Tomorrow is the final presentation. I know it will be great, more than great. But getting there has been, what can I say? A bitch and a half.
It started a week ago. I came to teach/rehearse. I came optimistic and with positive energy. At the same time I was tired and also a little run down. The girls were uneasy. The one whom I wanted to leave did, and, although secretly I wanted her to do so, when she actually did, it felt horrible! I felt like I failed. Another one is leaving the day of the show at 6 am. So when I came last week she kind of looked at me and said, why bother?? I guess they are human.
We are left with six. I spent the week in New York; I was a little jet lagged and, as I have said before, this group has worn me down. It was like pulling teeth. I brought the script and we started going through it. Things were going ok, but slowly they started cracking, and so did I. For the first time in five years I stopped a class in the middle and I left. I got up, said I am done, and walked out. It was impulsive, and the wrong choice.
There was a strong ripple effect on the girls.
As much as I kvetch and moan about the probation officers, they do have my back and I have earned their respect. When they saw me leave, they were shocked and did not let the girls off easy. The minute I got into the car the magnitude of my mistake hit me and, although I was reacting to a situation, I should not have walked away. My job is to stay.
I drive home disappointed in myself, disappointed with the process, disappointed with the girls. When I stop crying, my sweet cinematographer calls. He said, “Let it go. I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.” When I tell my husband what happened, I tell him I am embarrassed. He looked at me a little confused. “Why are you embarrassed? Are you afraid they will see that you are human?”
At this point I am actually a little nauseous. How could I have done that!? Choices and consequences, I talk about them to no end. I also talk about being human – we are all human ,we all make mistakes. The thing about mistakes is not why we make them but how we fix them. I know I will fix this. I also know this will not be easy. This group will make me work hard for it.
It is Memorial Day Monday. I go up to camp Scudder. I bring food. I apologize, I take responsibility, and I own my action. We are down to six girls. Nine have gotten out. One left the program. And one is leaving tomorrow morning.
Five accept my truth. One will not give in. “Come on,” I tell her. She is tough as steel and she is really mad at me. I tell her that she has to come to me. “You know, you are 18 years old. You are going to leave here, get a job, and have a life. If you behave like this when people apologize and come to you with open hands, life is going to be very hard for you.”
She is pissed, really pissed at me, and then she gets pissed at the rest of the girls. I give her space. She tells me she got yelled at. Again, I tell her I get it. I invite her to be present; she stays on the moon. Frankly, it is quiet outrageous. In the end I quietly tell her “I made a bad choice, I owned it, and now? Well now, you are making a choice to be unhappy. If you need to be like this, I will not be able to let you do the show because it is ruining it for the others.” When she leaves the room, those others are ready to kill her. On my way home I pray she finds her happy.
This week is the week of the show I am at camp almost everyday. Yesterday –Wednesday, we turn a corner. We feel the show .The girls are concentrated, they are aware. They are present. Joy entered the room. I think she is here to stay.
From the camp I drive to the most amazing experience, the high-school graduation of a graduate of my program. She has been out of jail for a year and a half. She is 19. She has started college. I sit with her mother and sister and I am overwhelmed with emotion. My girl is given an award for being someone who turned her life around. We cheer and we scream! The person speaking to the class quotes Ernest Hemingway.
"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."
I ponder on this week and think, our strength is as strong as the magnitude of our brokenness.
The ceremony is over we make our way to the graduates. She kisses her mother and her sister and she turns to me. We fall into each other’s arms and sob. I whisper to her because I cannot speak. “I am so proud!” The cinematographer points his camera and asks how do I feel? I tell him I can’t talk. He laughs,
“This is really huge if you can’t talk.”
I nod, yes this is huge.
I look at her and I am in awe of the human spirit of its elastic flexibility to hurt and heal forgive and move forward.
I look at her and I know it is all possible; really it is.
This morning I sit down to finish writing this blog that I plan to post before I leave for the dress rehearsal and I am content and very very excited .
I smile and think to myself that I am content because at this point I am emotionally spent ,maybe I am tired.
Or maybe, just maybe. I am simply human!
Tomorrow Friday May 29th @ 9am send us good vibrations!