So I’m visiting this mental health facility today, testing a student. Steven walks me to the back of this beautiful place. Hallways look a little like a maze, some high ceilings, most rooms smacking of afterthought and haphazard building design. Many troubled students live here, some just on an outpatient basis. Pretty sure I pass a methadone clinic in the back of the building. Of course it’s in the back, silly. Not the type of thing you put out front where all the school age students enter 😳. Def not a good look.
Wait. What? Someone just passed by me casually discussing a code 99 – what’s a code 99? One female asks the other – oh you know, a gunman on campus. My attention at full tilt now…Wtf I had never thought about THAT. I really don’t want to die today – alotta living still in me 😳. Today is not a good day to die. Where shall I stash myself away? My eyes darting from door to ceiling and every table and desk in between. Searching frantically for a place to render myself invisible. Ahhh Yes, the enormous metal filing cabinets in the hall. Shit, prob locked with this clientele sauntering around these hallways. Fuck. I could prob fit behind the door – even with it open. Another reason to lose weight, fuck. Ok. I know where the exits are, close but risky – hell, I don’t even know where tf I am. I can hear my heartbeat, shit, that’s not good! Ok, ok, come down off ledge, good enough. Stop obsessing about something that will prob never happen anyway. Just in case tho, always know where the exit is.
So back to the big idea here…speaking of terror, I’m blown away by the frantic, fragmented energy I feel – even before the talk of “99”. Here in this overly sensitive, empathic body of mine. All these students/outpatients ended up HERE, at this location because they could not make it in the general population without acting out putting themselves or someone else in danger. All of them. Been through far too much, already, in their young lives. In the short 45 mins I spent here with a young student he divulges to me that Mom has had several lovers, some are drunk all the time, “my other real Dad is violent too and some are in jail” Oh, and Mom is pregnant, again. Oh joy! And one wonders why this child was so violent as a kindergartener HELLO! Not a spec of consistency in his little life. He assaulted teachers everyday, he self reports. Great, that’s normal 🙄. He has not been in a “regular” school since that time.
Internally, the anger, disgust and sadness all wrestling for the spotlight as I listen.
I wonder how these kids make it – swimming in life’s pool wearing the lead-lined baithing suit of dysfunction. The ones who accept this ill treatment at home, these bullshit conditions and think they deserve it or caused it or this is JUST the way it IS…at the bottom of the pool. The ones who feel betrayed, disenfranchised, angry, revengeful, etc will somehow, eventually shuck that suit and swim to the edge. Taking their power back n crawl out of the pool for a decent chance at thriving. Maybe NOT repeat these fucked patterns. Yet, others are permanently chemically/genetically altered because the trauma has been generational. They wear the lead-lined suit but never find the pool. Their whole life chemically supported – believing they’re IN the pool despite being on dry land.
I think these “schools” frighten me on some very deep level. Very deep. This could have been my existence. Had I not been soooo compliant, a good little white girl, with a bow in her hair, cute little hand-me-down dresses and buckle shoes. Had I cracked wide open, acted out violently, letting all the raw, untamed inner horror stories ooze out of me like a river. Oh baby, finally for all to witness?? …I, too, would have been scooped up and “managed” by some agency, rubbing elbows with the other psychologically defunct youths.
Gratitude. Just Gratitude. For the parts of ourselves that remain intact. We learn how to swim. How to swim upstream, against the current, with both hands bound. How blessed are we? To have defied the master plan of our abusers. Fuck-you and your plan. I’m a great swimmer 🤓