Months ago, I was listening to a podcast on my commute when one of the people, a writer, commented that the important part of writing is knowing when not to write from a place of pain. Writing from a place of pain and publishing it is just never going to yield the results you want. When in pain, you write for yourself. You write for others once you know the lessons you were meant to get from the pain.
This commentary is an important one for me right now. I feel like I should sit down and talk about what I have learned over the past year fostering especially now that the experiment, if you will, has come to an end.
But clearly I’m still in the “pain” stage or, in actuality, the processing one.
G and I went out to dinner together after everything sort of went KABOOM, and we sat there in silence about as much as in conversation. He is grappling with knowing on all levels that what we did was right – but it is hard because it does not feel right. A classic case of emotions not matching the rational thoughts leaving one to feel conflicted, or in his case, I think he used the word “empty”. And honestly, I can see why he feels that way. He’s an educator. Giving up is not something you do if you are a good educator. There always has to be a way to get through. But in our case – this case – we could not find one.
I sat there feeling exhausted. Everything rapidly came to a head, and my brain and body went into emergency mode flooding it with adrenaline and all of the good stuff allowing me to deal with it the way it needed to be dealt with. And in the end, I hate the outcome because while I liked the kid, I hated the actions he was taking that resulted in all of this. Life lines were being thrown – we pulled the kid into the boat more than once, but it because clear, each time he got back into the water, that he didn’t believe he was drowning. And for me – he needs professionals – not just caring adults. This is all well above our pay grade. So while I hate everything leading up to this point, I cannot see any other options in terms of an outcome.
Thursday night, we both slept deeper than we have in months. We both knew that we did not need to be on alert. We both knew we did not need to worry. We both knew that everyone was in for the night – and no one was going anywhere or possibly starting something on fire, or the like. And when we got up the next morning, we didn’t wonder if this would be another day he would pretend to take the medication or if we would find him smoking pot in his room or if he was going to actually even be able to get up to go to school or if he did, that we’d get the call that he’s been expelled.
The social worker after we loaded up his things gave us big hugs and said she didn’t blame us if we never wanted to do this again. She told us we were the only reason this wasn’t harder on her – we were a team all working on what to do for him. We weren’t just bitching at her. We did a lot of heavy lifting with her which she knows made things harder on us than “normal” foster parents. (She has been very clear to us the last few months – we are not normal and she didn’t want us to be.)
I’m starting to feel that heavy lifting. When you keep stress in your body for so long, you stop noticing it. When the stress is gone, your body releases it – and you are sore….or at least I am sore. My back – my shoulders – my entire body. It reminds me of after giving birth where you are sore in places you wouldn’t think of being sore, but were made sore by the stress of the act.
G, very last minute, found a deal at a hotel at the coast and sent me away. He knows the ocean is where I can recharge. I got food to go from my favorite pub (and beer) – came back – ate – then fell asleep by 7:30pm. I kept waking up because my body was so sore that I could not get comfortable. (And me without any Advil.). (Plus, I kept waking up because while this hotel is in an awesome location – it is a total dive. The heater makes these odd noises. The curtains don’t close all of the way. And the 1970s decor is retro at best. The view makes up for it even if they forgot to put a coffee mug in the room.)
Today I fight my brain. My brain is telling me everything I should do while I am here. My brain is reminding me of a few places I have always wanted to photograph but have not had a chance. My brain is telling me to get a move on and go go go. My heart is telling my brain to shut the fuck up and just be.
Because besides the shit that exploded, it did so on the heals of the funeral for the woman I worked with. And I know I have not yet processed all of that.
Yeah, I need to convince myself to just be today – or to just be okay with sitting and watching the water and letting the energy heal and recharge me.
I’m not good at that.