A rather depressing state

dust-cloud-593091_1920Recently I have been learning a great deal about the American Great Depression of the 1920’s and 30’s.  My grandparents were children during this period and it echoed throughout the rest of their lives. The more I learn the more I wonder if we aren’t heading for another one.

I know, I know, the politicians tell us that the depression of the past few years is over. However, it is an election year so they will say that. It also gives them an easy platforms to preach from because so many voters need similar things right now.

I don’t usually get into political topics because I don’t have the time or patience to make sure the boiling pot doesn’t boil over. I will make some observations though, because I see parallels between what I have been learning and what is going on today. I hear and read people constantly putting down and insulting those on welfare. Many of those programs came to be during the depression era. In pictures, I see the shame on the faces of the adults warring with relief as they wait in commodities lines for food to feed their families. These were people that were proud to worked hard. But at that time it didn’t matter how much they sweated in the fields or pounded the pavement in search of work. The rewards for diligence simply were not there.

Today I think if people look close they will see that same warring shame and weary relief on many of the faces of welfare today. True you still have those that abuse the system and see it as cart to carry them, rather than the hand up to help them stand it is supposed to be. Those aren’t the people the programs were created for.

The politicians will tell you that unemployment has gone down over the past few years. They will tell you hundreds of new jobs have opened up. What they don’t tell you is that many jobs that used to exist have vanished and many of the new positions are part time. With the health care reform acts many companies have been forced to provide insurance for their full time employees. This sounds like a good thing on paper.

However, insurance companies are being forced to accept new rules too. Since no one wants a drop in profits, they raise rates and adjust things here and there to keep their margins where they want it. The companies, who may not have a problem with the idea of helping their employees with health insurance, also don’t want profits to drop so they stop hiring full time employees and find insurance companies who offer lower prices for less coverage. The letter of the law is met and the bottom line protected even as the out of pocket cost rises for the average worker.

Everyone is required to have insurance or be fined, but few can find full time positions. Those lucky few that do, find that the hours they work are just barely enough to qualify as full time. Their take home pay is gouged severely by insurance premiums, taxes, stagnate wages, and minimum hours. Many work two or three part time jobs but still only bring home hardly enough to cover the basic bills.

Some of these employees apply for welfare from the over loaded system. They are working hard but it isn’t enough to both keep the rent paid and feed hungry mouths, much like the dust bowl farmers of the 30’s.  Others tighten already tighten belts until their ribs crack. Morale drops even as stubborn determination sets in. Families suffer under stress. Many are single parent homes, where the parent has to work several jobs and the kids go unattended. The choice these people must make is, Do I want to spend time with my children? Or do I want to feed them?

All of this means that the idea of “disposable income” is a joke. Sure those with the bonuses can buy the new car, house, or bass boat. But the backbone of the working class cannot. Most of them can’t even afford new shoes for aching feet.

The retail worker, the server, the cashier, the teacher,…the list goes on, these people are struggle financially. No one looks too close however. Even those fighting don’t really want to know how close to the edge they are.

If this routine continues, like an inflatable raft with a leak, the economy will eventually sink. The middle class that is supposed to blow air into the nozzle to keep it afloat can’t breath any more. And like dustbowl farmers before the droughts, the big money makers keep trying to increase their crops even though few are buying.

Eventually it will all turn to dust.

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Guilty Blues

It is Monday again. My daughter goes back to school today after  being off for Winter break. Both of us are dragging our feet to get her there. Winter has finally arrived here in the Southern United States. It took a while. It may be chilly out right now but a few days ago I was comfortable on the porch in just a t-shirt and jeans.

Yesterday I divided my time into: feeling bad because my boss was sick and I couldn’t come in to work because my usual babysitter was AWOL; wondering why my parents weren’t answering their phone; feeling guilty because I felt the tiniest bit of relief that I wasn’t able to go to work because I couldn’t find a babysitter; and working on a story for my niece.

Today I still feel guilty because I was unable to go into work. This is the reason I never skipped school as a kid. The guilt eats at me. I never want to face droves of customers even on my regular shifts. I shouldn’t feel guilty because I felt relief at not facing them on a day off. But I let my boss down so I do.

