I feel blessed to be able to do a job I love and to have met and continue to meet the super heroes that share part of their journey with me. The icing on the cake for me is that a few of these amazing individuals have agreed to share their stories with me.
I’ll be chronicling their stories in short bursts but will also make their full stories available on this site to devour and enjoy.
I hope that these stories will help teenagers who are in crisis but also educators and parents who want a chance to delve into the lives of young adults.
I am in a unique position to see a person as they really are. No pretence, no fear of disappointment, “no holds barred”.
I’ll also be following up the stories with information and help and advice for those who may be able to identify with some of the stories.
A quick disclaimer here… the following stories have been written with the knowledge and permission of the young people concerned. Names and some details have been changed to protect their identities and to maintain confidentiality for them and their families.
For my first Story, I’d like you to meet Gee.
What can I say about Gee… She’s smart, funny, awfully hard on herself, crazy, creative, strong, independent. She literally crawled and clawed her way through school and is now studying at University! Gee wanted me to tell her story as an inspiration to others and also as therapy for herself. She’s excited to see herself through the eyes of another.
Without further ado, please meet Gee.
Gee first “stropped” into my life around 4 years ago when she was on the verge of exclusion for her behaviour. A miserable Year 10, teachers and support staff had tried everything to get Gee to engage. I noticed very quickly that a lot of the staff liked Gee and wanted her to succeed. After a couple of meetings with her, I understood why.
Gee had a quiet determination about her. She was stubborn, barely spoke, constantly ducked out of lessons and didn’t seem to care what happened to her. Looking into her conker-brown eyes which were framed by endless black lashes, I saw a deep soul. It would be 3 years before I really knew more about Gee’s problems or before I would come to know the real “her”. I’m not sure, even now, if I or anyone else has, or will ever really know her.
Of course, this immediately became interesting to me and I wanted to help her reach her full potential.
Our first few sessions were quiet. Gee spoke exceedingly quietly and would cover her mouth making it even more difficult for me to hear her.
“No one understands” would become a stock phrase of Gee’s.
“Help me to understand” would become a stock phrase of mine.
We plodded through the last few weeks of year 10, I tried all the tricks in my toolkit to help Gee to open up, but I never gave up on her, and she never gave up on me. I was always honest with her and as time went on, I felt a maternal affection for her which I sensed was lacking in her life.
Gee’s relationship with her mother was strained. She had never known or met her father who was abusive towards her mother. Gee had two older brothers who had grown up and left the family home and two younger brothers who were the product of her mother’s relationship with Gee’s Step Father. The relationship had broken down and Gee’s Step Father took on a flat nearby, so he could still see his kids. To Gee’s disbelief, this included her.
Finally, things came to a head with Gee and her mother. Her mother threw her out of the home following a bitter row. Gee had nowhere to go and her Step father took her in. Gee’s mother would not speak to or have any interaction with her 15 year old daughter. The only person she had in the World was her Step father.
As Year 10 came to a close, I had little hope for Gee making it through Year 11. We agreed we would work together when she returned to school in September. That was when our journey really began.
Look out for my blog covering hints and tips for parents who are separating, coming soon.
Alternatively, check out some articles of interest here