When I started this blog, I had the best intentions of blogging every day and I intentionally created this blog anonymously so I wouldn’t feel the pressure to always put a positive spin on things – so that here at least I could say what’s really on my mind, even if I can’t always say it here, in my real world.
The past couple of weeks have been rough and I haven’t wanted to blog about them, in part because I didn’t want to come across as depressed. And in part, I suspect, because I didn’t (and don’t) want to deal with my own emotions either but as my stress-levels skyrocketed this week I realized that I did create this space for myself so I could talk about what’s going on for me. Well. A lot of that might not be so pretty. But, I’m going to keep trying to talk about it. To put it out there and say it, because I need to say it and because I believe that we may not come to an agreement on it in the end but we are better for having discussed it in the first place.
It’s easy to be mean and it’s easy to criticize. What’s hard is trying to make our way in complicated times. What’s hard is trying to support one another in the face of differing opinions because what we have in common is so much more than a few differing opinions. What’s hard is being honest and being open. Open to change, open to possibilities, open to new ideas.
For us, these last two weeks have seen more casts for Charlie, more sleepless nights, a new brace, and now limping because of the new brace. On the news we’ve seen children shot, a chemical-laden “meat product” (aka “pink goo”) has been added to the lunch menu in schools nationwide, speculation grows about the formation of a new economic bubble (college loans this time – yet another aspect of the american dream) that will be the next big thing thought to threaten our economy, this crazy election just keeps getting more and more strange and most of it is being taken out on the backs of women and, as my savings dwindles, there is not even a glimmer of a job interview for me on the horizon.
What’s got me going today is that I just read an article about an increasing number of after-school programs that are starting to offer dinners to kids whose families can’t afford to feed them and although the article was meant to be a positive note in an otherwise negative line-up of educational news, it nonetheless brought me to tears. These programs are giving kids cold sandwiches for dinner.
What’s behind my tears isn’t the cold sandwiches, or even the gratitude I imagine the recipients feel for the meal — but the need for it in the first place. What on earth is going on and why does it seem like nobody sees it?
I keep reading news articles about how the economy is improving and now, great news! In the area where I live unemployment is down to just below 15%. That it’s down from the nearly 20% it was is a huge improvement but let’s not talk down to the folks here and let’s don’t kid ourselves — an unemployment rate of nearly 15% is not good news. If I don’t get a job soon it will be me signing my kid up for those school dinner programs. Will I be grateful? Absolutely. And I will also be outraged because I have a degree from one of the top universities in this country, I want to work, and I still can’t find a damn job.
Thank goodness that the schools are stepping up and putting food in the bellies of these kids but how much does it bother you that our schools need to do this in the first place? And why is that our schools, that are having enough trouble just buying paper to print assignments on, are now tasked with feeding a growing population of kids whose families cannot afford to feed them at home?
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have answers to these questions. Worse, I haven’t heard anyone who does; I think most of us are just here, treading water as best we can and hoping that one day soon this flood will recede and we’ll find ourselves back on dry land again.
The only thing I can offer is that we talk about it. As hard as it may be and as likely as it is that people will just point fingers at us and blame us for our own suffering, we can refuse to look away from these problems and we can talk about them with the hope that, even if we can’t change the world, maybe someone will hear what we have to say and then maybe they won’t feel so alone.