Life is just a story we tell ourselves and the world.
It’s based on our own perceptions and convenient omissions. Each experience should be liberally coated in sugar in its retelling. Why not, it’s your story. Every day, the story gets revised and edited. Words and sentences change and sometimes entire chapters get cut. Hopefully, at the end of the process, a beautiful body of work is left with smooth transitions, strong characters, and a logical plot with just enough twists to keep it exciting.
Right now, I’m in the process of a major revision in the chapter of how I came to social work. I started as a bleeding heart in the wrong industry- wanting to save the poor and sick and to give hope to the hopeless. I did what I set out to do but now I’m cynical and jaded.
I question most clients’ stories because, after all, we each are the author and story-teller of our life’s story. I feel resentment towards clients who claim to be too sick to work but manage to mow the grass, clean the gutters, and host a Memorial Day cookout for their many friends and family members. I want to scream when clients ask for help with the heat bill but won’t sacrifice cable or smoking, eating out or getting their nails done. When I see widespread abuse of the systems meant to ease suffering and improve quality of life, I wonder if the real answer is to stop providing the answer. Let people decide how to improve their own lives. If they don’t want more in life, so be it, but let’s stop trying so hard to help. Let the resources dry up that are being misused and redirect them where a difference can be made like education and research.
I want my clients and clients’ families to need more out of life than to just survive on hand-outs and government programs. I wish there was a way to instill a work ethic, honesty, dignity and pride in their hearts and brains. More than that, I want to see the good in people again. Scratch that, I need to see the good in people again in order to keep adding to my story to keep it beautiful and living, rather than covered in the soot from a slowly burning society.
That’s just the story of my life today.
By tomorrow, I’m sure the same story will have been revised and rewritten with a fresh voice and new hope inspired by a good night’s rest and the promise of weekend libations.
A Pair of Hungry Pike, Unknown (Canadian), Date: 1911, Accession Number: 2007.460.2