Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Counting My Blessings

Okay, I am going to admit something. As a social worker, you know what I play on the weekends, I hear some horrible stories. Abuse, physical assault, mental abuse. I see poverty and disparities in health, race, gender, culture, and education. I see folks, who ask me, “How do you know my life will get better, if I use your fookin coping skills?” I have chicken & the egg type conversations with coworkers as we try to decide is X’s drug addiction due to his mental health diagnosis or has the drugs caused the diagnosis (aka comorbidity). I see people who are trying to pick themselves up with their fucking bootstraps, except the pair they got didn’t come with no straps, so they tug at their own heals with very little results for all their hard work.

Why do I do it? Because I am lucky. Because I have this innate ability to sit and listen to some pretty shitty stories and NOT take them on. Because I do believe its up to us as a species to keep this planet moving towards better for all, not just that 1% who really don’t understand that money doesn’t buy happiness but it does purchase necessities that we all don’t have fair access to. Because I don’t believe because I was born into a system with problems that they are a given or unfixable or the natural reality of things.

I hear the bootstrap mentality all the time at my job. I am so torn by it because I get that it really is up to us as individuals to make a better life for ourselves. I mean if I saw the world as bad and ugly and out to get me, chances are this is directing my path. I am a believer that my perceptions dictate direction and yeah, even if so-n-so told me once I was an “ugly fat fucktard who no one will love” its still on me to learn how to not take it on. In fact, it is up to me to say “Fuck no, buddy, you don’t get to tell me my path.” With that said, we all don’t have the same boots, people! Some of us have to accept a limited life with the boots we got or we have to try and find a new fucking pair just so we can walk. The lack of education and basic health care effects people! The lack of community support effects people! So does racism, poverty, family abuse, mental health stereotypes, homelessness, gentrification and the list goes on.

So, I am this social worker on the weekends and I listen to people. I find resources for them and talk about coping with their current ticket of living. I listen and offer insights. I listen and get insights. I listen to their horrible stories because I can and then I talk about how we might find them a new pair of boots. And I feel blessed that this is one of the things I get to do in my lifetime. Trust me, there is a burnout rate of 10 years for social workers and I see why, but until then I am blessed to take this on.


Jane said...

It is a true blessing to have that calling to help others. I'm fairly emotional and think I would have a hard time not taking the stories in to my heart. I do have such awe that you love doing this and you are making such a diffence in so many lives.

By the way, love the image of the boot. I have this girlie version of a combat boot and every time I wear them, I feel like I could go out and do anything!

Happy thursday!!

sarala said...

I wonder how long Child Psychiatrists last on average. The stories are hard to assimilate sometimes.