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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Today was an emotional juicer. It just squezzed everything out of me.
I didn't even bother trying to walk home, one because there is a stagnant heat wave here in Philadelphia and two because I don't think I could've made it home without crying.
It was a busy day, we had a rush of clients. I worked with my first client, helping him to learn some interview skills through a mock interview. Then we went searching for listings on craigslist and made some calls and sent resumes out. It was a challenge. We consistently stress the parnterships aspect of our organization and we try hard to not fall into working for our clients by filling out applications for them or doing all the legwork. At the end of the day our clients should feel like they've accomplished something, not me. He kept coming up with reasons why he couldn't type or look things up. It just seemed like a lack of confidence the same kind I used to see in my students when I was teaching them English. It's important to challenge and support without pushing people into a situation that will overpower them. For the most part, we were able to make progress. He got two interviews which was awesome.
We've also been trying to get glasses for him and were able to get some from LensCrafters. At some point in our meeting he started wearing my glasses which was fine. He apologized and put them back. But then after he left I couldn't find them. There are many possible explanations. I could've easily misplaced them or he could've taken them by accident. But I couldn't help thinking that he might have taken them. I felt ashamed for thinking that because I didn't want to stereotype him and he was a great guy, but that was my initial gut feeling.
I tend to be overlycritical, I know it's a bias I have. I don't trust easily and it's easy for me to think the worst.
It just brings up the question in my mind, what if a client does steal from me or lie to me after I put so much energy into helping them. It happens. The best way to go about it is to be understanding, to know that we are all such complex beings that cannot be labeled either bad or good. I remember an excerpt from 'eat pray love' by elizabeth gilbert (seriously, such a great book.) She decides to collect a huge sum of money to give to a new friend in Bali so the woman can build a house. But the woman prolongs the building of the house for so long and even starts to ask for more money. Elizabeth gets very upset but her boyfriend, a long time resident of Bali, reminds her that the people of Bali are very differently. They don't mean to steal and cheat but it has become a part of who they need to be. They don't see it as bad, but as a means for survival.
Here in America, people are robbed of so much for so long. So much that should be a given. The need for survival can become so intense and look like some very cruel things.
I'm not condoning stealing or any other malicious act. By all means, people should be punished in equal measure to the crimes they commit. But I can sympathize and I can understand.
But still, while I have had many great times here in Philly there have been many not so great times. Many experiences that have jilted my faith in the goodness of every human being. Experiences that have made me understand why mom insists so much on me getting mace. Experiences that make me want to quit right now and go home or somewhere easier or safer.
I can see the good in everything but I can also call a spade a spade and now that some times things just aren't great. Sometimes they outright suck.
I don't know why I can't stop crying or why it hurst so much. I think I feel the hurt of the world through the people I work with and it overwhelms me. And I feel so alone, so far away.
I don't want to leave this blog on a sad note.
Today I was able to finally meet another of the national office staff. It's funny when I first started a month ago, I thought I was the underdog. I hadn't had much NSP experience and other things and I couldn't see how I had managed to get this job.
Today I learned that there was a lot of buzz around me and the experiences I'm coming in with. It's true, I'm so grateful for my experiences at UF cause they lend so much to this job. And I was the first new Site cooridnator hired and there was a lot of excitement when I accepted the position. I tend to get insecure about those things but shouldn't we enjoy the good things (without letting it go to our heads). I guess the bad things just become easier to believe(Pretty Woman).
I will spend the night resting. I am very tired physically and emotionally but hopefully this is toughning me up for the bigger hurdles to come.

Song: You Learn by Alanis Morissette

Quote: I am going to tell you this: there are no 'rotten apples.' There are only people who disagree with your point of view on things, people who construct a different model of the world. I am going to tell you this: no persons do anything inappropriate given their model of the world.
Neale Donald Walsch (and presumably God)

1 comment:

emilyvux said...

Hey Ashley,

Just wanted to let you know that I've been reading your blog and I've been learning a lot from it. It sounds like you're having an eye-opening but awesome experience in Philly. I think what you are doing is really admirable and I just wanted to tell you to keep the faith when you get frustrated. I think we need a little idealism when it seems that everything is shot to hell. That's the only way anything changes. Looking forward to reading more of your entries as the year progresses,

Emily Vuxton