During our 3rd session we finally had a breakthrough with the students. Though the class got off to a rocky start with our opening activity being a mindfulness exercise that students found difficult and/or boring, once we sat down and worked with them more one on one in activities, they began to come around. We laughed, high-fived, and made great progress in getting them to work with us positively. Even better was after our 2nd activity when we sat down and got them to write and reflect and they were very interested if not excited to share their writing and stories with us. One student, L, expressed to me her wanting to write and read more poetry but she felt that no one wanted to hear what she had to say. I encouraged her to share more with us as we would be delighted to hear her poetry. L then went on to start off our discussion by sharing her poem first. It was a proud moment for me (and I’m sure for her) to see this quiet girl who was unsure of herself and her writing to step up and go first. I hope to hear more poetry from her as time goes on.
A few other students shared their writing and asked us to share our stories as well. I went last and in thinking of the prompts of “what do we run toward/from? What do we regret and how are we going to change it?” I tried to keep my answers vague to avoid triggering but I said:
“I am running toward a healthier future, and running from my past of abuse and disorders. I regret not taking care of my body and I’m working on loving and treating myself kindly.”
One student remarked that I looked like I was succeeding and after I thanked her I said, “I’ve still got a ways to go.”
Another student said, “well it could be worse. You could be in a mental hospital.”
With a bit of pride I sat up and told them, “I was at one point.”
They all seemed shocked, except for one girl who said, “I was wondering about that!”
I took the moment and tried to turn it into a sort of “moral of the story” moment. I said how I went through that and came out on top and they could too. I’m not sure if anyone heard me or comprehended what I had said, but my hopes is that L, who was seated beside me, heard and took some comfort from it. She is young and unsure of her future, but she loves writing. She reminds me all too well of myself when I was younger and I want her to succeed, hopefully in a way that far surpasses my own recovery story.
The way we left our class this past week was completely different from the dismal gloom we had left the past weeks with. We were all hopeful, excited, and eager to continue working with the girls. It was the breakthrough moment we had been waiting for.