Home » Progress » The Ugly Cry – 2

The Ugly Cry – 2

After finally getting out of bed today and making  phone calls and sending more emails without reaching a clerk or an official who can tell me what I need to do, I read this from Lisa K., and this from Lisa H. Their posts, along with words from friends and my feelings today of weariness and ineffectiveness, made me rethink the idea of silence that I’ve fought against for so long. I haven’t rethought it because I’m against the prudence of not saying everything, but because if we don’t say the important things, what’s the point of saying anything? Lisa K. said, “I have been thinking about choosing silence….. But choosing silence does not work. I cannot teach my daughter silence.” I have a daughter, too, and I haven’t taught her silence. At least, I hope I haven’t taught it inadvertently by my example.

So I’ve re-examined the post I wrote Sunday and made sure it says what I thought it did. I’ve been working hard for months at writing, reaching out, researching how to go about finding an agent, how to self-publish, what traditional publishers want, what anyone wants and what they might pay money for and how much…. I’ve been weighing ideas and making decisions on which to work hardest on first. I was tired Saturday night, but still going strong. I wrote this Sunday after the ugly cry wouldn’t stop; I don’t think I only wrote it for myself, because there are a lot of us:

Sunday January 22, 2012

I haven’t yet recovered from mine. I’m not the only one. That’s why it seems wrong to say it out loud, especially here where my strongest, selfless face should show everyone that I’m fine and ready for opportunity. I should be able to do it all: produce, sell, succeed, make my own job, then career and become more, enduring setbacks as blades of grass underfoot, learning but unfazed. But my card was refused last night at the grocery after I’d spent an hour making choices: frozen vegetables, whole wheat flour for the baking I don’t have time for because I should be writing, bread and peanut butter for sandwiches, eggs, milk, whole wheat pasta and the smallest piece of parmesan I can find because a grated tablespoon over pasta and vegetables shines sun into a room until it’s gone. There was a box of cookies, too, the big one for three dollars, and pretzels because I need a handful for energy when I’m writing and need to finish a piece before my head clears and it’s gone. They were all in my cart at checkout, but I could only come home with eggs, milk and the pretzels. And now today’s long ugly cry upon waking has slashed a long wound into the wonderful idea I had yesterday (the one that would take even more work in a short amount of time) because I wonder how much time the government food stamps office will steal from it, and how much time will this crying spell steal from it?

I know that conservatives want to pretend that jobs are out there that are attainable without previous experience and without the confident and quick demeanor of one who’s been treated wonderfully by life even though bits of their pride is being chipped off every day. But not even the job services organization that worked with me believes that, and they are on the front lines of this war. It’s hard to walk around with your head up when you aren’t respected by so many. Trying to get a job has become so much like trying to become popular in high school. Only certain personalities are desirable and I don’t fit into the mold now any more than I did way back then.

My year-old post about the working world’s desire for perfect automatons, felt like a gunshot into my own desires to take part — to make “a living” — but it’s buried now in past posts that no one will read. Part of me wants to let those issues lie, but the inclination to say it out loud still feels to me the way the outspoken members of the Occupy Wall Street Movement must feel by refusing to be quiet any longer.

I’m a writer. It’s the one thing I know how to do that I can keep trying to do without overhead, as long as I can find money for electricity and the internet. But the time is coming near for different choices, different ugly choices. If, after jumping through every hoop they set before me, the government office has made a strange choice because of new rules I may not know of that exclude my participation in the program, then my days in my own home are numbered. I haven’t money for taxes and food even if I do slash my one bill that could be considered expendable. That one bill’s excess keeps me saner and it doesn’t come close to equaling what wasn’t in my food account last night.

I know I’m not familiar with real suffering. No one has to tell me that. I know this world is full of people, in this country and others, who have nothing perhaps except the love of their families and friends. My own selfish, ugly tears are mostly rolling from a place of deep depression because the hole is so deep, but I have much drive to do and be better. I haven’t been allowed into the not-so-secret society of the successful (that’s what I call being self-sufficient) by my silence and attempts at pretense on the subject. My sensitivity to the heartaches of this world as well as its wonders, has already excluded me from the roads to success I can see. The ones I haven’t found yet, may just accept me as I am. I need my ugly cry to stop so I can continue my search. But I’ve held it in so long while I worked and researched and tried, that it seems to have a life of its own now.

