Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Is Social Work Month: I Said Yes to Being A Social Worker

It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. -Whitney Young

Chile... I have failed many times in life, but I am not a failure. As long as you have breath within you, failure will occur continuously.  I remember being an undergraduate student majoring in Nursing, failing (my anatomy class) which is mandatory to go on to the professional phase which was the clinical stage. I thought my life was over until I realize that Nursing probably wasn't my true passion. I went into nursing because my Dad *Hey Dad* thought it was going to bring me prosperity and "status" because he worked as a surgical technician at Mass General Hospital for eons and was surrounded by medical professionals. (Insert Side-Eye)

*Disclaimer* Please parents for the love of God and life, please stop living vicariously through your children. We are under immense pressure as students, as a Native Black or whatever you identify yourself with living in Amerikkka and trying to navigate a holistic life.

Back to the Topic...

I remember my Mother consoling me because I broke all the way down and did the most epic ugly cry in Drea's history. You know that ugly cry in which you fall out, bang your head, probably have brain trauma, that ugly cry when you were delivered the awful news while grieving at the same time? Yeah, that ugly cry!  In true Josie Mae fashion aka "My Mom", she said, "Ok, get it out, keep crying but this is not the end of the world and you are not a failure." We all need a Josie Mae as Mother, friend, and Sistah-friend.

I remember sitting on the stairs in my house in full-blown tears.  My Mom suggested that I should make a list of everything I love doing, would do it for free, and fulfill my life purpose. She kept telling me to become a Writer and major in English but I passed because at the time I wanted a more "hands-on" experience with the people! *Hey Mama, thanks for sparking the BGFB Blog! *  I did not realize at the time that writing brings people and their experiences together. Writing/Blogging provides a different voice and perspective.  Did I just choose Social Worker or did Social Work choose me? Chile we are in a mutually elusive lifelong relationship. We said Yes!

Honestly, I wanted to advocate for the people, especially for the people who thought they have failed in life or someone told them that they've failed due to making a few mistakes or co-existing in a system that is designed to break your mind, body, and soul. I wanted to provide wisdom, knowledge, sustainability, and advocacy. Being a Social Worker, you have to understand that you are a warrior. You are unpopular and hated by some and adored and a hero to some. Being a Social Worker is understanding that you can navigate spaces that the average global citizens cannot because you are versatile and culturally competent.  You are the one who speak truth to power because you have an understanding and discernment that ish is crazy and dysfunctional out here in these streets and within families. Social Workers are the ones who find themselves in uncompromising situations because you know you have to go beyond the red tape and barriers to actually get the resources for your clients, community, and the world. You will have to throw on some army fatigues to go to war on a micro, mezzo, and macro level. You will have to go to war on a Macro level, such as speaking truth to power, calling out unjust, racism, toxicity, inequality in holistic care, and doing the work to change policies, and procedures at the same damn time.

Fast forward to ten years later, licensed, certified, and seasoned... I never thought Social Work would provide me with a plethora of personal and professional experiences. I don't believe that nursing would have provided me with the similar experiences. From interning at the Tuskegee VA Hospital my Senior Year at Tuskegee. I got paid in full as well. To being Miss. Social Work, Vice President of the Social Work Student Alliance to serve as a Program Coordinator as an undergrad at the Macon County YMCA to help create service projects for the youth and their families in Macon County.

I have studied abroad in Jamaica as a graduate student at The University of Southern Mississippi to be a Class Rep for the Social Work Alliance Club. I have worked as a Foster Care Social Worker, Hospice Social Worker, Advocated at the Alabama State legislation, help started an initiative for Hurricane Katrina victims in Hattiesburg, MS, spoke truth to power about racism on the campus at The University of Southern Mississippi, supervising Social Work Students, being a consultant to with non-profit agencies, Director of Social Services at a non-profit, started a holistic health business to help heal the whole person and their environment, potential Professor and more. The list continues.

Everything happened for a reason and I am certainly honored and privilege to be on this journey. I am exhilarated that I am able to serve and advocate for the people every day and all day.

I want to give a major S/O to all the Social Worker out there on the Frontline healing people, providing resources, tirelessly advocating for those who are unable to do so, being change agents and catalysts, and more. You all are the undefeated and unanimous MVPs!

Lastly, Social Workers we need to advocate for a Universal Social Work licensure exam! Some of us are International Social Workers and move around a lot. Trying to pay for a license transfer or retaking parts of the exams is utterly absurd.

Love and light to all the Social Workers!

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