I am a social worker. I completed a degree, got a certificate and am now qualified for most ‘human services’ type jobs. Although I can label myself a social worker, I believe the process of becoming a social worker takes many years and I am far from it.
It has been about 1 year and 5 months now that I have read, listened and worked with the life narratives of families. Their lives are written as stories on paper and with them, we work to rewrite, reframe and remind them that life can be different.
More people are seeking help, more referrals are coming through for support, day in and day out, I am reminded that people and their lives are complicated. In most cases, their lives now are a result of generations of trauma. I am reminded that there is a lot beneath the surface and today’s society can encourage us to push it further down so that we go into dark places, lonely and alone.
Becoming a social worker takes courage because you have to sit with a lot of discomfort and responsibility. The personalities that are attracted to the field are sensitive by nature and drawn to the troubles and troubled in life. Our sensitivity is crucial to understanding people but also makes us vulnerable to vicarious trauma. We leave a part of ourselves open so that we can connect and immerse in the stories we want to mend, to search for a glimmer of hope in the people we work with to support them to positively propel forward.
Despite, our acute awareness of social problems, and the constant exposure to peoples pain and fear, we are able to find light in the darkest of stories and gratitude in the hardest of times. We wear our hearts on our sleeve and keep moving forward, searching for justice in every bullet that comes our way.
I am grateful that I am going through the process of becoming a social worker. It pushes me to be strong when I want to give up, teaches me that life goes on for everyone when things don’t work out and to never stop questioning why. I am so excited to learn in the years to come.
*30th Jan 2017 I wrote a piece with the same name.
Today I am grateful for:
A restful Sunday