“There is something to be found in what we have lost.” — Mastin Kipp
Admission: Lately, I’ve felt really lost. I haven’t wanted to write about the realities of my life because I felt like it was a reflection on me: a mirror of failure. More importantly, I didn’t want to be candid and receive advice or worse yet, judgment.
I don’t want to be fixed. I want to be loved.
Lost and wrapped in fear, I haven’t written. If I can’t write about the realities of my life how can I write about anything?
I began to realize that maybe writing about what I lack, what’s wrong and the specific challenges I face, might be the most meaningful writing I’ll ever do. There might be other people like me who don’t want to feel isolated and alone. My being honest might be a gift to some one, a gift so valuable that it’s worth risking criticism.
So, here goes.
Once again, we are in foreclosure. At some point, we will lose our home. At this time, we do not have an alternative. I don’t take home enough to qualify for an apartment. Our credit is abysmal and it’s been over 3 years since I put our name on the local low-income housing authorities list. We have yet to be notified of any openings. We have and do follow up.
Given the current condition of our home, living in the van might be a healthier alternative. A leak under the kitchen sink is ruining the floor in two rooms. We’ve witnessed some pretty weird fungus growing out of our carpet. It looks positively other worldly but smells like old rotten potatoes. I haven’t opened the cabinet doors hiding the “zone of destruction” under said sink because I don’t want to get a visual on what we are breathing in on a daily basis. I can’t close a door on the stuff growing in the carpet. (Insert full body shudder here.)
Having dry weather this winter has been a blessing. It keeps some of the mold down. When it does rain, their are two leaks in the living room that require buckets to collect the rain water. We use old tee-shirts in the bottom of the bucket to soften the staccato of the rain.
Meanwhile, we pretend to be middle-class, which is pretty hard to do when you are really living way below the Federal Poverty level. Almost daily, I hear some one make a flippant remark about poor people and if they’d only get a job, or stop expecting hand outs or. . . .It gets really old. My opinion is a poor one. My perspective is even poorer. I rarely object although I have perfected a look that should at least burn someone with my invisible psychic mind laser. Not one of my victims has ever reported this, however, and I’m too ashamed to ask if they felt the burn. But, I can hope.
I know I’m not really a loser but I some times feel like one. I have a job. I harvest what I can from our years of accumulation and from forays into thrift stores and sell it on eBay or Etsy for a small profit. I’m a Mary Kay Consultant. I have three jobs right now. Yet, I have to keep looking for a job that pays more because three jobs aren’t enough. I’m a veritable wizard with the stretching of a dollar but you do have to have enough dollars to stretch or things starts snapping like the elastic in my aged underwear.
The fact that there is no safety net in my life, nothing to catch us when we finally fall, actually terrifies me. Almost every night I dream about losing our home and having no where to go. When this all started, there were times when I couldn’t hold back the tears at the thought of losing our home, a home I’d grown to love. I’ve had several years to get used to the idea. I know there will be tears ahead but I have had a long time to process this, to live with panic, to live with impending loss, to struggle, to lose.
Last weekend, I finally hatched a plan. It came to me suddenly upon awakening after another night of being a nomad in my dreams: I need to find an old motor home, one that is drivable and livable and find a RV campground nearby so that we’ll have a place to sleep, a hot plate to cook Top Ramen on, and a roof over our heads when the time comes. Just how I’m going to do all this, has yet to be determined. Lately, the Universe/God/Higher Power/the Force hasn’t seemed to be cooperating but this is the best plan I have at the moment and common sense is telling me I’ve got to aim for something.
Between that alien mold life form stuff, judgments from and by the clueless, and the exhaustion of working hard and gaining so little, life is hard. After the pain of disappointment sloughed off, I have been more than a little angry. Poor and angry is not an attractive combination. Poor, angry and depressed is down right ugly.
Imagine how vexing it is to begin to accept that maybe all this resistance is futile and that instead of feeling like a victim in a ridiculous melodrama maybe all this is an opportunity. At first glance, seeing all “this as an opportunity” feels as crazy or crazier than that psychic mind laser.
Up until now, I’ve felt like I’ve been tied to the bumper on the car of called “Life”. (This is one old and ugly car. Some one has glued a bunch of scary gargoyles to this hideous ride and spray painted it to look like Predator just vomited jungle all over it.) We’re not on the smooth highway. I’ve got the gravel in my thighs to prove it. This has got to stop. . I have to get in the driver’s seat, metaphorically and literally. Gravel thighs aren’t good for any one especially an elderly, overweight woman who has been careering after the Predator mobile. Please forgive my digression. A vivid imagination is one of the few rich things about me. That and character!
Between now and 3 minutes from now, I’ll probably cycle through a lot of emotions ranging from despair, panic, to zen-like serenity. Most of these emotions will arise from the fertile ground of my thoughts and not an actual reality in that moment. I guarantee you that in the next 3 minutes, we won’t be evicted and all the worry, panic and despair will only rob me of more serenity. I’ve known a lot of worriers in my life and I spend a fair amount of time being one but the only thing it has ever gained me is high blood pressure and a stomach ache that’s lasted 45 years.
It’s time to take a stand. To be perfectly clear, I’m going to repeat what I want from life and from the people I choose to share my life with:
I don’t want to be fixed. I want to be loved.
“There is something to be found in what is lost.” It’s time to rise to the occasion. This is my life: poor, raw, messy, moldy, and yet, interesting, challenging, full of blessings which are some times so well hidden, they are almost impossible to find. If any one can find them, I can. Once lost, I am beginning to find my way.