Friday, May 8, 2009

update of sorts

I'm so entertained by the previous/first post. Once I get past the typos (there are few things that bother me more than typos in things I’ve written and put out there, only to find them, I find them… *sigh* … flawed) I've already moved some on the inside... not that I won't make more typos... just that some things have moved and shifted in the not so much time already passed. I remember the events surrounding that message, and it’s interesting to see the progress and lack thereof.

Anyway, I was talking about blogs with a friend of mine who has recently started one, and I decided that I would like to try again. I work a job which presents some interesting confidentiality issues from time to time, but I think I’ll just have to work around them. There are things I’m learning which I’d like to put out there into the world. Additionally, there is the ever-present need to be heard… something which, although dancing around that button where the defensiveness about my capacity to handle my life lies (“I depend on me”), I can’t deny. I needed my sister to read the statement I had to write for the job promotion I’m up for at work. There’s still some bit of something about this that’s just about being received.

Speaking of the job, I got the one I hinted at. I work at a group foster home as a direct care giver to 10 high school-aged girls. They are amazing and wonderful, and I there’s something fire-like about how much I love them. I do not get paid nearly what I should here (no one does, system being what it is); I recently calculated and realized that I work 50.5 daytime and 32 night-time hours and thus make significantly less than minimum wage. In other words, there are reasons that I feel poor and pressed for time. This job is also plagued by those problems inherent in top-down administrative systems which generally make me furious, as I have so very little patience for such things. It’s a recurring theme these days in a few areas, people making decisions affecting others without the benefit of consultation. I have no idea why people would want to run an organization like this without true consultation. It sounds exhausting… and actually looks exhausting. Honestly they’re trying, working with limited resources, and have the best intentions at heart. Otherwise I’d have bounced long ago… but I haven’t. It’s been hell on wheels for long stretches of time, but changes were made, and everyone is the better and wiser for it. All of this by way of saying that, while I love my girls madly, this is surely not the last job I’ll ever have.

I’ve always loved diversity and learning about different cultures, but I have developed what I would explain as a somewhat child-like love of this particular segment of Southern black culture… child-like because I am so very ignorant and shamelessly inquisitive and openly delighted with the unending poetry of speech and action. Examples, examples… there are so many… my 4.5 billion questions about what my girls are doing to their hair and how and why… how amused I am at being affectionately referred to as “Ms.Bahiyyih with her big ole head” and being accused of “cake bakin’” (flirting) and hearing boys they don’t like told to “go sit down with all of that”… the looks on their faces when I turn up the radio for a song they expect me not to like… and then there’s what happens when we go to the devotional gathering on Tuesday nights.

I have kids I thought I was never really going to connect to. They responded with a massive attitude every time I said anything to them. They refused to speak to me except when absolutely necessary. They essentially pushed me away as hard as possible, and I couldn’t find an in. I took the last of them to Tuesday night dinner and devotions the other night, and they watched my brother kill that drum and me sing until my vocal cords were done (I think we were still popping from Sunday morning at Louis Gregory… more on that later). They shouted along with the songs, smiled their little faces off, and have been absolute peaches since then. They’re glad I’m around. They want to ride when I go to drop others off. They say good morning when they get up and good bye when they go to school. It’s not over, but the door is open. Prayer works.

You know what else works? LOUD prayer. When the volume is turned up on negative influences in life, the spirit has to be louder to even be heard. The noise of the break-down of the world is almost deafening. Baha’u’llah says, “A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.” I think that applies.

The world has dealt these kids hands that would make me throw in the cards and retreat into a corner of myself. They have not resisted most of these pressures necessarily, but my girls are not squashed. They are powerful. They meet the pain with over-flowing joy and/or a great big “f*** you” delivered with back straight and head held high. I live in a pretty permanent state of awe. It’s something that the rest of the world needs. Diversity is so healthy…

More on all of that later…

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