This is the circle of self disappointment that has been swimming around and around my brain since the second or third time I failed to reach my mom. Yeah, I know. It’s dumb. Welcome to anxiety  depression. You obsess about things sometimes.

A Monday For Facing Fears

Hello. It is Monday again. The sky is overcast and the grass is still damp with dew. I have been up for a bit but I am just now sitting down to write this. I have been stalling.

You see, if I sit down and write a blog post that means it is really Monday. This Monday. The Monday where I once again have to do something that I don’t really want to do because it scares me a little.

Now before any of you get ideas of doctor appointments or tightrope walking into your heads, it really isn’t that big of a deal to the rest of the world. Once I go and get things over with it won’t seem like a big deal to me either. It is the time before I actually step out of my door that is the worst.

I have to go out into the world and adult today. Yes adult can be used as a verb. If you don’t think so, just wait. One day you will do a thing and it will be something that is necessary but not really something you want to do. In fact you would probably like to avoid that thing all together. However, you will take a deep breath and do it anyway. That is adulting. (In some cases “adulting” can be not doing a thing you do really want to do.)

I have to put on my adult costume and go pretend to be something I’m not. I am an adult. I have bills, pets, kids, laundry and everything. It all gets paid, fed, or washed. But to the rest of the world I get the feeling that I am just not quite adult enough. I have to go confront the local school board over my son today. I may even be home schooling before the day is out.

(Summary of the issue is that they want my social anxiety afflicted son to move schools during his last year of primary because he is not zoned for the school he has attended since kindergarten. Makes sense except for the fact he has never been zoned for that school but it hasn’t been a problem until now.)

Sometimes I feel I have to over adult because once someone in power find out I am a single mom, for some reason my adult meter drops. I watch it happen. There is this little smirk that comes up in the corner of their mouths and their eyes say “Oh, that’s what we are dealing with.”

If they find out I am pursuing the dream of being a writer the meter drops even more. It is like I am a little kid dressed up in her mom’s shoes and no longer have to be taken seriously. I hate, hate, hate being humored or patronized. If you are going to look down on me at least do it in a way that gives me a chance to fight back.

I am not on welfare. I am paying my own mortgage. I work 72 hours in one week, then come home and do all the other stuff people have to do and be mom.  (Okay my incredibly wonderful mother helps me out with some of that.) Then I write because I am a writer. I can and I will pursue that dream. Just because I happen to not have a mate does not mean I have to give up on everything and go wallow in how hard life is.

I even have a freaking vegetable garden in the back yard! If anything I feel like they should be taking me more serious or at least trying help me out a little. But that is not the way it goes. Instead I am silently put into a stereotype box and anything I say from that point on will be viewed wearing shades colored by that box.

It is incredibly frustrating and I don’t like confrontation to begin with. Writing it all out here has helped. I don’t feel so uneasy now. I am going to go forth into battle before my courage fades. Wish me luck.

Down in the clover

It is seven o’clock in the evening as I sit writing this. It is warm outside with a nice breeze blowing. I sat on the back porch for a little while watching the clover dance in the wind and the black and yellow bees hop from the white flowers that rose out of the sea of green leaves. They looked like farmers picking cotton or tomatoes.bee1

The bees only stayed a moment at each flower and three of them were spread out in sort of a lopsided triangle. They all made their way through the clover patch at the same speed and in the same direction; but there was always one bee out front while the other two were back and to the side.

I feel a bit melancholy at the moment. I was hoping sitting outside would help. However, as I sat on the steps I was accosted by a door to door sales man attempting to sell me faster internet service. I politely listened to him, just because I could, then took his information before passing back a business card of my own. I mean why waste a chance to gain a new reader? If they are going to try to sell me something then turn about is fair play.

I am still feeling a bit down. The wind, clover, bees, and chatty salesman didn’t change that. The depression monster has walloped me good and I think I will just lay here a minute. I will get back up. I will continue to fight. But for now I will just take deep breaths and watch the bees in the clover a bit more.

Breathing past the anxiety demon

Happy Monday everybody. I am sitting at my computer this morning watching the sun throw tree shadows against the neighbor’s house as it climbs up out of it’s Eastern bed. My house is quiet because the kids are at school and the cats are asleep.