To anyone reading this, please understand that I wrote it out of a need to be stronger. I don’t find strength any more in silence, if I ever did. At the moment I don’t mind if the people who know me read these things. Or maybe I just don’t care anymore. It feels a little like say it or die, if you know what I mean. I’m going to hit “publish” and then have some eggs (because I should be hungry by now) before I decide on tomorrow’s actions and prepare the face I’ll wear. Maybe by tomorrow evening I’ll delete this and it’ll become another whisper at the back of my mind and something I hope you can forget. But for now, without anyone else to say it to who isn’t also hurting inside, I say it to everyone before I go off to remember how to be quieter and work some more.


20 thoughts on “The Ugly Cry – 2

  1. Just to say I was here to bear witness to your cry and your pain and your frustration and your desperation, to hold a sacred space for all of that. May your cry be heard and your answer comes quickly.

  2. First thought I had when I saw you’d commented on my post: “Oh thank god, you’re back.” I’ve been thinking about you and thinking about you. I’m so glad you wrote.

    “If we don’t say the important things, what’s the point of saying anything?” I have been coming to this too. I know there are good reasons to be silent sometimes, and quiet is a good lesson for me to learn. But there’s silence the weight, the burden, and silence the liberation; only the latter makes any sense to me. When I read this post I felt the smothering weight of all the silence you (and others) have kept in the past, and it felt like something powerful was breaking free — your voice, I suspect, your choice, and maybe even your freedom. Not to make the material seem like anything less than it is, but there are some things that are beyond the material.

    I’ve heard some of what you write here before, from friends in similar situations, and I am always so full of aching and wishing I could share more of what I have, but not knowing how. I think actually there is a lot of silence from those of us in more materially comfortable situations when we don’t know what to offer and we don’t know how to ask. We want to support but not offend, help but not condescend. In stories, people always find each other and things work out perfectly. In real life, I never know what to do or say.

    Love, love, love, love, love.

  3. Sparks,

    Completely understandable. That’s not just the need to break silence but courage too. Some of which I haven’t found but you have inspired me and I thank you deeply for that. I am often quiet because I think people will not understand, or worse, pretend to care and yet most times I find that is my own fear boxing me in.

    I am glad you are feeling stronger, sending peace, love and light your way.


  4. It’s never wrong for a writer to write. No life is free of suffering; whether that life is one of privilege or poverty, there will be darkness and doubt, sadness and pain. You’re allowed to feel those things. You’re allowed to have days when you feel overwhelmed and lost and alone. We need these moments to provide perspective, so that when things get better (and they will, my friend, I promise you they will) we can savor the sweetness and the joy that life can bring.

    Ride this out, Ré. Allow yourself the ugly cry, then show your daughter what it means to be a strong, resourceful woman in a man’s world. You’ve got this. Keep going.


  5. You are so right about the conservatives, Re. I can’t even see the word “debate” without feeling positively ill. The income disparity is sickening. Romney mentioned that yes he used to do guest lectures, but he didn’t make much money from them. Do you know how much he made? 375, 000 bucks. No joke, he thinks that’s fun money.

    I was the same way in college. I thought, I’m not suffering. I have a studio, my mom gives me money and I am getting an education. But I had the flu every other week, I was depressed and one month I was so poor I had nothing eat except grapefruit juice and crackers for two weeks. It was horrid.

    But Re, I see in your writing something great. I’ve read New York Times articles that were less inspiring than this post alone. Something about your writing cannot be ignored; you should assume you will succeed. I think you will.

    Have you tried Kickstarter? I’ve seen artists go from nothing to raising thousands for their projects in no time. Please, check it out.

  6. You are a wonderful human being, a bright light, a writer who moves us, a blessing, a beautiful woman. How to hold on to all of this when you can’t buy the food? Oh, god, I don’t know. Not having enough can eclipse everything else. I wish I had a good job to give you and I wish you lived next door. I am so, so grateful that you have the strength to cry and tell us about it so we can all understand.
    Love to you.

