Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Year Later

It's coming on a year since I left work at the homeless shelter. As I read the notes from my time there (in preparation for this), I see names of women I haven't thought of for awhile. Mostly I remember what I wrote about here in this blog, but through my notes I'm reminded of other times.
Pat--Pat!--asking if we could play a CD of hers when we were done with our theatre games. Poison's "Ain't Nothin' But A Good Time" had everybody on their feet.

"New woman with no teeth, keeps talking about gravity. Hesitate to call on her, but she wants to participate and does pretty well."

Arriving to find a worker lying spread-eagle on the ground. She was acting out a crime scene; the sister of another worker was found murdered earlier that morning.

Calling it off when attendance was low, only to have Kim have a fit on me. Kim, who never missed, and who never, ever participated. "But you came all this way!" she said, fuming.
Good work was done there. But when staff changes made me feel unsafe, I had to leave. The mentally unstable can love you one minute and turn on you in another, and I had to know my family was protected. I faced a lot of personal demons at that place--mine, and others.

Everything was tough going there. The stories were extreme, love was fierce, the anger was fiery. That's how I like it, but it became too difficult to maintain that intensity. My memories now are tinged with melancholy. Sometimes love can be true and plans genuine, but they're not meant to be sustained for the long haul. I guess.

Today I led a strength training class and I was right where I should be, though it's a much different place than the shelter. As for charitable work, a new plan is hatching in another unlikely place, where new love will form, demons will rear their ugly heads, and my heart will be broken again, over and over.

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