500 Hours

I finish my placement in just three days.

Thursday.

Friday.

Monday.

My last day, is Monday.

In just three days I’ll have completed 14 weeks and 1 day of placement; that’s 500 hours; 67 days of waking at 6.30am, eating oats for breakfast, travelling for what should be a 15 minute drive that most often turned into a 35 minute drive (shoutout to that city traffic), so I could start work at 0800, sit in front of a computer, answer phone calls, make phone calls, write case notes and do outreach work until 1600 came around when I could be off the clock.

I’ve submitted 14 weeks of time sheets outlining every activity I’ve undertaken; seven journals that focused on theories, self-care and my professional development; completed three integration sessions; a mid-placement and end-of-placement evaluation where my supervisor, field educators and liaison officer studied me, my development on both a personal and professional level and my understanding of elements of social work like ethics and values, supervision and culturally responsive practice; I’ve submitted two essays each worth 50% and; finally, I’ve completed a statement of what I have learnt throughout these past few months.

I’m quite literally breathing a sigh of relief as these next few days roll around, and finally; finally; I will be able to wake up slowly, stay snug and warm in my winter trackies, drink a cup of tea as I enjoy my oats on the balcony, surrounded by my ever-growing garden.

I already have so much planned. A mini-trip away with my mum as she flies down to visit me next Tuesday. Volunteering more often with an organisation incredibly close to my heart. Volunteering in the Starlight Express Room; something I have yearned to do for years but never lived in a city that had such a room. Setting up camp at a handmade self-proclaimed “hippy” market next month to sell my creations; jewellery, dreamcatchers and sun catchers alike. Taking up a couple of psychology classes to finish up my psychology degree. Submitting my writing to different publications; you never know if you don’t put yourself out there.

I’ve already taken up Gardening. I am so excited to read more often. Journalling will become my escape once again. Painting will allow me to get my fingers dirty. I’m looking forward to walking further around my little suburb, exploring more of what it has to offer. I’ll be getting deeper into my yoga practice. Dancing more, by myself and with my friends. Taking every second as it comes, loving every moment as it happens, accepting every day, every feeling, for what it is.

Although I am excited for what is to come; I’m sombre about leaving behind what has been these past 14 weeks. Leaving behind my colleagues I have come to know; leaving behind my clients I have come to support, to work with, to be such a significant part of their lives. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Knowing that my life with this organisation is so suddenly ending, but the lives of those I have been supporting is still a radical reality; it’s their everyday life; it’s their normal. This is not my normal. This is an experience. This is an opportunity. It almost feels selfish, to use these people who are already so vulnerable, just to pass a semester of university.

Yet, it also feels sweet. I feel content as I move forward, onto greater things knowing I have impacted at least a few people’s lives in a positive way. I feel grateful knowing I have had the opportunity to learn such incredible and remarkable lessons about social work, about theories and frameworks, and essentially, about myself, through these people who, despite all they are experiencing, have allowed me into their homes, into their lives, so that I could have an opportunity to learn; so that I could have an opportunity to grow as a professional, as a human being, so that I am able to use these experiences and these stories to create a brighter, a more just and fair future for the most vulnerable, the most hurt, and importantly; the most resilient of all beings.

3 months.

14 weeks.

67 days.

500 hours.

Have all lead up to this moment in time.

knew I was going to grow as a professional; that was inevitable.

Yet somehow, as I grew as a professional, I was also able to grow personally.

I have grown more confident in not only my ability to link theory to practice; but also in my passion toward this field of work.

I have gained more knowledge about social work, about homelessness and about mental health; but I have also gained self-awareness.

I have developed an understanding of what it means to be a social worker; but I have also developed an understanding of how important my personal attributes of empathy, kindness and acceptance are within my practice.

 

Here’s to my first social work placement. It was terrifying, difficult, frustrating, it had me feeling tired and scared and angry and upset; but it was also hilarious, fun, a remarkable opportunity to discover and learn, it had me feeling excited and filled with love and joy.

 

 

I have discovered two things; that society can place some unfair and unjust stigmas on us as human beings, but in the same breath, despite these stigmas, we are so damn resilient. There’s no other way to explain it other than we have a fight within us that is more remarkable than anything I have come to recognise in us as a species. 

 

500 hours.

