When You Don’t Fit In

There have been many times where I go out in public and don’t feel that I fit in with the crowd that I’m currently in.

The other night, I agreed to go to a music show with a friend. What I didn’t realize was that I was going to be the odd (wo)man out. By odd (wo)man out, I mean I didn’t have tattoos, I wasn’t wearing all black, and I had no idea what the musician was singing because it was inaudible to someone like myself who doesn’t listen to punk rock bands, ever, except for that night.

It was one of those nights where after I walked in, I immediately said to myself, “I’m going to need a drink to survive this”. This isn’t something I say very often, but this time, I knew it was the only thing that would make the half naked fatter guy singing on stage more tolerable to watch.

This was an experience that was good for me because I branched out of my bubble, even if it was for only one evening.

Many times I am very willing to go to events which I have minimal connection to, besides a friend. I’ve gone to Greek festivals, watched independent films in other languages, and go to art shows with influences that I have never heard of.

I’m thinking of making a bucket list of things to do that are out of my realm of comfort.

I’m a person with a “plain Jane” attitude. I don’t typically take chances if I feel I might embarrass myself, I stick to the same few activities, and go to the same places because it’s comfortable.

Because of this, I know now, at almost 25 I need to broaden my horizons and explore even more than I have recently.


As I Sit Here Listening

As I sit here in a Starbucks in North County of San Diego, I’m able to over hear the struggle of a guy who is trying to find a program allowing him to use his FAFSA grant towards an associates program of his choice.

I’ve heard him struggle with making sure the people at the other end of the line understand what his needs are, knowing he needs to gain information as quickly as possible in order to apply to a program before the deadline. I’ve heard his struggle with his phone not working properly, and loosing contact with the human on the other line.

As a future social worker, I’m recognizing out the struggles some people are going through to find a place that will allow them to move forward with their life.

Now this may not be the worlds biggest hurdle to some of us, but to many, trying to gain information and access to a program or a person is a constant struggle, and I applaud this man for continuing his search and the desire to move forward.

Keep moving forward sir, I can tell you are determined.

If you keep calling, someone is bound to listen.

Don’t tell me to breathe….

I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of relaxation exercises, it makes me more annoyed than anything.
Ironically enough this semester I’m taking a course titled: Mindfulness and Acceptance.

As you can imagine, having to do mindfulness exercises for homework irritates me since I was already annoyed by my teacher last semester having us start the class with ten minutes of relaxation techniques every week.

I know what to do in order to relax, I know what I enjoy doing and how to calm myself down when need be, so I really get annoyed when someone tells me we have to do it for an assignment. I don’t know why, but it’s probably the fact that I find it a waste of time, even though I know as a future clinical social worker I’ll have to use these techniques with my clients.

As my teacher said, “never tell a client to do something you’re not willing to do yourself”. I find this to be such an accurate statement when it comes to these techniques I have to learn to accept throughout the semester.

My classmates love it because it’s a ten minute break from class really, but for me, I find it a waste of time, and want to remind the teacher were paying for the course material not to sit and breathe.. But again, this time it’s actually a valid activity with this course.

This is going to be a struggle.


Going back to what you know best

So I’m not afraid to admit that a few months back I was straight up exhausted, and checked out from life.

Dealing with another break up, school not being motivating enough for me, people just not being who I know them to be, it all got really frustrating. So I took a break.

I took a break from putting all my energy into the people who weren’t willing to put it into me, I took a break from trying to impress men, I took a break from school work (which probably wasn’t the best idea, but I was just so over the b.s. they were making us work through.). It’s not that the work was too hard, I was just drained.

Dealing with a bullying situation at my internship took a toll on me more than I expected, because I felt like a failure when the kiddos I was seeing were in my social skills group, learning ways to improve themselves in the end still bullied one of my other clients bad enough to where he didn’t want to return to school.
I had failed him, he didn’t feel safe, and the boys that bullied him weren’t willing to take responsibility. This infuriated me, to the point where I was happy to not work with them again. They would ask me “when are we getting another boys group going?” and I responded with “I’ll let you know when I can set one up, if it’s not too late”, where I really wanted to yell at them “you don’t deserve to be in another group after what you did because you clearly didn’t learn anything I was trying to teach you”. I was able to talk to them about their actions, and one boy ended up feeling remorseful, whereas the other tried to put the blame on the client that he had bullied.

So yeah, I felt like I had failed, my one group had to be dismantled because of this, and I wasn’t able to find a better situation for them. I worked with two of the boys for the rest of the year, but in the end, I wasn’t happy with the result.

My solution to this was to show up, and find other things to focus on at my internship, I was doing well with a few other clients, and this did help even out my emotional state, but not as much as I had thought.

When I get into this state I stop to care, and I do what I want; I don’t take great care of myself and I make careless choices at times like going out on a night I know I have to be up really early the next day, and feeling exhausted when I get there.

So how did I fix this state I was in? Well let me tell you. I went back to something I knew best: working with horses.

I had met a trainer at a convention in February, and I realized I finally was done not being around horses as much as I was used to. So I gave them a call, and I was offered to go up to their facility and meet the clients and a job to work the next horse show. I was hesitant because I didn’t know any of the clients, but it all fell into place, and I’m still helping out once or twice a week, and at a horse show next week.

