Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Well, it's time for confession. Let me warn you today won't be inspiring, insightful or entertaining. I start with the good: Yesterday I took a day off from blogging and blog hopping. Instead, I worked in the library and enjoyed my day off with my guy. As much as I like you all, I love my guy. He doesn't always want to share me. So yesterday, I gave up the net.

Now what's bugging me: the economy. We don't talk about it much on our blogs and why would we? In social communities, we can focus on what we enjoy. We can avoid politics, world issues, religion and any other topic that could make for uncomfortable discussions. Really, who wants to talk about the economy especially if we are affected? Well, sometimes I need to talk about uncomfortable stuff.

I've shared with you all before that I'm blue collar. For those who don't know, I live in Michigan. You can't not see evidence of the crisis here and even harder not to be affected. While I am still employed, I've known better days- a lot better. I have friends and family who have lost jobs or have been unable to find work for a long time. People I love have lost their homes and have experienced other hardships. And let's cut to the quick: I'm hurting. I eat. I have a roof over my head and can meet my basic needs- but it is tight. And subsentence is not living. I miss my old life. I miss going out to eat when I felt like it, shopping when I felt like it. I miss not having to worry about meeting my needs. I miss being in the position of always giving and not having to be on the recieving end. I worry about going to work and being pink-slipped and that's not an unfounded worry.

I live a suburban community that boasted all kinds of quaint boutiques, shops and restaurants. Now, when I take my walk downtown, I look at a rows of empty storefronts. There are for sale signs on once coveted homes. Weekends are not full of families sitting in the downtown square and shopping. Regardless of what time I go to Target, it's empty.

I've given up my ritual Saturday movies. I've stopped drooling and impulsively buying at Lowes. I don't buy books just because I want them. I feel guilty for missing the things I don't need but I'm also depressed because the truth is we're in a very vulnerable position right now and I never thought, hadn't prepared to be in this position at this time in my life. I have been poor so I know how to get on. But that's not the point. The point is the failure. Feeling like I've failed again and today others depend on me, it's not just about me so the failure is magnified.

My partner is loving and supportive. He never complains. I'm not convinced he doesn't worry. Instead, he does what he can. Still, we have the lights, insurance, food bills and rent to pay. The best of relationships aren't immune to the stresses of financial burdens.

14 comments:

tea said...

Susan,

I think you touched all of us today. I especially liked you talking about "your guy." My husband is my special, special person. Without him I don't know what I would do. Anyway, thanks for being here for all of us on the up and down days. I took a day off yesterday too.

susan said...

Thanks, Tea.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I think probably many of us are in the same boat. But the failure isn't about you! It's about the nature of the whole global economy and what regulatory measures are or aren't in place, and what constituencies in positions of power benefit from the situation. I think it helps governments immensely if we internalize the blame. For example, I was just reading how, during the building of the Panama Canal, the administrators made a point of fostering divisiveness among the different ethnic groups so they would turn on each other and not the management. It's the same with governments. In Saudi Arabia, the government is bloated and corrupt, so they make sure the schools (madrassas) teach that the real enemies are westerners and Jews. In the United States, we push the idea of individual responsibility, particularly through the "Protestant [actually American] work ethic" - if you don't succeed, it's your fault -don't look too hard at the system. Simultaneously, those who want to profit from advertising and entertainment ensure that we still want things that aren't essential, so we go into debt and torment ourselves. And now it's so bad we can't even get some of the "essential" things. But it's not our fault! It's not your fault!

Money does totally stress relationships. And it's fun to go out sometimes. We rarely do anymore. I don't know how people with families keep going to restaurants! Reading and blogs offer an escape. And a way of giving! It doesn't have to be material. I think you are giving a lot!

susan said...

rhapsodyinbooks, thank you. I feel guilty because I am a poor money manager, but I hear you. Like you blogging and reading are my outlets. The young women of Color Online remind me I am giving and I do have thriving children. Thanks again.

January said...

Talking about money (or the lack thereof) is one of my favorite topics. One I haven't approached on my blog in a long time.

We're all hurting. It's tough when so many people in your neighborhood are suffering. I feel pretty luck in Massachusetts where the slowdown has not hit my neck of the woods as hard. Or maybe it has and I don't see it. One thing I've done is increased my charitable giving. And I hope to do some volunteer work this summer.

It’s good that you have someone close to share your concerns. I promise to approach this topic something this week because we should talk about it more.

One more thing. Have you considered applying for artist grants? There are many opportunities for women writers in all genres. I'm currently looking into some for 2009 and 2010.

susan said...

Hi January, glad to hear someone else is interested in the topic. Haven't been looking for the writers' grants but I did pass along some grant information in hopes of getting money for Color Online and our library. Will look. I could use any funding I can get my hands on.

Liz at Yips and Howls said...

Hope you're doing well after the April poetry madness. I stopped by to pass on a Kreativ Blogger Award.
Others awarded it to me with the charge to pass it onto others. Visit the link below for details.
Thanks again for sharing your poetry and supporting my work during April.


Kreativ Blogger Award

Diana Dang said...

In Canada, we are doing pretty bad as well. My family is directly involved because my parents both work labour jobs that requires the economy to be in good health. We are tight in money and I'm freaking out that we might have to sell the house. Luckily they have been saving since they came over from Vietnam. But I am still worried about what would happen to my family and me because we live with my aunt and grandparents also.

I hope the future would be brighter than today so you are not alone in this.

susan said...

Diana, I wish the same for you. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate you.

Unknownwriter and Almost Lover said...

your not alone it's the same in my life and the live's of people around me..

bunnygirl said...

Susan, just having a job in your neck of the woods makes you a success. You do a lot of good in your community and that sort of thing never goes unnoticed by the larger forces at work in the world. Your time will surely come.

campbele said...

Susan,
I applaud you for staying where you're needed, in terms of what you do and where you do it. This thought won't feed you, but, it ain't always about the money. Sistahgirl, you sound richer than most folks I know!

The economy has been there while. I'm curious to know if communities have been coming together to support one another in ways they usually hadn't?

Stay blessed!

Zetta Elliott said...

Now is definitely the time to live with faith...and trust that ALL you've done for others will be returned ten-fold; you are loved, valued, appreciated...you're not alone!

susan said...

Hey Z! You know whenever I feel down, you all come through. God is very good to me. In a much better space.

Edi, I'm not sure about communities, I want to say yes. I can tell you that I come from a family where we believe if one has a penny, we all have a penny. I am truly blessed because my entire my life I have known that family takes care of family. We have clothed each others' kids, raised each other kids' and fed each other in lean times. No surprise why I feel so strongly about community.

Now is the time to decide a new direction. I do have faith we'll get to the other side.

Thank you all,