See, I'm already living the dream. At least 30 people aren't homeless because of me. Because I've been grinding my ass as hard as I can for 3.5 months to solve a major problem. Because I've been watching some of these people since March and I've always had a "if I want action taken, take it myself" attitude. So my life has been bursting with success stories. My focus has been on what to do with difficult cases. When I was in class, my mind didn't drift to TV or hanging out with friends or relationships. It drifted to "if that assisted living home won't take him, where can I put him?" and "I need to call that property management company to see if they have a 1 bedroom" and "I haven't seen this guy in a while - is he safe?" Eventually I caught myself and got caught back up with work. But for a while there, I felt like I didn't need a MSW, because I'm already doing exactly what I want.
Of course, there will come a day when I'm not doing exactly what I want. In one sense, that day is January 1st, as, due to grant funding, my job is over at the end of this year. In another sense, I thought I was living the dream as a special ed teacher until I found my gift for the homeless population. But maybe I'll find something else. Something that requires an MSW. And then I'll regret dropping out.
So, I stuck with it. And I aced it. I really don't enjoy the thought of having to rearrange my life every 3 months for the next 4 years to accommodate USM's asinine scheduling - if someone's going part time, chances are, they have a full-time job, and how the hell are they supposed to keep it with a class at 1:15 on a Wednesday? That's one more problem I have to solve in the coming weeks. If I have a full time job. I'm interviewing. But there's already been rejections and bizarre interview cancellations. I'll be up for a while longer tonight, so I imagine I'll draft at least one more cover letter. I loathe it, but I just don't feel safe with anything right now - organizations can always surprise you with rejections.
I sobbed uncontrollably in the soup kitchen today when I heard about a client's passing. Perhaps I might not have been so devastated if I wasn't such a mess myself right now. And I hadn't quite realized what a mess I am until that all processed. Sure, my apartment is cluttery and junky and my sink was full of dishes until I finally did something about it tonight. And I hated that yet couldn't work up the motivation to fix it. I can fix everyone else. I just don't care enough to fix myself sometimes.
I always put myself last. I've had very bad relationships where I refuse to acknowledge that perhaps I'm entitled to equal treatment, to also be shown love and support. I just give and give and give because I don't want to see someone hurting, so if there's something I can do, I will. I've actually used the phrase "I don't matter. Let's just worry about helping you." To be fair, I realize the hundred things wrong with that statement. Now. But why not do extra hours when they're needed or a cover a shift for someone with an appointment or come in early unpaid to do more research on apartments? I'm needed. And I've always needed to be needed.
I don't foresee any change any time soon. I'm somewhat at peace with that. It's part of what makes me me. I just need it to be a little less damaging. Or recognize when it's doing me in a little sooner. But as awkward as it is to cry in public, and have clients ask you what's wrong, or ask the person that told you "what did you do to her?!" with a hint of menace, I hope I never stop being that torn up about something like this, and never stop putting my heart into everything I do. It's so immensely valuable not to be jaded. I may only be 24, and may not have experienced much loss, catastrophe, heartbreak, or trauma, but I hope I keep giving my heart to every situation that has the opportunity to produce it. Otherwise, I just wouldn't be Jenna.
And I'm not okay with that.