Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More than Materialism; Joblessness' Battle for the Soul

As I enter another week of joblessness, I face the wall
once again. That ever-growing, ever-intensified, ever-
unscalable wall of lowered self-worth and lessened
masculinity. At least, in my despair-mind, which threatens
to overtake me.

I know well the dangers of attaching one's identity and
well-being to specific circumstances; after all, any job can
end, as can a person's ability to do specific jobs. But this
lack of work is far more than economic suicide. It's eating
my soul.

I must remember;
"Happiness is Choice, not Chance." My joy is established
by a lifestyle choice, not life giving me what I wish. I know,
too, that how I perceive and respond to things makes a huge
difference in how things go.

Idle hands, idle mind, lacking purpose, lacking interaction,
loss of schedule, loss of self-sufficiency...these are not
minor things. I do my best to keep busy with tasks and
staying connected--in addition to continuing to search for
and create any and every income opportunity possible--
but the nagging thought is that I do not earn my way and
I continue to circle the drain.

I need to remember there's more to life than material goods.
That I am a champion despite the world's view on anything.
I can't take it personally.
I must know that I am stronger than I realize; that I can and
must push through this wall. This is my defining time.

As I seem less able to hold on to what I have, I descend
into the Nether Regions, where people no longer invite you
to be around them, worried for the poverty cooties and
general depressiveness they assume will accompany the
stories you must have to tell. I don't blame them; we stick
to what we know. there's a discomfort, too, with people
not knowing what to say...or feeling like there's an expectation
of 'help' from them.

Visiting with a poor person is sort of like a visit to a nursing
home; a horrible downer that keeps you watching the clock
and feeling guilty.

No eating out. No movies. No TV. No phone. No Internet.
No gas for travel for necessity or pleasure. Those seem like
trivial matters--until there's no longer the freedom to do them
at will. Being disconnected is not a pleasant experience.

You drop in prominence and significance. You can pretend
 it doesn't matter--get your stiff upper lip starched--but in the
end, it chafes. No matter how resilient or independent we are,
there is a basic need in all of us to feel like a part of something.
A desire to belong.

You can resolve to be wealthy no matter what, but to what end?
That you will do whatever it takes to succeed? I could have
broken the law many times over and be in charge of my life; no
longer have need to worry. What does morality offer me at the
end of the day? What good is peace of mind when my toes are
frozen and my stomach is growling? What good are platitudes
when I am isolated in my home, losing it?

But all i have left is who I am. Is my sense of soul worth something
if I die as a result of neglect? It's too much for my mind to balance

But you can get used to the cold. You get used to hunger. You get
used to loneliness and no one to talk to. You get used to sore feet.
You get used to anything you have to get used to. Life is what it is.
You buck up; stop feeling pain, stop seeing limits, stop complaining,
stop waiting for miracles, stop worrying, learn to live without and
focus on what you do have.

You learn your true value. You learn to fight. You learn to see
what's important. You learn to make do and reassess.You learn to
develop a self-sufficiency and survival instinct that nobody can take.

Self-pity? You bet your sweet ass. Somebody has to feel for me.
The government doesn't care. The town I'm in has no resources.
There are no jobs. There are no programs. There are no funds.
I don't want charity--I want to be able to pull my way. I want to be
a man. I want to have purpose. I want to have my voice heard.
I want to matter, like anyone else on the planet.

I don't want to just slip away into nothingness and longer.

I'm tired of going places I don't care to go to get free food.
I'm tired of leftovers that are unhealthy for my dietary needs.
I'm sick of people assuming my laziness and apathy is at the core of
my unemployment. I'm sick of all my good being overlooked with
that wince of summary disappointment expressed when people find
out I don't have a job.

There are no illusions; you find out quickly who your real friends
are. You find out what people are made of. I can remember that
I am my own best friend, that no person is dependable anyway, that
I can enjoy my own company, and I can find new acquaintances
who better relate to my circumstances. Problem solved.

I dislike having shoes that are falling apart. That have to be painted
to keep them from being as obviously dirty and decrepit. I dislike
wearing stained clothing because I can't afford either stain remover or
new/used clothes. I hate that I have to beg for help to feed my animals,
and that the only option there seems to be for their being better off is
being put to sleep, as no one is looking for more mouths to feed.

But still I rise, and do what needs doing, assuming a better day,
and making the most out of the one that's here. bitterness affords me
nothing except soul sickness, and my soul is the last valuable I own.

I'm fortunate enough to have shoes, feet that work and can carry me,
my mobility, a life of any kind, a sufficiency of things here and now,
a mind that works, access to a library and computer, and so on.
Things are not nearly as bad as I make them out. Perspective.

I do affirmations and positive thinking and ask everyone I meet
about work, and I have joined club after group after church seeking a
means of the necessary networking required to get any work.

Beyond understanding, beyond known opportunities, beyond the
knowledge I possess or that I have sought out.......I continue doing
what I can and feel compelled to do but 'slowing the sinking' does not
feel much like progress. There are days when merely surviving does
not have the appeal I would like it to.

The worst of it? There is no tangible threat to wrap my hands around.
No one or thing to oppose. I truly understand how some have gotten on
the anti-government bandwagon; it helps to have a viable scapegoat to
be the target of angst and despair, even if it changes nothing. Having an
outlet is very cathartic in some ways.

Should the government do more? Probably. What can be done? I
don't know. The mess is so large and so unmanageable that it defies
quick fixes. It's my responsibility to look out for myself; that's what
everyone who isn't in this bind thinks. The outlook only changes
when they themselves are found in this situation. But then it's too late,
because the disenfranchised and the penniless have no pull.

A friend says "Those that would, can't...and those that can, won't."
It pretty well summarizes how people in the world operate. Those
with the least to offer are most generous, it seems. Knowing how
it is makes people more responsive, I guess. A cynic would say that
'giving it all away' in the name of brotherhood is what keeps us poor.
But poverty is a mental affliction, and I am not impoverished.

I can be a king even living in a van. I am a master on the streets.
I am unafraid. I am powerful. I am a survivor. I am free.
There's a sense of invisibility at the bottom. A sense of total humility
as your identity is stripped bare and you realize that the world will
most definitely go on without a hiccup upon your demise. Hell, it
doesn't much seem to need me now. The only one my life truly
matters to is me, and that makes my job as head cheerleader and
mud hole stomper all that much more important.

I'm going to throw my beret in the air and let the world know,
"I'm gonna make it after all."

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