You can read almost anywhere the benefits of working around horses, or animals in general. For me, I grew up from the age of 3 around them. It’s like second nature to me, I could probably ride a horses easier than I could tie someones shoe lace, that’s how easy it is for me.
I found that I was becoming much happier, more structured, because you have time limits and a certain task you’re trying to accomplish with the horse, you start utilizing this mind-set in everyday life again. I was relaxed again, I started caring about school work because I wanted to end the year strong and make sure I had enough time to help at the barn on my days off.
I’ve been horse sitting, yes it’s exactly like dog sitting, where you feed and take care of them. It’s been good for me because I have to be up early to feed them around 7 am and back to feed dinner around 5, as well as the daily maintenance they require.

So if there is anything I learned from this, it was to make sure you don’t forget who you are, and what you’re best at. I remember how much enjoyment riding horses brought to me growing up, and how much damage I can have emotionally from being cut off or limiting myself more than I need to. If you’re struggling, find that one thing that grounds you and brings you back to the reason you were doing it in the first place. For The Pure Joy It Brings You. 

One year left

One year left; I only have one year left of my graduate program, I can’t believe I get to start the countdown finally.A year from this past weekend I’ll be in cap and gown, crossing the stage with my diploma, heading into the real world of adulthood (well, kinda I guess).

This year I learned a lot about myself. I learned I really do have the patience of a saint, yet, I need to remember I can rely on others when times get tough. I need to recognize when I’m struggling the most, because I don’t always handle it appropriately.

Self care is huge! Don’t let yourself get burnt out so quickly in graduate school, we still have a minimum of 40 years in the work force to deal with and will learn how to handle ourself during it.

I can’t believe in less than a year I’ll be officially on a big girl job hunt, where I can list my masters degree on my resume, knowing it will be completed and I can really get to work helping those who need it most consistently.

Oh, also, I received word I qualified and was accepted for a Behavioral Health stipend through my school to help pay for my next year, which is huge, and very appreciative. A few of my classmates who applied for it got it as well.

I didn’t attend my undergrad graduation, so I feel like this one will mean even more to me, because I am truly finished with my educational career.

Less than 365 days until I’m finished, let the count down begin! Where has the time gone?

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

I know it’s the last day of the month, but nonetheless, it is still Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

I am passionate about working with those who are fighting to implement and increase anti-human trafficking laws and policies that are focused on the young girl/woman/young boy/man who is taken from his/her home, and has his/her life turned upside down.
I have heard stories, seen movies/documentaries, and heard personal accounts of people who were trafficked, and let me tell you, if these accounts aren’t heart wrenching to you, then I will have trouble understanding how.

Although, most victims are too scared to notify police, or any other regular person they meet about the situation they have been put in, it doesn’t mean we can’t be on the look out and ask that person if they need any help.
Be aware of the signs, and if you notice something that doesn’t seem right, then make note, and call police or someone for help.

It is our duty as citizens of this country, and people on this earth to understand, no human should be treated the way these victims are.

Here are a few helpful links that gives more information on the subject.

Here are some great news articles about the issue:

I could go on all day about why I believe this to be someone more people should be worried about, but in the end, it’s about spreading awareness.



How to Handle Other Peoples Problems

As an intern right now in a rural area in California, I am learning a lot about cultural differences, cultural sensitivity, and the best way to approach those you work with in order to get the best result.

Working in a school setting has many ups and downs.

The ups include:great schedule, its from about 7:45-3 . So not having to get up too early has been nice, and not being at the school too late is great, except for the few days meetings run late. Seeing all the children’s smiling faces, and to see how happy they are to be there on a Monday is adorable, and really help my handling of it being a Monday at 7:45 with only one cup of coffee.

The downs include: not having enough time in the day to really spend a lot of time with those students who need the individualized help, and those who require more time than they should are frustrating because there is only so much I can do.

So the timing of school is great, but also sets severe limitations.

I’m from a quaint little college town in Maine, and not much diversity existed to be honest. We seemed to not have any hispanic families, or none that I noticed. We were very much in the picturesque little American town. It’s been an adjustment, but not too big of one, because I was raised to understand there are many types of people in the world, and until they do harm to you, you treat them as your equal, and even then, you forgive them and move on as long as the harm was minimal.

So what do you do when the differences you face create a barrier on how you understand how to handle the situation at hand?  You learn to listen, to understand, and to make sure the person is heard.Their problems are now your problems, whether you like it or not, you are there to help. As a Social Worker, you help in whatever way you can, no matter how little or big a result you get.

The language barrier I face (as I speak minimal, and I mean very minimal Spanish), makes it so I depend on others in the school to talk to families for me if I can not do so myself. Though I try to when I can, they are at least recognizing I would like to help them and their child succeed in life, and that gets you much farther than not trying at all.

Over all, we in the social services field are constantly trying our best, and when we see defeat, we try to find other resources that can change the result that has shown its ugly face. Many time it takes multiple attempts to get the result we want, which many find discouraging, as do I. Although, I try to remember the solution is out there, you just have to find it.

Many people ask me “why do you want to do this?” and I usually respond with “I like to help people”. And even though that answer doesn’t say much, I can show you better than I can tell you.