Friday, April 10, 2015

Can't Even Blame it on the Moon

I check the local news website every morning to make sure that whatever tragedy or arrest that occurred last night didn't happen to one of my clients. If I see "East Tulsa" or "Kendall Whittier" on the headlines then my heart begins to race, I start to sweat a little and I begin praying that I don't recognize a name or face. Unfortunately, this is not based on unfounded fears. I have flipped open my computer on several occasions to find out that a client's mother was being arrested for some very gross neglect and abuse, that a family's home was burned down, that a father had been caught driving under the influence, and most horrifically and recently, that a client's mom had been murdered.

Sorry if that's too disturbing for a little blog post. I'm not sugar-coating any of this job, because there's not much sugar to coat it with. Don't get me wrong, it is the most fulfilling job I have ever had, and lately I've been coming home saying, "This is it! I know that this is what I am meant to do!" However, just because I'm being fulfilled doesn't mean that I'm not being a little traumatized as well. 

I am learning how to leave my work at work, but some days it is impossible. I am a very emotional and empathetic person by nature. Ever since I was a child, I've felt the emotions of others so intensely. It is impossible for me to watch someone get embarrassed, it pains me to see someone cry, and I'm prone to putting myself in others people's shoes and then tying the damn laces so tight that I can't get out of those shoes as I obsess about their pain the rest of the day.

This week has been a sad one. My high school kids are losing their shit: one was placed in a psychiatric hospital, one is spending all his time with gang members, two are waking and baking and skipping class every day, one is awaiting a court appearance, another is in juvenile detention and yet another is realizing that high school graduation may never happen for her. On top of that, a school bus crashed and a client broke his leg. ITS BEEN A WEEK, Y'ALL. And it's not even a full moon!

Although I don't agree that there is always a silver lining or that everything happens for a reason, I do believe that life cycles through the shit and the blessings. Right now, we're on a shit cycle. And so to cope and get through it, I choose to find joy within my job. For example, when asked who her favorite person in history was, one of my adult ESL students said, "St. Patrick because he was good to the black people." And as I attempted to keep my face neutral, as any good ESL teacher must learn how to do, she added, "Yes. St. Patrick Luther . . . Jr. . . oh wait . . ." And then we all burst into laughter. Her excuse was that the two holidays were very close to each other, and also she's not from here. If that's not joy, I don't know what is. 

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