It should be peaceful. Unfortunately I am doing battle with that inner demon called anxiety today. I’ve been having problems with it since Friday. Standing in the cold in the middle of a crowd on Saturday didn’t help matters, but it was the Christmas Parade and my daughter was walking in it.

Depression keeps wanting to kick me too. Anxiety and Depression kind of go hand in hand for me. I get frustrated with myself for the panic and jittery feelings bubbling up inside and then I get depressed because I want to just ignore it and move on with life. I have things to do. I don’t have time to fall down that winding stairway of panic.

To combat my demons I have Christmas music playing and I plan on digging out decorations for the porch later. I also need to mail out the Christmas Cards for Addie we made yesterday. I try to focus on good things.

As long I as I keep moving forward the battle against my anxiety won’t get too out of hand. It is when I sit down and let it overcome me that things get bad. Funny how the easiest way to beat down my inner demons is just to recognize they are there and then breath past them. It is still a fight, even if it isn’t a bloody one. Writing it out helps too.

A word about depression

I woke up this morning from nightmares. As I lay there watching the shadows cast by the labyrinth-handsfan and what little light shone under the door, I came to a revelation. I have been depressed.

I have anxiety depression. I know this. It is a fact of life. I take a little blue pill every morning after breakfast to help with it. Yet I still fall into that quagmire of dingy gray without realizing it. The world loses color, I sleep too much, and everyday activities take a herculean amount of effort.

Looking back I can kind of notice where the slide began this time. The multiple days of rain haven’t help matters either. Neither has sinus trouble and a sick child.

The ascent out of my gray world began yesterday when I sat on the porch for an hour and read the newspaper. (You would think that reading tales of drug dealers and politicians would make me more depressed.) That one hour out of the house and in the sunshine did something.

I am sure it had something to do with vitamin levels and such. But I prefer to think that a bit of that sunlight managed to trickle down to me where I was trapped and wrapped in gray bindings. That while I slept last night I was able to use that trickle of sunlight as a rope to climb up.

I am not completely out of the hole yet but I can see top. And from where I am in my climb I can look back on that dingy gray world and say: Oh. I was depressed. 

 

Depression and ink pens

When I get depressed I buy office supplies.  I don’t know why.  I just do.  A few minutes ago I purchased return address labels.

Will I use them?  Yes, probably.  Did I need them? Probably not.

I go back to work tonight so that means for the next seven days I will get little or no writing done.  The problem is the past seven days I had off, I got little to no writing done.  That’s what has me down.  Really its nothing new.  I often hit lows like this, I think a lot of writers do.  It’s that moment in time where you start to question yourself.

This week my son had the flu.  This week I had my birthday.  (I’m not saying which one.)  This week I was attacked by a thousand things left undone while I played doctor mom.  So when I finally got time to write I was so exhausted I couldn’t spell my own name let alone form coherent sentences.

I still haven’t heard from any of my beta readers.  As of last week none of them had found the time to start my book.  This leaves me in limbo with that particular novel.  Also my Scifi novel is almost ready to go to my betas but I can’t send it to them until they are finished with the Fantasy novel.  I am attempting to find a few new betas but my problem is that I don’t trust the opinions of my back-up betas as much as I trust my current crew.

I have one artist that asks just the right questions,  one sister-in-law who is a born editor, and one good friend who is also a writer.  They are the best beta readers I could ask for…when they don’t have other distractions or obligations.

Admittedly, I am impatient.  However, this is my brand new baby that I handed over to them. No one else has seen it yet.

My woe begone thoughts make question my writing ability.  I mean how awesome can I really be if my friends aren’t interested in reading my stuff?  I realize that life gets in the way, but part of me (the arrogant selfish part) thinks that my words should be so entertaining that people should drop everything and read my book right now.

Then the circular logic starts. If I can’t display the patience necessary does that mean I’m not really a good writer?  If I go a few days without writing does that mean I am not a writer?  Have I just deluded myself that I am good at this whole writing thing just because I want to be so badly?     It’s that dragon of self doubt raising its fanged maul again.

I am a writer. Why?  Because I don’t give up.