Saturday, October 06, 2007

Switching gears

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. She turned 20. On Thursday, we had guest speakers from Mountain Home speak to our class. Moutain Home is a place for pregnant teenage girls who are homeless or otherwise disendowed. This experience so close to my sister's birthday created a great flux of emotions within me... as my sister's son will turn 4 in November; her daughter, 2 in December.

My family has tried to help my sister so much: given her money when needed, a place to enjoy family company, transportation to and from appts, even offering a free place to live. However, she refuses to use the last resource to her and her children's benefit. She was evicted from her last apartment because it was infested both by bugs and drugs. She didn't cause it to be like this. However, it was in the terms of her lease and she knowingly accepted. She has a different apartment now and continues to live hand to mouth.

As one might detect, this is a painful topic for me because it is impossible for me to understand my sister's reasoning for staying in Vegas with virtually nothing. But, has my anger and frustration caused me to treat my sister less than I would a stranger I met in the hospital?

For instance, if a teenager presented herself to me in a clinical setting and had many of the same characteristics as my sister, I wouldn't think twice about finding her help, giving her the tools she needed to get on her feet, and helping her make a positive change in her life. With my sister, I have mentioned stuff to her, and expected if she really wanted to change, she would do it. She would find the resources she needed in her area and get on with it. With internet access, I probably have an easier time trying to find resources for her. Why am I waiting?

I think I just don't want to be upset by her. With someone else, I don't have to see her and be hurt by her the rest of my life. It hurts because I know what she could have become. It hurts because she is so damn stubborn for reasons that she refuses to fully understand. It hurts because she is only letting a horrible cycle continue.

I am going to find some information for her and leave it up to her and leave it at that... yeah right, but I can hope that she is still in that immature adolescent stage and consequence/benefit/abstract operational thinking is still developing. (Adolescent stage goes from 12-25...)

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