I didn’t hear from Gee for a while although I had reports from other teachers that she had been back to school to collect belongings, projects etc. She had expressed to some of her teachers that she didn’t know if she could do it, move away, live life on her own.
I had given Gee my details as I often do with students when they leave school. I explain to them that I work privately also and if they ever need to see me, to get in touch. It’s always a difficult choice for me as I know I must charge for my work, but I also know that my fee is more than most of these guys earn in a week. For that reason, I am always willing to be discretionary with my charges.
One day, I received a garbled email from Gee explaining that she had been on a night out with a friend and had driven into town, intending to leave her car and collect it the next morning. Gee’s friend had fallen out with her boyfriend and was about to walk home alone. Gee stopped her and they made their way to Gee’s car to shelter from the cold rain. Gee was not able to drive as she had consumed too much alcohol. Gee had started the engine to get the heaters to work and…yes…you guessed it! A knock on her window, followed by an argument with a police officer, resulted in a night in a cell!
Gee was horrified about what had happened and hadn’t known where to turn.
She ranted about how her Dad already hated her and would hate her even more now. He would never want anything to do with her again. Her chances of going to Uni and starting a new life for herself were now over. Her life was a total mess and what was the point!
As I read the words, a mixture of fear, affection and anger bubbled up inside me.
We had come too far for her to hit that self-destruct button now!
I immediately emailed Gee and asked her to send me her phone number so I could call her.
A few minutes later she answered the phone, crying and panicking. I stopped her in her tracks…
“Gee be quiet and listen very carefully to me!” She did as I instructed. “Now, where are you?”
“I’m still in town” she sulked, “may as well go straight to a pub and get hammered now!”
“Don’t you DARE do that!” I ordered. “Now listen to me, get yourself a coffee and call your dad”
“B-b-but he-he hates me” blubbed Gee
“I’ve never heard so much nonsense in my life! That man has stuck with you through thick and thin, more than lots of biological dads do. Now get on that phone and give him the chance to prove me right!”
“But what if…”
“He gives you a massive bollocking? Take it! You deserve it! Gee managed a snivelling giggle
“Guess you’re right there”
“Now, I’m going to keep my phone available and I want you to call or text me when you’ve spoken to him, understood?”
“Do you mean it?”
“Yes, thank you Sarah”
“Don’t thank me, get yourself sorted!”
As I rang-off I wondered if I had gone too far. Had I used the fact that Gee trusted me to make her do what I wanted? What if Dad really did throw her out? Oh well, no going back now.
Working with young adults is nothing like working with children or older adults. They demand a total and utter presence and they demand every last drop of anything you have to give. Never seeming to give anything in return, they test out all of their emotions on you and expect you to stay strong. If you don’t, they leave you for dead; if you do, they welcome you into their World and it’s very hard to leave.
Gee had an innocence and gratitude about her that I had rarely seen, and I knew this had to have been demonstrated to her at some point and my guess was that it was her Dad that had developed her sense of trust and loyalty.
A little while later, Gee texted me to say she had spoken to Dad and he was on his way to collect her and sort things out.
The next time I was aware of any activity from Gee was when I heard that her Dad had loaded up his van and taken her to Uni.
Gee emailed me from time to time to say how much she loved Uni and how much she loved the area. I felt a real sense of pride and hoped and wished nothing but happiness for her.
After some months, the emails changed mood and Gee started to say she hated Uni and didn’t know how long she could stay there for. Christmas was coming so I encouraged her to stay until then and see how she felt when she got back.
The last email I got from Gee was to say that being away from home had helped her to realise that it wasn’t her home town she needed to escape but her own worries and insecurities. Gee now realised that she could indeed survive on her own, she was capable of making new friends and surviving independently.
The biggest thing that Gee had realised though, was that the very things that she had perceived as her issues were her greatest strengths.
Her family and friends.
“I feel like everyone has changed” she said. I knew that no one had changed except her.
As I bring you up to date with this amazing story of resilience and growing self-acceptance, Gee has achieved a 1st in her initial degree assessments and, much to the annoyance of her Uni lecturer has decided to transfer to another Uni close to home, so she can be with her Dad and her brothers.
Good luck Gee!!
Much love xx
Oh, and by the way, you never did pay me! xx
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