The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering,
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.
I felt so invasive, placing my feet
Of the other
Following the woman I was shadowing
Down the stairs to the basement
Holding the urinalysis drug testing kit between my right fingers.
I imagined her using by the washing machine.
Somehow I just knew.
She was compliant, understanding, up beat as though she held some sort of guilt.
"This is Eve. She's doing her first UA."
I gingerly pulled out the gloves, putting one on
Then the other.
Removing the cup and handing it to her.
I felt slow, out of place, and unused to being in this role.
I had to watch her, but my eyes would move back and forth from her
To the door
Back to her
To her feet.
I had never been bothered by nakedness in any form,
Never minded having to pee in front of people or where they could hear,
Never struggled to speak with strangers,
Yet in those moments I felt wrong being there.
I stuck the tester in for thirty seconds then recapped it.
The line was faint, and I showed the woman training me.
"Well, it's there, just faintly, but you admitted to using Friday or Saturday so it would be faint. We still have to take it to the lab. You get your visit."
She was so happy...
Dark circles under her eyes.
I sealed the bags and we left that dark basement.
That reminded me a lot of those long dark nights when my ex would use...
It was hard, getting used to life outside undergrad.
Four years built on comfort and convenience.
Writing that I had a bachelor's degree in Psychology with an in progress masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling brought a source of pride,
Until it was a week and a half and no call backs.
One on the spot interview,
One refreshed resume,
A budget sheet with expenses piling up.
And then, an answered prayer.
My best friend and I were both hired as family support workers
Thanks to her I had found a job and I felt so happy,
So grown up with a real job.
I don't know what it was...
It was the drug test.
It was observing the man so happy to hold his infant son,
Awkwardly cradling him,
Child like grin,
Trying so hard to learn to be a father after getting clean.
So many hurting people.
At first I felt angry that people could be here, be in this horrible spot
Do these horrible things to each other and to their children.
I questioned my desire to be a therapist,
Questioned my abilities.
Suddenly I didn't want to do the job anymore.
Consumed by such angry and frustrated thoughts.
I didn't want to use my car to drive to their home.
I didn't want to have to wake up early to check up on them and make sure their abusive husbands and boyfriends weren't home.
I didn't want to transport their kids because they couldn't do it themselves.
I didn't want to be here.
I felt so hesitant, so shaken by the fact that the woman I had tested had sunk so low in her life that she had to be observed by a stranger peeing into a cup so that she could see her son.
She had made an effort, relapsed, tried, lied, and succumbed to the cycle addicts turn round.
Why can't we stop when we know what we're doing is killing us, killing the ones we love?
Why can't we do the right thing and treat ourselves with love and respect?
I felt so small, so insignificant.
How would I ever manage to help another person?
How would I manage to promote healing when it had taken me years to even reach my own point of healing?
I'm not where I should be, or maybe I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
I'm shaky and unsure
Growing up, branching out, holding on, staying in.
I feel insecure then confident and wash it all down with half a Zoloft to combat the winter blues.
Pasty smile, cheeks red from time at the gym and cold mornings.
Check the bank account
Order a pizza.
Feel his arm wrap around me in his sleep.
Hold it in,
Let it out.
This is how we grow up, it seems.
With the push and pull of uncertainty and wonder,
Wild eyed, misty eyed, seeing red, lashes sweep.
We're all just trying.
I guess I see that every day.
Maybe we hope, maybe we don't.
Maybe we atrophy and decay or maybe we radiate, weaving up the awning to the sun.
I don't know. I'm just trying. Allowing school and my job to shake me.
Do we really know what we're doing anyway?