Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

My parents’ generation were the product of parents who lived through the Great Depression. My grandparents had to be creative with their resources; the flour companies started making pretty prints on their flour sacks once they figured out that mothers across America were using the sacks to make dresses. Re-purposing so that nothing went to waste, our grandparents were also guilty of turning their yards and barns into trash heaps. They were fearful of throwing anything away in case it would be needed in the future.

My parents’ generation, the baby boomer generation, turned around and said to their kids, “I’m going to give you everything I didn’t have,” which really meant that they wanted their kids to have new stuff. This started a trend of some of my classmates actually having cars being purchased for them, or having college tuition being paid for them, and by middle class – not wealthy – parents. Credit cards also started circulating heavily and regulations became non-existent, making it incredibly easy to rack up debt.

Now my peers are struggling to make ends meet and are in debt up to their ears while still providing cars and tuition and pocket-sized computers to their children as if they are staples, not privileges.

There’s a lot of talk about going back to basics and scaling back, while also teaching our children about how to manage money and understanding the consequences of debt.

I’m in a different kind of quandary, however. I need to figure out how to be poor. I mean really, really poor, in the current system – not what it was, and not what we wish it would be.

Back in 1995 when I took the road trip around the U.S. to pick a new place to live and ran out of money and said, “Okay, Albuquerque!”, I was poor. I landed with $100 and slept on someone’s futon for a month. But I was also able-bodied and picked up two jobs and moved into an apartment within a few weeks. I still had times where I lived off of $10 a week for groceries, but this is a little different. This is finite.

I sat down with the financial planner at my bank and figured out the rest of my bills for this year. However, I’m really stressing about my bed. It’s sagging and I can feel the springs poking through even with a thick foam topper – really bad for my fibromyalgia – and it’s only a year and a half old, and I’ve worn through it because I’m in bed for about 20-22 hours every day. Sleep Number is running a sale right now through September 11th and I could replace this bed for about $1100 including their least expensive base, and that would take care of the springs issue and would probably last 6-10 years. Do I buy it? Or does buying it now put me that much closer to eviction next year? If I’m evicted, what am I going to do with the bed? If I get housing at some point down the line, I’m going to need it again, uncontaminated by mold/dust/dander because of my mast cell disease.

I’ve had alopecia since the age of 3, and I lost my hair completely 14 years ago. There is a 30% off sale going on right now, which would give me a considerable discount on the wig I usually wear. Should I get that instead of a bed (it’s much less expensive)? Should I just give up on wigs now anyway because if I’m evicted next year for non-payment I won’t be able to afford them anyway and I don’t deserve to be so vain?

I have enough in my account to get me through to November of 2017. I’m a worrier by nature. All I can think about is, what am I going to do if I get turned down for disability? I mean, I hope the disability hearing happens by November 2017, because I filed for it in February 2016, and they are running 18-22 months behind (but just in case I have my senator flagging this case as “congressional interest”). Priority housing is given to people who are verified as disabled or who have children; if I am not verified as disabled (because I don’t have a diagnosis) and I don’t have children, I won’t have enough “points” to qualify for housing. All of my friends and family have pets and I’m deathly allergic, so moving in with them is not an option.

I’m concerned about both my mom’s health and my mom and step-dad’s financial stability, and my step-mom’s husband’s health and their financial stability. I’m concerned about my sister’s health and her family’s financial well-being. I’m concerned about my brother’s brand new baby who is due in the next few weeks and his little family’s financial stability. I recognize that they all have grave concerns of their own while they try to shield me from them and simultaneously try to take care of me. Certainly none of them can afford to pay for another adult’s living expenses.

I receive notices from friends telling me that I should support certain causes. I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t have any income and I won’t for at least another year, if at all, but they take “income” to mean working income. They just assume that I receive disability, even though I’ve said repeatedly and clearly that I’ve been turned down for disability numerous times. It wears me out to worry about being homeless, and I’m pretty overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to do to further my own cause since all of the offers of help were not really followed up on except by a select few, and it’s humiliating that I have to repeat myself to be heard.

This weekend I had a former fuck buddy hit me up out of the blue after years of silence to try to give me shit about moving back to my home state, mocking me about my claim that I was done with snow and cold when I moved to Arizona in 2003. I told him that I was pretty fucking sick and had stumped 54 doctors so far and could no longer live without assistance; he said he was working on three hangovers and he was sorry I was sick. He loves to talk about how he’s tired of welfare assholes, and I’m sure he thinks I’m one now too. We can’t even really have a conversation with each other anymore because in his eyes as well as in the view of the government, I have no value.

So where is the class that teaches me to navigate being homeless on the streets in a snow state? Do I get a free map to all of the soup kitchens? Where’s the best place to stash my cart outside while I warm up and surf the net in the library? How do I make a shank?

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9 thoughts on “Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

  1. I have no words. I wish I could help. That’s really all I can say. It breaks my heart. I don’t understand you not being able to get disability. I don’t care if you don’t have a diagnosis, even more reason to have it. You have stumped the doctors. They don’t say you aren’t sick, they say they don’t know what the heck is going on. Our government needs to get a clue and help the people who need help. Instead of just those who have kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Wendy. I was thinking of two women specifically in very similar situations to mine when I wrote this; they have already passed the “what if” phase and are now in the “I am” arena. All three of us decided to act responsibly and not have children (maybe we didn’t want to pass along our crappy genes, maybe we realized how much of a financial and physical toll it would be), and now we’re being punished for it.

    Like

    • I too decided not to have children.
      Why should we be punished or looked at as less than because we are responsible?
      I’m not in your situation, but without S I would be. I have no family to ask for help. No friends.
      I relate to you so much.
      I met my husband when I first started getting really sick, but it was already taking its toll.
      We actually got married the day we did because my insurance was going to run out.
      I’d be on the strwet now.
      I understand more than you can know. The fear was very real for me.
      I was living pay check to pay check. I had to stop working full time. I was closer to being on the street than I’d like to admit.
      My heart really does bleed for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fucking capitalism , seriously. I blame capitalism. Its completely separated the haves from the health nots. We grow up in this fucked world where we are told we need more, consume more, buy more, get everything, accumulate..and well sometimes that shit doesnt go to plan and we get sick or whatever, and the welfare system is shit. I mean nyou are American…land of the free my fucking ass, how can people say you have your freedom when you can hardly afford to fucking live, what is free about that?
    Im sorry you even have to worry about this shit, i thought you know, the United Nations made all these human rights laws so we wouldn’t have to worry about where our next meal came from, or if we may or may not have shelter over our fucking bald heads.
    Being poor, struggling, sitting in welfare offices begging for monday has taught me a lot..too much…the government is lucky i am sick, or shit would be getting fucked up reaaaal quick.
    Love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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