Dorm Room Wisdom: The Women of the Drop Inn Center

by E. Hayden

Okay, I am not a morning person, but waking up to: “Good morning ladies, the time is now six thirty. Breakfast is at seven. Let’s get up and let’s hit the showers,” is always a challenge.

“It’s too early for that, R.A. (resident assistant),” but I move, or rather sit up. I keep repeating my chant “Learn to flow,” float myself towards the showers, hot water is my new best friend right now, but honestly, food will be my new best friend at 12:00 p.m.

The Drop Inn Center has changed a lot since I was there in 2008; they have quotes now to start your day off right. Beds made up nice and tight and little chores like clean up behind yourself and positive activities.

Monday and Fridays have additional counseling (Drug and Alcohol) and writing groups to write about your feelings, your dreams, etc. and art classes in the evenings. Being Positive is the new word for the D.I.C.

As I was coming out of the showers one of the girls, who was about 19, was having a conversation about how she was going to court and the other lady said, “That what you are wearing?”

The girl replied “What wrong with what I have on?” She was wearing those flash dance type of pants with the blouse hanging off the shoulder.

“I like to look sexy.”

The older women, about 48, said “Not in front of a judge. Respect goes a long way in court.” She yelled to another lady to throw down a dress.

By the time the girl left, she looked like she worked in a downtown office building.

Funny, no matter where you are or what you are going though, women and advice will always go hand in hand. Some of the best advice comes from a woman four beds from mine, she says, “Be quiet and have less to say. Watch them, somebody going to get loud and mad about something that had nothing to do with them in the first place.”

Some of these women have been surviving anyway they could, she says, “By their instincts, which is a hell of a thang. Do what you have to do to get out and remember what you have been through, so you don’t have to come back.”

I had some job hunting to do. I left out about 8:00 a.m. It’s really hard when you have a felony, but I just keep on trying, that’s all I know to do. I got back in about 7:00 p.m. that evening and they were passing around a card for this older lady named Mrs. Tiny, she turned 56 that day and they got her cake; they planned on celebrating after the meeting that night.

The girl that had to go to court this morning was back. She said the judge was giving her one more chance. She also said she started school on Tuesday in a nursing program. She had been to Job Corp irst and now nursing school. I am impressed. I am bipolar it takes a lot to impress me.

At 9:00 p.m. the R.A. started the nightly meeting. They talk about rules for the all new women in the dorm (it holds up to 40 beds and about ten cots) and any new concerns or problems anyone has. The R.A. has a saying, “What did you accomplish today?” she started by telling us her accomplishments and then we went around the room.

Mine was five job applications today, but tomorrow is another day…