Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fast Car

I have surely heard this song before in my life, but I just recently heard it on the radio this past weekend. All I could think of was how beautiful it was. The melody, the lyrics, it was soothing in a way. 

I think I have finally figured out why Mondays are so hard for me (other than the obvious reason that Mondays just suck for everyone). How I am in the mornings, is how I am all day on Mondays. Kinda grumpy and don't talk to anyone.

I don't do transitions well, I need time to prep..
And when I have a weekend of living my lifestyle and then going to work and seeing a totally different way of living, it takes me the whole day to transition and understand. I debated writing that, because I sound like a jerk and a snob, but there it is.

And then Tuesday-Friday, I am focused and attentive and understanding. But Mondays, it's rough. My brain doesn't switch that quickly.

Now, I'm not making that much money. I compared my salary to the federal poverty line...I'm not too far from it, myself. But I'm not part of this cycle, and I recognize that and I understand that even though my salary isn't much more than theirs (which is a whole other discussion, because I have my master's, 3-4 degrees more than the average client of mine does), I have a huge, huge safety net and surrounded by those who can and will always help me. I actually have zero fear of ever being homeless, because of this safety net.

Sometimes, I need things described to me in different ways, multiple times, on a consistent basis. I work with those who are living at/below the poverty line. Essentially, not just people struggling, but the "poorest of the poor".

I met with someone the other day. They are over 50 years old and they said, "I just got my first apartment. I'm working on building my credit. I didn't have bad credit, I just didn't have any, because I had never heard of it before. I always paid in cash and that's how everyone in my life paid for things."

Four people out of the...almost 100? people I have worked with have ever even heard of a budget/spending plan and of those four, two of them had actually created one before.

I could go on, but that isn't even the focus of this writing.

It's this song. Ever since I heard it, I've been hooked. It helps me understand. Because it is easy to blame and shame those who don't have much. It's easy for me to do that, and I'm a social worker. I forget that the people in front of me are real. I forget that this is their life. I forget that they probably didn't dream of being a doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut. I forget that almost every single one of them is part of the generational cycle of poverty. I forget that they often don't feel like "someone". And when I forget, I start to blame and get apathetic.

So when Tuesdays roll around, and I listen to this song, I'm more motivated to make each person who I encounter "feel like someone". I always want to give hope. I always want them to walk out of my office feeling better than when they came in.