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.