes and attend seminars and other public presentations there because I want to. And, boy, are they GREAT.