Reasons I LOVE my job!
I love the human experience, this list brought to you from my first two months of full-time shelter work:
1. Asking youth how knowledgeable they are in protecting themselves against STI’s and unwanted pregnancy. Answers as followed:
i) I have a kid, what do you think?
ii) I don’t need them (body language presented like they wanted me to ask why) … Still a virgin.
iii) what’s a female (internal) condom? A long talk about birth control took place — I was in heaven.
iv) a conversation around whether or not plan B was a birth control option.
2. Calling the women they date, “Ladies of the Night”
3. Describing a pad as looking like a Joe Louie. Dead.
4. Cleaning with residents and them tormenting me with thoughts of cock roaches, spiders and worms.
5. A resident chasing me down the stairs trying to give me a hug because a) we had a discussion around boundaries b) he knows it makes me wildly uncomfortable.
6. Discussing what reality tv shows we would excel on. My winners: the Bachelor, Big Brother and Survivor. Honorable mention goes out too Bad Girls Club.
7. Secret Extensions. My white girl bun. And the fact my name is Alisha, a resident couldn’t believe I was white.
8. Actually hearing someone describe their race in percentages. Hearing a explanation of how said person explains race: a drought caused the darkening of the skin. Like what?????
9. Including me in their house community when talking about who participated in the cleaning.
10. The sincere apologies when they are short with me, or perceive themselves to be rude to me, or accidentally swear at me.
11. The conversations when they are drunk or high - why are they called u-ten-cils.
12. Being one residents “Repunzel”
13. Hearing about their dating lives.
14. The inspiration these young people give me. They are trying to navigate the complexities of this world with additionally being street-involved, and having a variety of other things on their plate.
15. That despite having hard days and days I just want to cry, and even though some days I don’t want to go in, I know I am doing what I am passionate about!