Tag Archives: poverty

Winter’s Black Hole

I’ve been debating with myself about what to say on here.  I’ve been asking myself how to address the election, how to address steps that I am taking with my writing, how to say something meaningful.  Instead, I feel my days slipping past in a sort of wallowing selfishness.  I tell myself that I will write this blog post and instead I spiral down the YouTube rabbit hole.  Sometimes, I distract myself with reading, yoga, a hot bath.

Other times, I stare out the window at the snow, my bleak antagonist.  I hate winter.  The gray days feel profoundly miserable.  This morning, the snow was gone and the sun was out (albeit weakly).  I felt better, told myself that I would get ready and go out.  Do something with my day off.  By mid-afternoon it was snowing again and sunless.  I looked outside and wondered what would happen if I just sealed my door and didn’t make a move until the sun came back and the snow once again melted.  I frantically checked the weather report.  How long until I can feel a sense of hope?  But I knew that I was catsitting and had to leave and I know that tomorrow I will need to go to work.  Giving up is not really an option.  The snow feels claustrophobic and I miss days on the beach, nights lying in the grass.

Does this seem melodramatic?  It does to me.  It also feels true.  Abstractly, I know that seasonal depression is real.  I also know that seasons pass and given the sunshine and lack of snow this morning, such a day may not be far off.  I also know that eventually, spring comes back and, like Lazarus, I am up again.

When I try to suggest that it feels hard, forbidding, I am often told sarcastically, “You live in Michigan. Get used to it or move.”  Of course, this answer does not account for the poverty that I experience.  I could leave, but I would be homeless.  Moving would require savings, a job in the new place, an ability to acquire housing because I had such a job.  (And before you say it, I HAVE my education.  I have a master’s degree.  In fact, I have almost two of them.  So.  Don’t peddle me your easy answers.)  It also doesn’t take into consideration that I would need the emotional capacity to blow off every person that I know and go it alone.  In short, it feels like a suicide mission.

Instead, I am still here.  I am writing to you to say that it is hard and bleak.  Some days, I fake it so well.  You might never guess.  I see you and I smile.  “I’m great.  How are you?”  It’s nothing short of a miracle to hide so much darkness.  I wait it out.  I blot it out.  There were better days behind me, there are better days before me.

I wanted to tell you something meaningful.  I meant to say something uplifting.  Instead, I passively wait and ask you to wait too.  It’s the only way I know.  Inside of it all, there are tiny moments when it all feels okay.  I note them, an oddity.

Start with the Question, the Complaint, the Dissatisfied Ramble

I want to throw out everything I own.  I want to build a ramshackle cabin in the woods and live in it.  I want to quit every job and not take another and just write.  Do you know how hard it is to write when all you do is work at jobs that somehow leave you poorer than you started?

I am tired.  I am frustrated.  I can’t tell you how deep it goes without unleashing a bitter and fruitless rant.  My best energies fall to waste; my best talents are obscured.  My money that I work and work for pays the rent of a shit apartment and little else.  It is difficult to make time for loved ones.  The more hours that I clock in, the less that I have to show for the time spent.

What am I doing?  How do I make it better?  When I die, what will have mattered?  What can I do that will not have been in vain?

I want to tell you that it is fine to feel this way, but I am not sure that it is fine.  I am not sure that I should be ignoring the huge, visceral instinct to stop wasting my time.   It seems like we are encouraged to think that any and all work is of value just because we put our energy into it.  I have my doubts.

What if I opted out of capitalism?  What if I opted out of rules?

Perhaps this sounds like useless dreaming–a ramble about a magical world that is not real.  What I know is this:  my body, my spirit and my mind have needs.  I cannot care for myself without giving them time and attention, but to have food and shelter I am expected to spend every waking moment “earning” them.  I would rather learn to make them myself.  I would rather ask for nothing.

I want this life on my own terms.  I want and want and want.  I have no answers.