I feel a bit hopeless.
It’s that same thing it was in the Pilbara.
When you love the kids you work with but you don’t know if it’s going to be enough. When you just want to pull them out of the cycles that pull them down, just cuddle them and protect them from all that bad shit. You don’t know what to do, or even if you do know, you have no idea if it’ll make any difference. You’re watching kids fall through all the nets that are meant to keep them up, all the systems that are supposed to be in place are failing one by one – education, health, justice, family, religion, culture. You can see them falling and you put yourself at the bottom, fighting against all these shitty stats, trying to find small moments of growth.
When the small miracles of change you’re looking for, those little shifts, are not measurable or tangible. When all you have is faith – that anything you’re doing is doing anyone any good. When you can see how easily they could end up in jail or miserable or dead, but you can also see so clearly the other path they could take, the person they could grow into.
When the love you have for them is so fierce is scares you, it crept up on you without you even noticing.
When you see bits of yourself in them. When sometimes you want to love those bits and sometimes you remind yourself to be patient with them.
When you find yourself never reading any newspaper article about Aboriginal deaths in custody, or deciding not to watch any news story about violence against women, because you can’t separate the faces in those news stories from the faces of the kids you love and see each day. When thinking about that shit gets too hard so you try to switch it off because it’s paralyzing.
When you know what you have is a tiny opportunity to make a massive difference. When you wear it heavily and it weighs you down. When you have more fear than hope.
When you know you’ll leave some day.
When you want to leave. You know that someone else will take your place. The cycle will continue and you won’t be part of it. Eventually you won’t call any more, or send postcards. You aren’t a friend, you aren’t a parent, you aren’t a teacher.
You don’t really live here.
Although there is love here
This is not your home.