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Thursday, October 13, 2011

let's get serious (for once...)

y'all, i enjoy being a funny person.  (well, hopefully i amuse people.  i amuse the shit out of myself!)  but right now, i'm going to take a break from humor, and i'm going to talk about some important shit.

i don't know what y'all think about the Occupy Wall Street stuff going on.  
i am cynical because i don't think it will change anything, but i also think it's very fucking important for these things to be voiced.  
because no matter what political side you're on, everyone must realize that there is some fucked up shit going on in America right now.

i don't like to bitch about my life.  i hate it.  i know i should feel very lucky to be where i am.  but i don't.  and today i am going to bitch.  (it's mah blog, and i'll cry if i want to!  cry if i want to!  cry if i want to!)

y'all know a lot more about the weirder sides of my life than the boring stuff.  you may not know about the day-to-day personal side.  some of you are my great friends on The Twitter and others know me in real life, so some of you kinda know what's going on.  but i'm sure there's some random people reading this that have no clue about the practical side of my life.

i'm just going to (try to) stick to the facts.  i'm keeping it chronological. 

the last several years of my life
in 2006, i drove to Oregon to finish my degree at a liberal arts school in small-town Oregon, near Portland. 

in may of 2007, i graduated with a BA in Creative Writing.   i went to school on scholarship.  i had to maintain a 3.7 GPA throughout my college years.  i graduated cum laude.  when i graduated, i had accumulated $20,000 dollars of student loan debt, even with my $13k+ scholarships each year.

after graduating, i was unemployed.  i had to live off a credit card for a while, to keep my head above water and pay my bills. 

in June 2008, i finally landed a job at a prosperous law firm in Portland, OR.  i moved to the city, and sold my car to help pay the credit card bill, since i was off several major bus lines and the car wasn't a necessity.  
i wasn't doing well, but at the very least i was paying all my bills, and i could eat.  i couldn't afford luxuries, but i wasn't falling behind anywhere.

in april 2009, i was laid off from the law firm.  i did get unemployment benefits.  they were not enough for me to pay bills AND rent, so for a while i was homeless.  
i had my stuff stored in my friend and former roommate Dave's basement, and i camped for a month or so.  i volunteered at a music festival, and they fed us.  i slept over at friends' houses.  i crashed with The Matt, before we moved in together later (a move which was precipitated by him shattering his knee, and losing his income; we made the decision to move in together not because of our relationship, but out of financial need).  
i was a couch-camper; thankfully i never had to sleep on the street.  i have very good friends.  i also had food stamps, so i was able to feed myself.

i tried to find jobs, and i did find a temporary job, but i was fired after 3 weeks, for no reason i could see.

Matt and i did end up renting a room again for the few months before I left Portland, in our friends' house.  but when we had to move from that house, we decided it was time to try and make a change in our lives, in the hopes that we could somehow be better off elsewhere.

december, 2009, Matt and i moved from Portland to Pensacola, FL so that we could squat in my dad's foreclosed house, while we saved money and figured out what the hell to do.  when i moved, i lost my unemployment. 

in march 2010, we moved to new orleans and began the frantic job search.  it... didn't go well.  the job market might be even worse here in New Orleans than it was in Portland.

i got the worst job ever, and was then fired from it for a really shitty reason.  i was fired from other random jobs.  then, i just couldn't find any.  i couldn't get interviews.  (for the record:  from 1999 to 2009, i worked steadily, and i had NEVER been previously fired.  ever.)  i stumbled along through a combination of random photobooth gigs, and eking by as a stripper.  my bipolar and anxiety was steadily rising.

march 2011, my mom got me an SUV (which she is still paying on) so that i could do more photobooth jobs, and quit stripping. it helped, but photobooth gigs are by their nature unreliable.  unreliable income is INSANELY stressful, especially if you have to wonder if you're going to make rent every month.  
my bipolar and anxiety started flaring big-time.  i was unable to even go in to strip when i needed to, because i would have anxiety attacks and be unable to go. 

here is me, right now:
it's october 13th, and so far i have only been able to pay $100 of my $400 rent to my landlord.
i can't pay any of my credit card bills, and creditors call me every day. 
my student loans are deferred, or in forbearance, collecting interest.

The Matt has to pay all the bills, which he can't afford to do, either.  

we go without food sometimes. it affects him a LOT more than it does me.  he has lost 40 pounds in the last 2 years (although part of that was due to shattering his knee, and losing muscle).  he's already a skinny dude.  he weighs less than me, and he's 2 inches taller.

 i have exactly $0.24 in the bank right now.  no cash.  i get paid $150 tomorrow, and $100 will go straight to the landlord, but my rent will still only be half paid.  the other $50 will be put towards paying back a friend, who loaned me $200.  this month i will get about $750; my costs are about $1100, bare minimum.  i will still be behind.  it feels like i will always be 

My bipolar is barely controlled; my anxiety is running rampant because the only doctor i can afford won’t prescribe me anxiety meds. why, i do not know. she just won’t. maybe she thinks i’m a drug seeker. maybe she just doesn’t care. 
i can’t afford my meds. i have no health insurance. i have no prayer of health insurance, even if i could afford it:  i have preexisting conditions.  bipolar disorder.  asthma.

