Yesterday I wrote a post about turning desperation into inspiration. It was actually a watered down version of what I originally wrote and then edited away thinking as I pressed delete that I had no right to sit on my comfy couch, in a home that I had little fear of losing, with plenty to eat and thanks to the NHS, no worries about my healthcare needs, and talk about what I thought people should be doing to change their thinking, and their lives.
I felt so safe compared to those who actually inspired the post that I honed it to the bone and took out all the personal references to myself and my family and sent out a shadow of what it once was to my readers.
It never felt finished and I debated back and forth as to whether I might take it down altogether until I read this piece by Caitlin Kelly.
Somehow she managed to say what I could not and it’s so much of what I was thinking that I can’t help but wonder if there’s some great cosmic thread that runs through our thoughts.
About an hour ago I received a ping back that led me to her site letting me see that she had linked to my post from yesterday. After reading her post ‘Break The Rules Already!’ I found the courage to come back and complete my own.
So much of what she said was similar to what running through my head, but I didn’t feel entitled to say. I wasn’t brave enough to put it out there because my life bears no resemblance now to those I was really writing it for.
My post was intended for the ‘We Are the 99 Percent’ folks whose faces and stories stayed with me long after seeing them posted by friends on Facebook.
I felt so bad reading about their daily desperation and lack of hope that I began to hide them … clicking them away on Facebook while feeling almost guilty as my life feels so luscious and good now.
I didn’t want to talk about the poor years, the public housing, or free government cheese that I remember as a small child.
I didn’t want to talk joining the Army so I could take care of myself or not wanting to burden my dad and step-mom with my education when they had a four-year old at home.
I didn’t want to talk about how many jobs I worked after the army to get through college or how I passed on things I would have enjoyed like football games and anything else that cost money or took hours away that needed to be spent working.
I didn’t want to mention the debt that came from an uninsured accidental pregnancy and how many years it took to pay that off while paying off student loans or the melanoma that grew because I couldn’t afford to have a suspect mole removed when was still just a suspicious spot that would later grow into cancer.
I didn’t want to talk about when my five year-old daughter and I lived in a house with a hole in the roof large enough that the rain poured in so fast it would fill a five gallon container and spill over to the floor too quickly to empty it.
I didn’t want to talk about when we lived on a $100 dollars a week.
It’s hard to say I’ve been there when you’re not anymore and someone else still is. It’s even tougher to say, ‘This is a chance to find a new way’ when all people can talk about are the old ones that no longer work.
Reading the stories of all who are struggling makes me want to shout … don’t give up, find another way, find each other, come together, rethink what you know and begin again!
When the roof let water into the only home we had and the cost to repair exceeded my ability to pay, I climbed into the attic and built a drainage system to divert the water outside before it could spill through the ceiling below. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.
I had no carpentry skills and no background on drainage systems or roof repair, but I had a need and I had imagination.
That’s what I wanted to say yesterday, but didn’t.
Such a great, inspiring post. I can understand the difficulty in writing such a post and you’ve done it well. x All the best x
Honest, brave and very moving, Elizabeth … never be afraid to post stuff like this.
It is positive and gives many others who are still struggling inspiration and hope …
Beautiful post. Thank you for adding this–and for the links!
powerful and inspiring post. thank you for “saying” what is really on your heart. truly motivational.
Great article Elizabeth and thank you for the link to the other article as well.There are many of us who are underemployed and really hustling to find any means to turn our skills into jobs. The most frustrating thing is that our divided government doesn’t really seem to care….or they care more about politics than doing the job they were elected to.
I like this post better 🙂
You said it from the heart, and it touched mine, thank you E x
It is hard to write a post like the one you did. I applaud you for doing so. You shouldn’t feel guity in the least about your success story. The sad truth is most who are suffering now don’t want to hear your story and how to learn from it to change their own life. They (I am generalizing here) want to be handed the money (or insurance or whatever it is) on a silver platter. For me, the difference between your life then and the people of today (again generalizing) is you WORKED HARD for your changes. You didn’t expect someone (a family member) or something (the government) to come along and give you money to get you out of the situation you were in. You thought long and hard about what could give you a better life and how to get there, all the while relying on yourself, your intelligence and your motivation. AND the biggest difference is you understood that there was things you would have to do without to get you to that safe and secure place. I think a lot of people don’t want to do with out (and that is why they are in the predicament they are in). Again, good job on everything you have accomplished in your life. You should be proud.
I’m glad your courage came to you in your moment of need. xx.
I think many of us have stories to tell of hardship and of times painful to remember. For some, that time is now, hounded by the fear that acting is simply too late make good what we have not done well in our lives.
May all of us find our courage when we need it, and allow ourselves and our spirits a little rest in good times. We have to replenish the reserves of courage by allowing good things to happen, and be enjoyed, too.
Great post! Sometimes seeing what other people have went through (or are going through) really puts things into perspective. I have had struggles in my life but they are nothing compared to what other people have went through. You must be a very strong person!
You are enriching my life with your posts, especially this one. The smile on your face has always been refreshing. Now it’s also inspiring. Thank you, friend.
I’ve had a few distractions of late, and had heard rumblings about protests on Wall Street. I’m ashamed to admit, I had no idea what was going on. Thank you for this post and the link to the 99% website. Powerful, overwhelming stories. Yours seems important because it shows that the hard times aren’t necessarily the ending.
In catching up after a little time away from the computer, it’s fun to see your pictures of Cornwall. It felt like a mini vacation. Thanks!
Thanks much for the link!
I’ve also survived a lot, less financial desperation than a lot of drama and trauma thanks to my family that was distracting and expensive and, being an only child, fell into my lap alone. It shaped me as yours did. But I’ve also had years of wondering where or how I would be able to pay my bills (I always did), hanging on very, very hard to the cliff. My life, too, is better now, but I am enraged by the callousness I see toward people of all ages who have, in fact, tried their best for years — to get an education, pay their bills, feed their kids — and cannot, no matter what, get ahead. It is obscene and I am delighted to see the public outrage at last. One can be polite and measured or loud and aggressive about it, but it is happening and we need to face it.
You know what? People neeeeeed to hear this sort of truth. I often feel so blessed now, too. And I’m sure people wouldn’t believe where I came from. But because I DID come from a hard place, I can speak to what many can not. So can you, and you came through it and over it, and so your voice is needed. Speak!