Denied social security again, I really don’t know what else to do but write about it. I am broken. Poverty has broken me. This should have its own classification in the DSM. I have come head to head with a wall that doesn’t seem to exist for other people. I don’t know how to get to your side of the wall because every time I’m over there, I can’t shut out the constant sarcasm, stigma and judgement for not dressing and behaving appropriately for that side of the wall, (from the people who claim the wall is all in my mind). That damn wall is not in my mind. So I’ll write about that wall until it finally has its way and kills me for real. I am not alone, nor imagining “the wall”, it is only the people who are benefiting from the wall that pretend it is not there.
The sheer volume of tragedies I have experienced in my 40 years on planet earth has crippled me. Besides that, I live in a state of constant physical pain due to breaking my back when I was 17 from a 45 foot fall off a cliff and 3 additional back surgeries in the last ten years that have failed to make the pain better. I’m sorry that I cannot agree to load myself up on highly addictive opiates in order to attempt a $10 an hour job. I have mental health issues too and addiction is not something I am willing to risk when I have a brilliant 8 year old to raise.
I experience the emotional equivalent of torture because I cannot get past certain things. The diagnosis for this inability to get past these things include depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of which have been harder to treat because there was an undiagnosed ASD component. (Your world is simply too loud and illogical for me and your medicines are dangerous and do not work.) My heart has become a breeding ground for hate which I must consciously choose to squash. I am trying really hard not to let this fester. But I do hate. I hate the ignorance this wall reveals with every fiber of my being.
I don’t actually know how to turn off the stuff I have witnessed growing up in poverty and spending time among the ranks of the homeless. It plagues me. I don’t have a filter for this pain, for the knowledge that I am simply unimportant to anyone but my son. I have fallen into a hole I did not dig. The culture I live in leaves these holes for the undesirables. And I fell in. I am one of the undesirables.
With a little help from the people who worked at the shelter, I was able to get into counseling and climb out of that hole. Can you guess what was waiting for me? Yep, a wall. The wall didn’t seem too intimidating at first but that was before I realized no one on the other side of the wall believed it was there. It’s invisible to most people but no matter how close to death I come standing face to face with this monster, they still think we’re making it up. I am a white girl who doesn’t use drugs and I have a firm faith in God. I’m not making this fucking wall up.
On the other side of this wall are all of the people for whom classism, racism, and ableism have no effect. I wonder why these people don’t realize or care that when they pretend the wall doesn’t exist, it makes it larger and more impenetrable for those of us stuck on this side of it. There are some people who try to help those of us on this side of the wall, a lot of times they make a pretty decent living at it.
What inevitably happens is they see us struggling, go to their side of the wall to get some direction and come back and tell us the wall is in our mind so we just have to try harder (to believe a lie and then live out our remaining days that way). The wall isn’t in our minds and if pretending it and the people on the other side of it don’t matter is the price I have to pay for a free pass on your side, then fuck you. There are simply not enough drugs I can take that are going to make me believe in that lie. If there is actually a job I can get on the other side of this damn wall, I’m going to need help finding it, because I’ve finally realized your wall is not made of money, it’s made of ego. Your ego built it and your money reinforces it. Awesome.
How do I not come to the conclusion that your ego allows you to value money over human life? I guess that’s beside the point because your soul is your problem. My problem is your conclusion that my inability to deal with this wall properly is my own fault. This is beyond egregious. Just like it’s every black man’s fault he ended up in jail instead of successful? And every sexually abused woman’s fault she turned to drugs and the pole because she didn’t see her own worth? Cool.
We don’t matter because that 2-week vacation in Mexico matters just a little more. The chance to wear a $12,000 jacket and get that prime real estate called other people’s envy is just too tempting. Are there any people out there that we value as a society who don’t have money? The question that needs to be addressed is WHICH CAME FIRST?
My son has an account on prodigy, a math learning program he was signed up for through his school. He asked me about membership yesterday. I had to tell him no because every tiny expense has to be considered in a cost/benefit analysis and this would be a luxury since he can use the free version. Every bit of money I do get into my hands has to be saved to extend my non-homeless experience as long as possible. Right now, I’m hoping to make it through the start of the next school year. Right about the time the bad weather hits is when our little jump started budget and reserves will begin to dwindle and we’ll be praying to stay sheltered. That is if nothing AT ALL goes wrong in the next three months.
I checked out the site and the membership fees just in case because he really does excel at math and loves it to boot, but unfortunately this is simply a luxury I cannot put in my budget. And guess what? Poor people hate having to tell their kids no too! I did, however, find this to be a rather telling metaphor for what it’s like growing up in poverty and why that wall keeps getting bigger.
“Why should you buy? On average, Members learn more than non-members”
The list of advantages continues, but I think you see my point.
So, herein lies my lifelong dilemma: the game is rigged but if you don’t play you die that much sooner and you can’t change the rules of the game from this side of the damn wall. I wish I had known that before I had kids. I would have just exited stage left before adding 20 more years of suffering to my plate.
My boyfriend and I were discussing visiting some of the cool sites we have access to living on the West Coast: Mount Saint Helen’s, Mt. Rainier, the Pacific Ocean, trying to find a way to budget the extra expense so my son can see some of the grand nature God has provided. It’s a tricky thing though, because visits to nature this extraordinary come with a price tag.
Parking fees, day passes and overnight camping spots would cost roughly $50, not including food and the gas to get there. But it has me wondering. Why don’t people with money ever get mad about having to pay for every single thing they do? I imagine that even if I had money to go exploring in this way, I would still get annoyed that I have to pay to visit a place that the collective tax coffers are supposedly already paying for.
It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that people with money like that wall and spend a lot of their “hard-earned money” and time reinforcing it than we care to admit. That is a lot of people making sure I (and all of the rest of us over here) don’t get a chance. Why? Why do you find us so undesirable? I have been researching the answer to this question my whole life and the responses can always be summarized as a belief that we are not trying hard enough to deserve the help from people who didn’t have to try as hard.
I spend an inordinate amount of time researching people’s opinions on the poor, so I’m not making some irrelevant claims here. You have judged poor people inaccurately. In fact, there are thousands of research papers written on the subject of social bias but here is a case where scientific knowledge is not making one bit of difference. The bottom line is you want us to be poor. You want us to stay undesirable because it makes you feel better about yourself. But I’m a bad person if I hate you. God tells me to love my enemies. All right God, I’ll do that, but don’t get mad at me when I die before I’m supposed to, that’s just how this system works and I am getting too tired to keep fighting.