Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Genteel Poverty Peep: Walking Away From False Shame
There are times I can be happy poor or not, one can find many free things to do, hang out in the park, make art and cards, visiting friends, go to church. Facebook is dangerous for the poor on the envy score as those of normal means seem to have endless money for activities, trips, and other things to do. One should seek contentment as best they can and the simple life has many good attributes, materialism is a dead end, but the fear can get tiresome.
My fear definitely comes from my past.
Once I joked to husband, "Lets move to Appalachia where we will fit in!"! One good friend was talking to me about a diet she was on, and I crossly said, "Diets are for rich people, where they voluntarily go without certain foods, I involuntarily go without what I would choose to eat all the time. A poor week means too many bananas, turkey sandwiches and spaghetti but then I had the days when I even had to spend a small amount of money set aside, my emergency fund for needing the car towed or a cab fare, for food two weeks ago. Our bank account just to pay bills with no external shopping save for 25 bucks I spent on art/craft supplies 3 months ago and 10 bucks on some Chinese food is scoured out.
My frustration levels regarding functional life have hit a zenith. What has happened to me? Why can't we get it together? Aren't most people on disability poor?
How do I stop blaming myself? Is that a result from my upbringing? The years of severe poverty especially in that crime ridden metro city I almost did not escape, have marked me, every time the money is low, it seems to take me back to my days of desperation. I remind myself as long as the system has not collapsed, my rent will be paid, that the me of today lives in a safer small town where there is help for the poor, medical care, a transport system for the disabled, that friends and others would help me, but can one get PTSD from poverty? The answer is Yes.
The smirks that live on the face of my mother in my head viewing my slum apartment seventeen years ago are ones I never want to see again. Today I tell myself, "You don't have to worry about being put down by them ever again." There is definite relief in that. No more looks of disgust.
How do I become happier? How do I stop walking around with the "I'm scared" cloud hanging over my head. Sometimes it seems to sneak in like a cloud of smoke through a window. And it's always money stress that triggers it all off? I am praying on this one big time. For those of you who deal with this how do you manage? I get rid of this only to have it creep back in.
How do I help my husband who has suffered from the demise of newspapers, he freelances, but with his own health problems and caretaking duties of me, it is a struggle for him. He is on the cusp of disability himself. Life definitely did not go the way he expected, even being an assistant editor of a small town newspaper years ago. His health is showing the affects of our struggles too. I feel very sad about this.
I have nightmares, about being homeless and in front of my mother's large house begging. Who wants to crawl back for abuse in that scenario? That is a nightmare.
One thing about me I am like those old grandmothers from the Depression who saved every rubber band and plastic bowls without the hoarding. They weren't ashamed of themselves for having been poor, they just gone on with it. I hope I can be like them one day. The shame seems to be a poisonous inheritance, I have to throw in the trash to move on.
I think about all the people who were brought up by narcissists who were told the amount in the bank account denoted their worth.
One thing about being poor is all the silence, living in a country where they deny what is happening to millions is not an easy thing. I see the nibbling edges of economic decline here now too, in my town restaurants and other businesses are closing all over the place. My last rural town basically had an unspoken economic collapse, with over a thousand abandoned homes. There is part of me saying not again. Maybe I am overreacting but when you see endless restaurants and business shutting down it makes you worry. Many stores seem to be closing in America as they tell us how great the economy is. You can tell no one has any expendable income left even the better off who are facing increasing bills themselves too to meet all their obligations. It seems the pressure is on everyone now.
At least too I know God feels differently about the poor too.
James 3:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Overall I think I will do and feel better to free myself of the shame my narcissistic family gave me for being of limited economic means and just go day by day trying the best we both can, and pray to God for help to deal with the fear. Hopefully that will help me in overcoming these struggles. Two Thirds of Generation X Poorer Then Their Parents at the Same Age