Just released from prison

3 03 2009

After five years of corruption, verbal abuse, negativity, sexual harrassment, and a healthy dose of good ‘ol human misery, I have just been released from prison. I feel so relieved. I am comforted by the hope that I touched some lives while I was there and if anything, helped those incarcerated feel like somebody cared about their well being.

I have taken a part time job working in a partial hospitalization program. In addition, I am doing per diem work with women through a local agency. I am excited about a flexible schedule and having benefits with a part time job. This is giving me a much needed break.

As I said my goodbyes last Friday at the prison, I heard “You’re so lucky, I’m stuck here”, over and over again. As if my getting out of that place was luck instead of a decision I made regarding my own happiness. Most of the people working at the prison are employed by the state, which means if they have 30 or so years of service they get pension and ongoing retirement benefits for life. I cannot express to you all the misery that this creates for most of the people working there. More people than not can tell you at any given moment exactly how many days they have until they retire. They stay in jobs they hate, in a place that they hate, working with people that they hate, for security. And they have made that CHOICE.

Two things became very clear to me as I heard how people were “Stuck” over and over. The first, that no wonder the prison is so full of miserable and negative people all treating each other like garbage.  And second, it is the staff who are in prison in that place, not the inmates. The inmates are going to get out eventually and it appears the staff are not. They are, for all intensive purposes, prisoners of their own minds.

Even though I no longer work at the prison, I will still write about it from time to time. There are enough stories to last a lifetime from that place.  And event though I am no longer in prison, I’m still having adventures in prison and I guess as long as I work with other human beings, that will be the case.

I hope you’ll keep reading.





8 days and a wake up

18 02 2009

I have switched jobs many times throughout my life. Historically, it hasn’t been difficult. There is usually a personality disordered boss or innapropriate coworker that I can rely on to give me that little shove out the door and on to my next nightmare job.  Also, the truth of it is I get bored after a while….I get good at what I do and feel as if I am not being challenged intellectually enough, so I move on to the next challenge.

Throughout my youth (which I suppose I may still be technically in), this was not of much consequence – switching jobs I mean. I worked at restaurants or coffee shops or even later as an administrative assistant. The people I served may have been sad to see me go, but it was unlikely that it lingered and significantly impacted their ability to enjoy that 5 dollar latte or recieve the 10 page fax transmission.

Since starting in my professional work as a social worker, leaving a job has taken on a much different feel. It has become an experience wrought with emotions. I have begun that process of terminating with clients and saying goodbye and inevitably I get the ” Thank You’s ” which are wonderful of course but so much better when not followed by a speech on how I am triggering abandonment issues….. I have chosen to have a sense of humor about this because I know better of course. Although I must say, it does tap into that feeling that I am walking away from people who rely on me.

This feeling has been here before in my social work career when leaving a job. Beause I am in the business of connecting with other human beings, severing those connections is a hell of alot more impactful than hanging up the apron for the last time.

As a young intern, I found termination with clients very difficult because of that sense that I was abandoning them. Reflecting back, it is nice to see growth on my part. The emotions are still there but they don’t invade and take over the game, so to speak.

I am curious how others have experienced this process, if you feel like sharing.

 

p.s. – i actually don’t even know if impactful is a word…..but it is now baby.





to blog or not to blog

29 01 2009

So I am experiencing some serious blogger guilt about not posting more regularly. I’ll be honest, after having to delete my original blog because THE MAN was breathing down my neck, I have lost some of my oomph. I am grieving the loss of several months of writing and I feel like I am starting all over again.

Also, I have been pretty focused on my work  – in terms of changing it. My goal for this year is to work less and make more as well as find the soul stirring feeling that brought me to the social work profession in the first place. I have come through the denial and admitted that working at the prison is completely sucking the soul out of me and I’ve almost nothing left to give to the inmates I work with. I just can’t take the injustice any longer.

That being said, I am working with the law of attraction to bring the things I want into my life. So far, interesting things are afoot and it appears I may be moving on from the prison soon…stay tuned for that.

As I potentially enter a new arena of work and life, I am struggling with whether to continue this blog. It started as a self reflection blog about my search for joy in my life. It soon morphed into a social work blog specifically about prison and being a helping professional inside of it. Now, I have changed the name to reflect that and it appears it may ALL be changing. I am on the island of blog indifference. Anyone got a boat?





SERENDIPITY

4 01 2009

My mother and I are both quitting smoking right now. I am on day 4 , she is on day 10. For anyone who has ever truly been addicted to cigarettes, you know how incredibly crazy this can make a person.  By day three it felt as if my usually level head was going to pop right off my neck and in its place a fire breathing, teeth gnashing, crazy making devil woman’s face would replace it. Irrational becomes the new rational when the receptors in your brain begin to torture and punish you for depriving them of the food they have been given for the last 15 years or in my mother’s case – the last 40.
There have been many times in my life that I have attempted to quit cigarettes, but in my heart I never really wanted to. I did it because I “should” or because others wanted me too. Then the day came where I realized that all of the priorities in my ife that I held dear were being stomped on by this addiction. I looked in the mirror and recognized myself but could not see how being a smoker fit at all with that woman. Something shifted and the idea that I was actually capable of quitting became real.
So yesterday, my mother and I spent the day together, shopping and chatting, and enjoying each other’s company. She helped keep me distracted all day from the monster that is day three. We had lunch at the Olive Garden and feasted on salad, breadsticks, and all manner of fried delights. After we each finished up our favorite Bloody Mary and were sufficiently full the waitress approached asking the customary coffee and/or dessert question. My mother piped up, “Yes, we’ll both have coffee and a slice of mousse cake because we’re celebrating you see.” We then both launched into our new found commitment to becoming non smokers, how many days we had under our belts, how this time was it! We were full, happy, and proud of ourselves – we needed to share. The waitress came back shortly after with our coffee and a slice of that decadent mousse cake split in two, each piece with a lit candle in it. We made our wishes with big smiles across our faces and proceeded to fill the last spot left in our bellies with celebration.
Our last stop of the day was the bookstore which we ambled around in together, looking at books here and there and talking along the way. I like to approach the bookstore that way, with no particular book in mind and see what catches my attention. So as I entered the self help aisle, I glanced to the right and noticed a book titled LIFE IS A VERB. I picked it up and opened to a poem that was striking. I read it aloud to my mother then flipped through further. Imagine my delight when the next thing I read was absolute insistence from the author that I go to the store and by several packs of birthday candles immediately, not knowing when a celebration may be warranted, and stick some in my purse too just in case. I bought two copies, one for me and one for my mother. Today, I think i’ll buy some packs of birthday candles at the store.
You’ve got to stop and read the words when the universe puts up a sign on your journey.
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ser⋅en⋅dip⋅i⋅ty[ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]

–noun

1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.