Some days are heavier than others.
"I don't want to be successful. Everyone says I'm going to end up in jail, and they're right. It's no point trying no more."
He is 17 years old. He was caught by the police ("like 10 cars and a helicopter") for stealing and selling puppies last weekend. When he told me, I laughed out loud and said, "Puppies?! Puppies are what brought you down?" He smiled and said, "I do whats I do, Miss Molly." After attempting to exchange money for some wiggly pure breeds, the police arrived in full force, surrounded him and his brother, told them that if they moved an inch that they would be "shot in the ass," slammed their faces against the car windows and took them to juvie.
Unfortunately, I've become accustomed to the arrests and the asshole cops and the drugs and the guns. I'm unfazed but disappointed in my clients' decisions when they make choices that are so detrimental to their future and when they don't express much regret. But as frustrating as it can be to hear no remorse, it is far worse to to hear the sounds of utter defeat. I taught my client what self-sabotage means, and he agreed that he is indeed sabotaging himself. When I asked him who believes in him, he said, "Just you. And my mom." He has reached a point of no return.
This boy was born into poverty, kidnapped by his dad for a year, taken back by his mom, sent back to his dad then back to his mom, and told he was stupid and incapable of making anything of himself over and over. This is real life.
No matter how many times I try to get him to identify positive qualities and talents in himself, no matter how many options to his gangster lifestyle I present, no matter how many times I advocate for him with schools and programs, no matter how much his mom loves him and works hard to provide a life for him, he is still a young, Latino male living in urban poverty with little chance of success. And days like this are very, very heavy.
We ended the session by shaking hands and agreeing that he would take it one step at time, call me before he attempts a felony again, and start completing some assignments for school. It isn't life-changing, but it's a step. And at this point, a step is monumental.
But good news, y'all! He's been telling me for years that he's got my back. Today he told me that he doesn't like it that everyone is afraid of him. I told him that I wasn't afraid of him and he said, "We got you, Miss Molly. If anybody messes with you, just let us know. We'll take care of it."