Saturday, July 9, 2011
I could have written this.
I want to not be invisible anymore.
I want to get up and shower and have somewhere to go.
I want to punch the people who talk about the recession being over.
I want to not have to choose between toilet paper or dog food.
I want to take back all the money I spent on student loans for an education that does me no good now.
I want to stop mending the waistband of five-year-old sweatpants.
I want to not consider two tacos for a dollar at Jack In The Box a splurge.
I want to walk into a job interview not reeking of desperation.
I want to be able to afford a simple goddamned urn for my daughter's ashes.
I want to pay just one bill on its due date, not have to wait until the FINAL NOTICE.
I want to be able to drive across town to pick my kid up so he doesn't have to walk in the rain.
I want to shop at the Dollar Store because I'm thrifty, not because it is the only way I can afford luxuries like body wash, toothpaste and laundry soap.
I want to be able to drive the two hours to Santa Cruz to visit my dying friend.
I want to pay for a haircut, instead of using the kitchen scissors to “even up the ends again”.
I want to have a shit job to bitch about.
I want to not panic every time the doorbell rings unexpectedly.
I want to split a tab or treat someone to something.
I want to wear contact lenses again, instead of these wobbly old glasses.
I want to be able to buy a present for my goddaughters.
I want to go to the theater to see a movie and pay for my own damn ticket.
I want to drive a completely legal car legally.
I want to not have to choose between buying tampons or a pound of ground beef.
I want to buy a book that ISN'T on the 25-cent rack at the Thrift Store.
I want to stop avoiding my friends because they're pitying or worse.
I want to not have to invent new ways to rearrange my resume and STILL get no response.
I want to get my dogs their shots so I can take them to the park.
I want to use good trash bags.
I want to wake up without dread that today is the day it will all come tumbling down.
I want to consider owning a spicebox and a mortar and pestle NOT a pipe dream.
I want a new bra.
I want to feel like a real person again.
I want to BE a real person again.
I am sick to death of this Middle Class poverty (not a penny to my name, but the remnants of a better life all around me)
I am sick to death of dumbing down my resume, groveling for jobs I could have done at sixteen and STILL not getting hired.
I am sick to death of feeling powerless.
I am sick to death of apologizing and being shamed and embarrassed for being one of the long-term unemployed.
I am sick to death of tailoring my resume to each job and STILL not getting a response from 99% of the companies I apply to.
I am sick to death of people telling me that I “really should see a doctor” when nothing would please me more, except that I can't afford to do so.
I am sick to death of not even getting interviewed for open positions, and then getting shitty service from the person they DID hire when I didn't even get an interview.
I am sick to death of turning down invitations to do things with friends, because I can't afford to do so.
I am sick to death of pretending that holidays don't exist because I can't afford to celebrate them.
I am sick to death of throwing away 2/3 of my mail without even opening it because I know that there's a bill or a statement from someone I owe that I can't afford to pay.
I am sick to death of explaining to other people that “getting a job at McDonalds” is not as simple as they think.
I am sick to death of hiding, being quiet, trying to play nice, mentally composing suicide letters, trying to figure out who can take care of my dogs/cat/kid when it all goes to hell like it is bound to do.
I am sick to death of feeling powerless.
I am sick to death of being unable to pay my own way.
I am sick to death of people telling me that “it could be worse”, because I know that it could and I am convinced that it will and I am only biding my time in this limbo which is a certain kind of hell all its own.
I am sick to death of these conversations where my friends and I try to brainstorm ways to get the hell out of this town/state in hopes that there is some place where we can still trade hard work for decent wages and crawl out of the hellhole we've fallen into.
I am sick to death of having to look my son in the eye and admit that I have failed him, that I failed his sister, that I have failed us all.
I am sick. And sad. And exhausted. And undone.
3:46 PM PT: I am overwhelmed by the support and suggestions and the stories you have all shared. I wish new bras and shoes and hope and joy for each one of you who is, in one way or another, where I am at. What I did not expect was the laughter you also managed to squeeze in there, though some of it through tears, and for that too, I am so grateful. Thank you all.
Originally posted to laurustina on Fri Jul 08, 2011 at 12:27 PM PDT.
Also republished by WYFP?, Personal Storytellers, Unemployment Chronicles, and Class Warfare Newsletter: The Plutocracy VS the Working Class.