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T.K.O Kim

T.K.O Kim

“Instinct drives treatment forward through the dark annals of the unknown and creates solutions when there are no answers”  (Maxwell Guttman, The Role of the Support System in Improving Mental Health Prognosis) 2018

I find it extremely ironic, that after spitting on me at Vito’s house and calling me a “faggot”, Kim decided to make finally make peace with me. He invited me to one of his kickboxing matches in Long Island. Apparently, Kim left his bizarre androgynous gender identity and history behind him in Liberty and taken up a more masculine prowess after graduation. I was a bit taken back by this invitation and wondered if there was any double meaning behind it. I was also puzzled and wondered how small, slightly effeminate Kim would handle himself around more athletic and physically fit men. Something didn’t add up.

I accepted Kim’s invitation to attend the event. I actually was really quite curious how this entire interest evolved. I just couldn’t figure out how Kim went from bookish coward to this whole new bravado of let’s take this outside, or rather, in the ring. I would soon find out.

When I got to the event venue most of my friends were already seated. I didn’t ask too many questions, mainly, because I didn’t want to sound offensive. But I sure was curious about what was in store for us…

The event started like any other boxing match. The announcer was loud, theatrical, and amusing. Since I hadn’t had too many nights out since my break, this was exciting. Then the moment finally came.

“And we have Kim in the solid trunks!” the announcer spoke and I intently watched. That was when I realized something after looking Kim up and down in the ring. His outward appearance had not changed at all. He looked like the same bookish coward that I remembered from Church street.

Ding-Ding Ding! The first round bell sounded. 

I watched Kim move around the ring a bit. He looked scared. Almost as if he wanted to walk away. Maybe he should have. Because within a matter of seconds, his opponent hit him with a left hand, and then a right, and down went Kim.

“Wow!” My friend Mcdaggot commented, reacting to the fight. In fact, I was thinking the very same thing. I’ve never seen someone go down that fast. Leave it to Kim, I thought to myself, to finally showcase going down in front of the feet of a real man, in front of so many onlookers, and not feel the slightest embarrassed or ashamed of feeling less than. That’s Kim, I thought. Shameless to the end. Revisonless!

J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."
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