Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teeny Weeny Blue Bikini

I had just turned twenty when I became a social worker.  I knew nothing... about anything.  I had been hooked up with a family that really functioned well as a unit.  Mom and Dad were in the picture all the time.  During the summer they spent a great deal of time at the community pool.  I understood that part of what I was supposed to do was help out with the kids at the pool and the rest was helping out at their home.  

I had no vision primarily because I had little idea what I should be doing.    If someone told me what to do then I could do it.  I was smart and a quick learner, but innovative, I was not.  I also had no concept of how to present myself in a professional fashion.  This led to a major faux pa on my part.  This family was conservative and very devote in their beliefs.  Now, if I approached a family like this now I would have read that instantly and adjusted myself to accommodate.  I came from a background like this, so it would have been easy.  Yet, at the time I was self-absorbed in my newfound independence as an adult that I had little regard for sociological analysis of others.  

I wanted to do what I wanted to do and look the way I wanted to look.  Who cares what anyone else thinks?  Simultaneously, I wanted to look professional at my job.  Not because it was a way to convey competency through appearance, but because I had a new and important job and that was really cool.  So, naturally, in a family of rough-housing, busy kids with conservative parents what would a social worker wear, but the smallest bikini possible and perhaps a really nice pare of pants and shirt.  

At the pool I frolicked about in - no -not a sensible one-piece or even a modest two-piece, but a tiny, miniscule, blue bikini. I could barely stuff my ass in the bottoms and lacked enough goods to fill the top.  It was a spectacle for sure.  At the house I wore nice clothes not at all fitting to romp around with kids in.  

They liked to garden and one day I realized I didn't have the appropriate attire so I just decided to garden in my bikini.  Why not? Right?  The mom was gardening with us and a neighbor from church came over to chat with her.  On hands and knees (I was no stranger to weeding in my country upbringing) in some kinky southern boy's fantasy I heaved and hoed, pulled and tugged.  This was not what these northern, conservative mothers wanted to see.  

After that it wasn't long before I received a notice from my supervisor that this family didn't require my services anymore.  They just didn't feel like it was working out.  Thanks, but no thanks.  

This was my first of many lessons that ushered me into the foreign territory of an adult career.  Some were less painful than others.  Most were less painful than this one.

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