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.