Two weeks ago I experienced heartbreak and slumped into depression but now my happiness and contentment with my lot in life has been regenerated.
For those who follow me, you may have heard about one of my volunteer positions in a group called Circles. It helps those raised in poverty rise up and break self-defeating cycles. I was ‘paired’ with a young woman who has two children; a welfare mother. These woman are called ‘leaders’ as they are leading their children out of poverty. They are paired with middle class allies.
My leader didn’t show up for the first three Circles. I talked about her with another leader who I thought knew her better and might give me some insight.
When I finally met my leader my eyes were opened. She is depressed, (her mom died of a drug overdose last winter) and her kids are completely undisciplined. The three yr. old doesn’t have any words yet; he just grunts and hollers. She gives in. OMG I knew this was going to be hard.
Two weeks ago I was asked for an interview with the program leader. I thought it would be an update and advice, etc. I was handed a sheet of paper; the Ally Job Description. When I was first interviewed, she read this to me but didn’t have copy. I guess we both forgot about it. There was something I had wrong and now I was being told “I wasn’t a good fit for the group.” I was asked to leave the Circle.
I thought confidences were within the Circle but I did not know you weren’t supposed talk about your leader with another leader. This happened 3 or 4 weeks earlier and no one spoke to me about it. I had written the program director twice in that time and had no reply. Apparently, she told me afterward, she was waiting to talk to her employer.
I sat with the job description in my hand and my mouth hanging open. It was fortunate we weren’t alone: The head of all the program directors was there and she really softened the blow. I’m sure it would have been worse without her there.
I held back my tears until I got to my car and cried for two days. It was just like falling in love, then breaking up and getting your heart broken.
Then I turned to the “I’m better off without him” phase.
One thing stands out: That was way beyond my pay grade! In fact; my leader was way beyond my pay grade. I had already started worrying about her and trying to figure out what I could do to help her. I was thinking of buying child car seats so I could pick her up.
Here’s an example of how hard this was going to be: At my last Circles there was a guest speaker from the County who talked about a two- week program to help young people enter the work force. It was set up like a job; 9-5, Monday to Friday and they get paid $15 an hour. They learn to write resumes, learn about a wide variety of jobs from guest speakers, practice interviews. . . I know! Fantastic!
I said to my leader I would drive her to this if she wanted to do it. She said, “I’m not a morning person.”
Then there was going out for dinner every Thursday where I’m the only vegetarian and they make such a big deal about ‘finding me something to eat’ its ridiculous. Every week I would say; “There’s enough vegetables, carrot sticks and buns here for me.” Now everyone can eat their meal in peace.
I started to think ahead to the winter; leaving in the dark and cold. How will my leader get there? She walks with a double stroller now. How will she get there in the winter?
So that’s how I’ve come to terms with it. Yes, it hurt. It was not my choice. But because of that choice I’m forced to go back to my happy, care-free existence, not worrying about her. Again; That was way beyond my pay grade!
I’m still doing Opening Doors and my exercise class. I was assured they were “very happy with my work there.” That’s enough for me.
My happiness has regenerated!