Overcast, Overwhelmed, and Weepy

March 27, 2008 at 5:19 pm | Posted in Life in the US, The Bucket | 7 Comments

This afternoon, one of my clients got out of jail (both juvie and adult) after a couple of days because of a warrant stemming from a Failure to Appear.  He came directly to see me upon release, admitted in very veiled but unmistakable terms that he was a gang member, and called me both dawg and n****.  I hope that being in with the adult population (they put the seventeen year olds in high security for some mystifying reason) for a couple of days was enough of a wake up call.  But judging from those who’ve gone before, it may not be enough. 

It seriously sucks balls to be poor. 

I did learn a new slang term though, one that I like very much.  He said his PO was “cool as the other side of the pillow.”  I was like, huh? What the hell does that mean?  You know…when you turn your pillow over and the other side is all cool and refreshing.  He said I could use it if I want.

I’ve never seen so many instances of pain masked as anger, and it’s breaking my heart. 

This feeling kind of dovetails with my feelings about the privilege meme that some lovely bloggers have been doing (here, here, and here) lately.  I think what we all have in common is that we all grew up loved, cared for, and respected (even as children, our voices were respected).  We grew up believing that we were good enough, and even more than that…that we were truly special and deserved all the good things that came our way and would surely continue to come our way.  We understood that any adversity would be battled with our loved ones fighting right alongside of us.  For me, that’s true privilege, not cruises or classes or original art over the fireplace. 

Wow, this little rant is certainly all over the place.  But whatever, I can say what I want, no? Screw bad grammar.  Screw being made to feel that you’re not special.  Screw never being given hope.  Screw never being taught to be kind.  Screw being treated as a burden and not a blessing.  Screw the hurt and sadness these guys carry around every day and express in pummeling fists and rapping about guns and being mouthy to everyone around them. 

We’re all as cool as the other side of the pillow, even if no one ever makes us believe that this is so.



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  1. Bravo! You said it, I didn’t know how to get there with my post. It’s not about art or cruises or who paid for college (college is a privilege no matter who pays), it’s about having hope and having family you can count on.

  2. I’m with ya girl. I think I made a similar comment on Fned’s version of the meme, it’s more about having attentive parents than “wealthy” ones.

    You’ve got a tough job girl, but the rewards will be big when they come. It’s certainly giving you even more appreciation for all that you have. Hope the weepy part isn’t everyday, throw some laughs in their too. (Cool like the other side of the pillow is a good start). 🙂

  3. I think it was just the weather that made me particularly maudlin…it’s been nice and balmy the past few days and then today it was overcast and menacing all day. I do believe everything I posted, even on the best of days, but it doesn’t make me all sensitive.

    Most of the time my interactions with all the kids are fiercely funny, but there’s often a bit of pathos thrown in.

  4. I think your profession takes a special kind of person – I think it is important that these kids come to you, because they know you care. Nice to have someone (else?) on their side. It doesn’t surprise me that you would have these emotions (ups and downs), based on what I know of you. These kids are lucky to have you.

  5. Oh, this made me weepy, too. You’re so right. There are so few systems in place to help these kids when they’re young and forming their selves, but we’ve got plenty of systems in place to lock them away and never let them out. I admire you for being able to do the job you do.

  6. […] I privileged? I found this interesting meme through Gabacha’s […]

  7. Beautifully written…and terribly heartbreaking.

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