Expectations are a funny thing, they are important and good to have -but alas they get us in trouble.
Because, our disappointment can and will always be as high as our expectations.
I have learned not to have high expectations from Probation .
It is a big complicated organization with lots of bureaucracy and hierarchy .
I am a small program in a very very big machine.
When I started this work I would be offended and hurt when I wasn’t treated the way I expected. I couldn’t understand why things were done to me and I realized the faster I accept my place the easier it will get. I cannot expect too much from them, because I am a visitor in there facility, and their plate is beyond full.
When we arrived this week something was going on –there was a big meeting and they didn’t release the girls to the program.
My film crew were a little agitated, surprised and impatient.
I on the other hand was very calm, “Welcome to probation” I said.
There was something going on, there was a fight and we had to wait, no expectations- no disappointment. Surprisingly I was very cool.
When the girls in my group complain about this or that I always tell them :
“This is why you do not want to be incarcerated –this is why you never want to come back here” I say.
“We all must follow the rules” And follow them I do.
But really? When I say this, something inside me does not and cannot except the fact the girls age 13-18 are locked up.
That young woman of this age are in this situation.
Can’t we do better than this?
Shouldn’t we do better than this?
The girls came very late.
We did a really fun exercise, they liked it but they didn’t want to stay.
At this point of the session I expect them to be committed.
I expect them to want to be in the program.
I expect so much from them.
Disappointment can and will always be as high as our expectations.
I know I need to be careful.
But I aim high for these girls, I believe in them and their potential.
Am I expecting too much?
“I don’t want to be here today” one says.
“OK” I say, my heart sinks.
“Trace your body and you can go” we are doing an art project today.
I wanted to do an art project that I thought would be very engaging. Be careful with your expectations –I think.
She lies down on the butcher paper, this is my 14 year old mother to be.
Her friend traces her and her tummy they laugh they finish ,she is done.
I still have so much to give, but she wants to go outside.
The calm excepting mood I had for probation does not extend itself to the girls.
Can I even begin to understand what it is like to be 14, pregnant and incarcerated?
Half of the group leaves, it is a dragging day but the other half stays. It is not what I expected, it ends up being something completely different.
As I am sitting on the floor tracing a girl’s silhouette, the director of the camp walks in.
I always expect to be in trouble.
I stand up –waiting to hear what he is going to say to me.
He surprises me and invites me and the film crew to a pizza party.
Sometimes ,for no good reason our expectations have no connection to reality ,just our own insecurities. I learn he is leaving, and I worry not knowing to expect of the new director to come. And then I get a curve ball they tell me that this time I MUST have the names and ID’s of all the guests that I plan to have at the final presentation, crap!!
I did not expect that!!
On my way home I feel empty and sad ,I’m thinking who and how to get an audience to the camp and how it is going to be a royal pain in the butt to get everyone’s IDs ,especially since the last few shows I didn’t have to do that.
I wonder if I touched the girls at all today.
I feel tired and drained, I don’t call anyone.
I am quiet, and as I am driving and the sun is setting I am reminded of a moment that happened a few weeks ago .
I was frustrated about one girl’s behavior.
I was a little short tempered with her ,trying to explain to her that she should make the right choice , not the easy choice .A choice that would keep her out of trouble , at the same I tell her I am worried about her , but ultimately it is her and only her choice to make .
Suddenly she got very teary.
“Why are you crying?” I said.
“Because” she said
“Because you care”
“No one ever cared about me, so I never expect anyone to care about me or what I do. And now everything is complicated, because you care"
“Well” I say smiling -
“I do care, a lot .And you should, you should expect the best from people –expect things that you deserve, and go for them."
Say what you want, what you need and expect say it loud and clear. And if you don’t get it? Well, don’t give up, go, find someone who will fulfill or at least do their very best to live up to your every expectation”
“You just did Ms.” she said
And I find myself sitting on the 405 freeway crying from my own words, and blown away from things I couldn’t even dream of expecting.