YJ and life…2006

I had finished and graduated my security course within the year and worked for a company providing static security guard services. It was interesting, but herding people in and out of areas didn’t provide me with what I was after, other than experience and a very minimal pay check.

In the mean time I was still travelling and studying. That was proving to be extremely exhausting. During this year I ended up with a bleeding disorder. After passing out in the train station one night and ending up in hospital,  I had a raft of tests followed by bed rest and meds to stop the bleeding. I eventually ended up having exploratory surgery which turned up nothing. While I had stopped bleeding, I still had a constant nauseating pain in the lower part of my gut.

I ended up going down the ‘alternative’ path again and discovered I had a low immune system, an enlarged bowel, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and a malfunctioning liver (my re-diagnosis…can’t remember what they called it). I adjusted my diet…again…and gave up smoking…again.

In the meantime, due to government cutbacks, I lost nearly $150 from my pay check and was unable to keep paying rent. We ended up moving towns and moving in with a friend of mine.

I applied for a job with Youth Justice Services and got a Youth Worker position. It was in a Residential Centre, the equivalent to a kiddy lock up facility…they just don’t call it that. It was one of the best and worst things I could have ever done.

I had always wanted to work with rehabilitating child criminals, specifically child sex offenders. My train of thought or reasoning was that if they could be rehabilitated early enough, then the potential for them to have a better life was higher and more importantly they would produce fewer victims.

So I went into this job, with a year to go before graduating my Criminology degree.

My god, I was in for a rude awakening.

The facility I worked for was government-owned, and we are not about rehabilitation…in practice; on paper sure, and there was shitloads of paper work, but not in practice. Some of that was due to the law restrictions on holding minors and what you could say and do with the ‘accused’ but not ‘convicted’. So programming couldn’t be focussed on their actual committed crime until after they had been formally convicted for the alleged crime. Bah humbug. Which meant they could sit in that facility for sometimes up to 12 months and all we could program them on was eating better, good choices and education…not on the fact that they’d broken into someones house, terrorized the family, raped and sodomised an occupant and then tortured her for more than 12 hours and then left them all for dead. Hmmmmm.

Very frustrating.

Non of it made sense to me at all. Not only was I appalled at what we do with these kids…as in, nothing…but also that we waste valuable time with them. The recidivism rate was huge…around 97%.

Working on the floor with 15 kids, all from varying but similar backgrounds…all from varying forms of neglect and shit handling…all lumped together with their respective ‘crimes’ and expect them to behave…yeah right.

Oh and then there was the fact that we were locked up with them 24/7. Yes we had the keys…but if they decided to start a fight…which they were good at…it would be 15 hormone enraged teenage boys versus 4-6 staff members. Didn’t help with the anxiety. I was forever discussing with management, their safety protocols and how they formally sucked ass…there were token adjustments made and most of the blame for dangerous incidents moved onto the staff at the time…but definite changes, with our safety in mind…not likely. Apparently we didn’t have the funding! I laugh now because our country is trying to change the national flag…to the sweet tune of 28 million I think it is. Hmmmm not enough cash ay!

So disillusioned, still studying and without a home…in a new job…and still fighting nausea and stomach cramps…

I think this is where I started trying to ‘suck it up’ more and just get on with it. Even though I knew with every ounce of my being that this place I worked in did not align with who and what I was.

In the meantime, I was getting my little girl ready for college. She was growing up fast and wasn’t really prepared for mainstream schooling…neither was I.

My relationship with my partner was…tentative at this time. We were like chalk and cheese…we still are actually. But I really didn’t know how to cope with him and how he affected me back then. He came across as extremely critical and judgemental…about virtually everything, and we ended up having some humongous arguments. It just added to the stress…and anxiety. And this relationship was brand new territory for me. I had never really invested my heart and soul and emotions and mind, into something…someone…other than my kids…like this before. It terrified me really. Big pansy.

I get him now, but holy hell its taken for-ever!

Back to the job though…it was all-consuming. It was a split shift, so I’d do 3 morning shifts, 630-230; then 1 day off. Then go back to 3 late shifts, 230-1030, with 2 days off. Then back for 4 late shifts, 1 day off then 4 mornings. Then we got a weekend off. It was hard yacker on me and took its toll on my girl.

But I had a point to prove…and bills to pay…and some fucked up expectation in my own head…that I needed to fulfil.

And I was still studying.

(First published 13th August 2015 @ 2020 … geezus, neat alright 😉 )

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