Life is an enigma. You have no choice where you start out, what color your skin will be, what language you’ll speak, nothing. One certainly does not choose parentage or siblings or economic stature. All one gets is the life itself.
And what does one do with said life? Live it, perhaps. Or spend the entire opportunity complaining about what one was unable to choose. Looking backward constantly doesn’t get anyone down the stony road, sad to say. Fermentation is only a good thing in the making of food or alcoholic beverages. For living things, it’s just plain rot.
I’m at an age where I remember being young, and yet am aging with little grace due to chronic health concerns. I’m watching my husband do the same, and for such a vital soul as he, it’s almost tragic. My mother exists on a trach-and-vent in a very nice facility, these days, afraid to live and afraid to die, depending on us to see to her care (as we promised my father we would do when he was gone). It’s an awkward age, and when I look back at the equally awkward teen years, I know that not a lot has changed. Only me. I’m a plump, aging woman with an attitude problem, a flat nod given to practicality along the way, and a sense of responsibility that doesn’t make any of it flow easily.
And so… unable to paint on canvas, unable to afford photography as a hobby, I turned to the written word. Shock, shock. I found I was too old and too frazzled to care that I can’t afford to adequately promote what books I create, let alone produce them in a professional manner. The result was predictable to everyone except the non-professional: me.
I filed for disability income years ago. The system sent me to a doctor who, during the exam, said, “I don’t understand why ‘you people’ think you need a disability income. Can’t you go back to your old job part-time?” I simply stared at him a moment, then replied, “Hey, Doc? Did you ever try to catch a 150 pound Thoroughbred foal from a standing presentation… part time?” A week or two later, I got a survey in the mail, asking how the exam had gone. I reported the truth. I was, of course, denied disability income. Repeatedly. After a year or so of denials and depression, I simply gave up re-filing. Later, when I refiled a new claim, I was sent back to the same accursed doctor, who recognized me. Denied disability again, I left it for years, struggling to make money here and there at various art and craft projects. Every year, my ability to do regular work shrank. I filed again, and got a lawyer who failed to examine my file until the night before the administrative law judge date. I walked out.
The system does not favor the disabled, no matter what anyone tells you. I listen to people bitch and moan about “entitlements” and the “welfare queens,” and I know there are a few who misuse the system. In fact, I wonder what their stories are. But the people who do the bitching and moaning don’t have my respect, nor will they. They’ve never once had to deal with a system where abuse is ignored and worse, encouraged. This is America: Where only those with money can make money, and the rest of the population is milked for its value and blamed for everything that goes wrong.
Blame is worthless. Blame is merely revenge for the intangible. I do not subscribe to it.
When one can no longer work and pay up on legal agreements, one loses everything. There it is. Gone.
What matters is starting over. Somewhere, somehow, and as soon as possible. I’m 53 years old. Ronnie is 55. Where do we start? How?
Welcome to the American Dream: Finding a way to keep living, long after the joy is threadbare and the dreams rebuilt for the second or third, or perhaps tenth, time.
I think I will be a happy nomad, sometime soon. The community, the state, and the country of my origin are unwelcoming. It’s time to move on. And move on, we shall.