One of the few things still left intact from this summer is my friendship with one of the few girl Creatures (my “term of endearment” for all the skater kids/townies from home) that didn’t hate me. She’s a sophomore this year, so since Kristen and I were around all summer, we sort of took her in as one of us. There were drama issues, of course, but that’s any girl friendship. She’s fucked up in a lot of ways and just needs some help. We’re not super close (she’s closer with Kristen, because I think Kristen wanted to be friends with her since I would be leaving at the end of the summer) but we still talk, and she’s one of the various lost puppies that I seem to collect - I always want to help people to the point that it winds up hurting me, so my mom started calling it Lost Puppy Syndrome, and so now I refer to those people as my lost puppies. Pathetic, I know.
Last Friday, she got kicked out of her house. She didn’t sleep Friday night - she wandered the streets with another boy from home who’s currently homeless. She stayed at her boyfriend’s house last night, and she’ll be with a friend tonight and has plans to stay with other people until Wednesday night, when she’s no idea what she’s doing or where she’s staying. She said there’s an empty mausoleum in a cemetery in town that she might be able to stay in, horrifyingly enough. So yeah, she’s a very lost puppy right now.
I can’t take care of her, obviously. She cannot live on the floor of my dorm room. I can’t figure out a way to get her to school every day. She is not my responsibility. In addition to that, I don’t trust her - she will screw up relationships for me, interfere with a lot of different things, steal god-knows-what (Adderall gets about $5 a pill, so I’m sure she’d go after that) and just generally Fuck Shit Up.
I can’t help it - she’s in trouble, and she’s my friend. So of course I’m trying to figure out what I can do for her, how I can help her without it hurting me. But I really can’t think of anything, which is killing me. Of course, there’s Kristen, who could be helping her out, but it doesn’t sound like she is. She doesn’t want to move back home, but she’s too young to be legally emancipated, so if anyone from the school finds out, she’ll either be forced to move back home or forced to move to Tennessee with her father, which she does not want to do. She’s stuck.
I know I can’t help her except to be a friend, to listen when she needs to talk and offer suggestions when and where I can. It’s just painful for me to be so powerless.
And this is where I have to stop and think about this situation and realize that if I’m sitting here, well aware that I can’t do anything and feeling so distressed over it, how am I going to be able to cope as a social worker? To be completely honest, there’s just no way. I can’t do it. I’ve had this realization before, and I’ve pushed it aside, but now that I really examine it, I just can’t. This is not where my life should be headed because it will more than likely be the death of me, though whether I’m speaking emotionally or physically I don’t know. I’ve wanted to be a school social worker for the longest time, but it’s insanity - logically, I will be able to help perhaps a small percentage of the kids that will go through my office, but I’m an idealist and will think that I’ll be able to save them all and when the crushing reality of the situation - that I’m really pretty powerless, that there are countless lost puppies and so few that can be helped, let alone saved - sets in, it’s going to fuck me up irreparably.
I need to change paths now. I know I do. But to what?