I wonder what the next 500 will bring to me.

 

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I can’t remember but God it’s hard to forget

I live a destructive lifestyle. 

I cannot count the amount of times I have written this sentence in my diary over the past year.

However, I did think that the sigh of relief that occurred after ending a recent relationship was more than enough for me to understand that I should look for more, that I deserve more; but Destruction is a funny thing,  and this was a way of living that I desperately fell in love with. A month after this particular phase of my life ended, I met another guy. He said all the right things. He treated me…exactly how the first guy did but as they say, misery loves company and I stayed.

Until, I discovered he was living with his long-term girlfriend.

Ironically, guy number 2 had the exact same name, as guy number 1. 

You see, I tend to make homes out of the wrong people, and I’ve always found that I have to move out  (Sourcewhich in hindsight makes perfect sense but like people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, I’m addicted to creating these houses with people who have the ability to have me in tears all day and craving their attention and fraudulent affection at night.

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I fuck myself over constantly by allowing myself to be raw and open with people who never get the chance to actually screw me, so they screw me over instead, they choose me second and they only want me to be the girl they come home to at 4am after spending the early hours of the night with someone else.

Because I either let men who want me, take advantage of my need for attention; or I chase after men who are yet to show me the attention I crave.

Not long ago, my friend told me that a particular guy wasn’t into me like that. My first reaction: then I’ll make him be into me

A part of me knows I deserve to walk away from men who cannot see that I have so much greatness to give; but another part of me craves attention so much that if you don’t like me, I’m going to give you a reason to want to fuck me-even though I’ll never let you actually screw me.

Yes, I am tease.

I am a flirt.

I am a whore and you can call me what you want because the truth is, you are probably correct. I should just say no, we are just friends. I shouldn’t flirt. I shouldn’t get in too deep and pull the plug because I’m not ready to settle down, to fuck a guy who I have no intention of saying good morning to the following day.

I am all of these things that you, that society, wants to name me.

But most of all, I’m self-destructive. I’m on a path that 2016 has shown to be full of blood and tears and bathroom floors and men who take advantage of so many aspects of my self that I show them.

In so many ways I blame myself.

Because if I didn’t flirt, if I didn’t tease, if I didn’t giggle when they flirt with me, maybe I would never be in these situations. 

Yet at the same time, I know that I’m allowed to share the blame with these men who have fucked with my feelings and left me drowning in my own tears at night, having to pretend everything is fine during the day.

Because of you, I now struggle to live a vulnerable and authentic life; I am so tired of having my heart broken, of having my real self being seen as a joke and as easy, as someone who can be played with like a damn puppet. I am so tired and now, in the current position of my life, I find myself struggling to open up to potential friends who are of the opposite sex because of you.

Because of you, I stopped living authentically.

Because of you, I thought it was okay to give myself away to men like you.

Because of you, I dyed my hair so I could disconnect from my self that let you treat me like trash.

Because of you, my mum wants me to leave home just so I don’t have to live in a place that reminds me of the hell that you put me through.

Because of you, I’m treated like a bitch, and you, a good guy because who would ever think that someone like you could hurt anyone…

Because of you, I thought I deserved the way men treated me.

But I didn’t and I don’t.

I’m still trying to forget what I allowed myself to go through as I let this addiction consume me as a human being; but at the same time I cannot even remember ever letting the addiction take hold and that is terrifying. 

 

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I have an addiction to letting myself be treated like absolute trash. I stopped believing that I was worth more, that I deserved more. So I flirted with men and lead them on and was called a bitch when I wouldn’t let any of them sleep with me. Today, as I write this, I’ve been reminding myself daily that I am more, that I deserve more and that most importantly, I don’t need approval from anyone, let alone any man, to know this.

I don’t consider this to be a past addiction, it’s still very much a fire that burns so brightly inside of me, but everyday it dims a little as I put one foot in front of the other, hoping that tomorrow I’ll be a little gentler with myself.

 

Be gentle with yourself, no matter what your addiction is, you deserve softness and love.

 

I’d also like to just apologise to the women who were in relationships with the guys I’ve been attached to in some way. I didn’t know. You are not my competition and the moment I found out that these men were attached to you, to another woman, I left. I am so, sorry.

 

 

Photos are from tumblr and I do not know the sources so if you do, please let me know x