  7. So much love being sent in your direction.
    We are all allowed these moments, regardless of our situations. The fact that you are able to share your hardships with us, able to sit yourself at your computer and put your fingers and your mind to work on days when it seems difficult to even get out of bed….well that right there should remind you of your own strength, and your own courage, and your own ability to pull yourself out of this. Maybe you didn’t WANT to get out of bed. Maybe you didn’t WANT to write this. But you did. And that’s more than some struggling with depression can say.
    You are taking the steps, no matter how small. This post proves you are not standing still.
    We can never stand still, in times like these.
    Let’s keep swimming.

  8. I feel that you’re breaking through, LadySparks…and I’m listening. It’s important that you allow yourself to feel, no matter what you feel. Give yourself permission to feel, and be unapologetic for it. At times, it may be rage; at other times, remarkable understanding. The rawness of your emotions must be given an outlet, and your accounts and experience contribute to our overall understanding and greater empathy. Your cry is OUR call to action. Our enhanced knowledge should cause us to do something differently, regardless of our position.

    Thanks for opening up, and for making such an indelible mark on me this evening. I needed that.

  9. Ré, I feel for you here. We all can sense your pain when we read this. Our support for your writing is not empty words – you must keep at it and believe. You have an exquisite way. But the bills need paying and you need to eat. Draw on your strengths and know that there are those out there who are rooting for you. Fight.

  10. just breaks my heart…I know how difficult it is to struggle as a writer, but that’s not enough to heal the pain you’re feeling now.
    may your faith in yourself draw you closer to your daughter, and may your wisdom push through this block, shattering it once and for all.
    you’re stronger than this and you can, will, you are moving past this into peaceful days ahead
    they are just ahead, really they are…
    cyber hugs
    namaste my friend

  11. Please hang in there and know that you are loved. I don’t know how people who work full-time, inside or outside the home, find time to write much; I know I just don’t have the energy for it. I know you have the talent to write things that people want to read. But a job would be a great thing, if you could just snap your fingers and make a decent one appear. I’ve been lucky that way I guess–I haven’t always been thrilled with the jobs, but I’ve always had one or another that has paid at least 3 quarters of my bills. And food, no, never really a problem. Fulfillment, yes, but never food, as of yet. Who knows what any tomorrows may bring? It’s hard to say “Keep your head up and you will be respected and hired for who you are”, but I’m tempted to say that.
    I hope things get better for you. I know you have a bunch of fans who look forward to your writings.

  12. I want to see this post go somewhere. I want to see it as an essay, winning a competition, published in a magazine. Are you familiar with the ‘Sun’ magazine? If not, see if you can find it at a library and look at their submission guidelines. If you can’t find it, email me your address and I’ll mail it to you, if you still have my email address. This is so strong because it is from the heart, and it will resonate with so many people. Please do something with it. And on a practical note, how can I help? Don’t automatically say you’re okay. Again, email me off site and let me know what practical things I can do or send your way to help you keep your head above water. I know if I’d posted this you’d be right there wanting to help me, so let us help you.

  13. Forgive me for hoping that one response can adequately thank you all for being so nice. You each deserve individual thanks for your kind and supportive words. I know that, but the waterworks are starting again, only this time it isn’t pain. I’m the same way when I get to the really happy parts of books and movies. This time it’s the wonder that you care about me. Thank you all very, very much. ❤

  14. I often wonder how I’d survive if I had to support myself, and frankly, I’m stumped. I used to make baby clothes as a hobby that turned into a profession, though I didn’t employ anyone to help, just did it all myself. Too much work for too little money, that was.
    Now I’m embarrassed to think of my lack of ’employable’ skills.
    This was a poignant post Re. I hope the cry is cathartic for you. But here’s to earning a great living as a successful writer in the near future! Lots of hugs………Munira.

  15. As I grow and learn to become vulnerable when and where it counts, I have seen you just explode out of a cocoon and into a world of assertiveness that is necessary and timely. I do not know you, but I know you have a voice. You have used it loudly here, and it will be echoed. You will find prosperity, because you are a worker. Press on, even if labor seems far, work on, even if money is gone, hold on, trust, believe, pray, and tell. People can help us when we speak our truths. You just did, and that is a big step. If it is a first step that is fine. More, bigger, healthier, prosperous steps will follow you. I trust in God for you. Be hopeful today, you are NOT alone.
    God bless you today and always. Tears are so powerful, they heal, liberate and ease tensions. Cry them, but see the sun from the sparkles. My heart goes out to you.

  16. Pingback: Two Years « Woman Wielding Words

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