Medicaid won’t accept me because i can’t prove my income. Ditto for food stamps.

i feel like a complete failure.  last year my grandparents guilt-tripped me for my birthday.  i was pissed and wrote them back, snarkily.  they haven't spoken to me since.

my mom doesn't guilt trip me, but she pushes me to try to get more work.  i wish i could accurately explain to her what the job prospects are really like for me.  she doesn't have any idea; she simply can't, because she has 30+ years of experience and she gets hired, even if she doesn't get paid nearly enough for her worth.

lately, my mom's completely quit worrying about me.  but it's because she's focusing on my step-dad, who just got diagnosed with cancer.  one bad medical bill could put them completely under.  mom can't even afford to take time off work to be with him while he has his cancer treatments half the country away.

my dad had his house foreclosed in 2009, the one we squatted in for a few months.  at least he seems to be doing better, financially, but he's the only one in our family.

my brother can't get a job.  i can't get a job.
The Matt, whose resume is even better than mine, can't get another job.  he has management experience out the wazoo.  but nothing.

we live underneath the poverty line.

a few days ago, i was fortunate enough to get a gig as an extra for a tv show.  we supposedly get paid in two weeks (by check), and it should be $100.  at least i should have some of next month's rent, eh?  or maybe i'll be able to pay the rest of this month's rent by the end of the month.

i am bringing all this up, because i am hardly the only struggling poor person who does NOT deserve to be in that position.  this is not just me, being "stupid with my money," or "lazy," or "irresponsible."  

look, there is not one single person in this household who has clothes that FIT, and none of us can afford to buy more clothing.  no, not even at the fucking thrift store.

there are so many people out there struggling.  generally speaking, the rich don't give a shit.  the compassionate among us are usually the ones in the same boat - living paycheck to paycheck, or falling behind, and unable to help others out.

i have no end to this.  i can't wrap it up.  i have no moral to this story.  it's just been on my mind, recently.  it always is. 

it's there when i try to fall asleep at night, and insomnia has a firm hold on my brain, which is busy worried about everything. 
there's no end in sight.

and we are being FUCKED.


Tara said...

I'm so sorry you're struggling so much. I saw on pinterest some picture of someone holding up a sign of how they were so responsible with money and had no student loans and lived with their means. Yeah, great. But let's say you are supporting an ailing parent. Or you can't get a job. Or you suddenly have an accident that costs more than expected? Then what? I'm sorry dear, I feel so bad for you. Hugs.

chemgirljaime said...

I totally understand and feel for your situation.. I'm finishing up my bachelors degree and it's completely on student loans which I'm going to have to pay back.... I'm really hoping that by the time I'm done school the economy will be better and I'll be able to get a decent job... but if not.. I'm going to be totally fucked. Thankfully my bf got a job with the company I used to work for and he's able to pay all the bills right now... but for awhile there we were barely getting by....

I know what it's like to have to choose between food and bills... I'm usually the one who paid my bills before I put food on the table. I remember eating ramen a LOT because it was all I could afford at 79cents a bag.

I'm the 99% as well.

Critterblogs said...

Hugs to you. I read a study by an economist that said something that really scared the crap out of me about how people who graduate college into bad economies never really "catch up" in terms of career and salary to their counterparts who graduated into better economies. That really struck me. I'm lucky to have a decent day job now, but it ends this winter. It seems like jobs in general are a lot more unstable now--either they are short term like my current one or you never know when the rug will be pulled out from under you and the whole place will go under (I've worked at fairly large companies that just collapsed rapidly).

Satan said...

thanks so much, girls.

critterblogs, i feel ya. i read the same thing, and i am also terrified of never catching up, never making a good income, never being able to afford a house, never being able to escape the cycle of debt.

Critterblogs said...

Health insurance...eek. That's one of the scariest things about my job ending. When I graduated from college, I basically couldn't get individual health insurance because, even though I was a healthy, fit, 21 year old non-smoker with no pre-existings, I had been hospitalized twice. Once for bacterial food poisoning acquired at a restaurant where 20 other people got hospitalized, and once because I was drugged at a party.

holli said...

I'm so sorry things are tough on you. I live in fear too often about job security. We just had layoffs again and let go of 2 people on my work team. One guy had been with company 22 years. Sucks!! I will pray for you and I do mean that.

Lilscorpiosweetie said...

Me too chicky ... me too.

I do have a job but my check goes to bills and keeping my tank full so I can make it to work.

The shitty part is I ended up sick and had to take off from work. I just barely started.This is my third week come Monday.

I would say you could always move up here and come work with me since they seem to be hiring anyone and everyone. It's not glamorous but its a job.

I feel your pain too and I worry about stuff like that too. I worry I won't be able to live my dreams of traveling and being financially comfortable. I hate living paycheck to paycheck and the hit and miss of how my relationships seem to be anymore.

I too am the 99%.