(I may not even pretend to try to suck it up in this one, guys. I'm not looking for your pity, per se, but a well placed social worker "amen," "hallelujah," or "preach it, sister"will not be rebuffed.)
This blog has seen the evolution of my life for the past nine years - from the days I worked in juvenile justice and was married to a Different Guy, to the decomposition of that marriage, to deciding to go to grad school, to meeting and marrying Shoes, etc, etc, etc.
Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.
I have not used this blog to document my first two years after graduate school, however. Two years? How did that happen? Living and working in the rural, RURAL, Inland NW has been an experience unlike any other. I have not yet found my niche. I have job hopped twice now. That's not me. I thrive on consistency and routine in my own life. This just isn't me.
You might remember that I left community outpatient mental health, for reasons I won't speak about, to join a new agency, providing in home family therapy in an effort to prevent placement of children into the foster care system. That was very, very good work that I loved whole heartedly. It turns out I didn't, love, however, being on call 24/7 (literally going months being tied to my work cell phone), working almost every weekend, working 60 hour weeks, and putting thousands and thousands of miles on my car driving to the most remote locations you can imagine. Places without electricity. Places without running water. Places where I fed goats and stacked firewood.
(That last one actually wasn't that bad. I like farm chores.)
And it didn't work. It didn't work with my family. It caused stress within my family. It caused mini meltdowns. I have missed out on holiday functions and birthday dinners and quiet moments with my spouse. Most days I have managed to take care of basic hygiene functions, but nothing really beyond shower, deodorant and combing my hair.
(Uh, ok, whatever. I didn't always comb my hair. But it was washed. Most days.)
It just reached this critical stage, you know? One of my best friends from graduate school finally told me I was being unethical. I wasn't taking care of myself, I was distant from my family, and oh, this next one was ouchy, but it was entirely true: he stated that because I was so burnt out, I wasn't giving my clients the best care I could because there was nothing else to give.
Put your own oxygen mask on first, folks.
So I did. Ok, that's a lie. It wasn't only on my own accord that I reached up for the magical oxygen mask and it's not like those things are just hanging down magically everywhere.... A therapist friend of mine who works at a local clinic contacted me and said they had an opening and were willing to consider hiring an unlicensed therapist (I am 2/3 of the way done.) I applied. And interviewed. And 45 minutes after the interview, they called and offered me the job.
So I'm transitioning again.
My last day with the last agency was yesterday; I start the new job on 7/7 as a children's mental health counselor at the new clinic. That is closed on the weekends and major holidays. That comes with a pay raise. That comes with agency sponsored CEUs (no more paying for my own!). I'm not on call all the time. I have looked for my dumb pink work cell phone about 50,000 times today, panicked when it's not right there because HOW WILL I HEAR IT??? Only, that part is done.
Today I SHOWERED, and COMBED my hair, and glory be, I even put product in it and styled it. What. I'm *bringing* the personal hygiene now. I took my car in to necessary repairs. Scheduled Rosie's grooming appointment. Normally I would be catching up on housework, but, as it happened, one of my last families struggled with organizational challenges and when that happens, my own house gleams.
I'm re-entering the land of the living. And I have goals. We planted a vegetable garden. I would like to see it live. Shoes and I are planning some big changes in our family. I want to write the short story I've been meaning to. One of my parents is having major, major health challenges. All of these things will need attending to.
So I haven't really been blogging the past two years. It is what it is. Now I get to pick it up again and continue. My hope is to reconnect with my old blogging network (that community has changed significantly, though, so unsure what that will look like) and make new blogging connections.
And be a normal human being (whatever that means.) I am also looking forward to that.