Lessons

Life is full of lessons isn’t it?

Sneaky little lessons creep up when you least expect them.

There are so many wonderful things happening in my life right now.  I feel I have such little time in my brain to dedicate to anything less important.  But isn’t that always a trap?  When we begin to trim the fat, we chronics have to worry about who we are going to hurt…

We spend so much time being lonely.  I know more chronic doormats – we are willing to settle for just about anything because we are always evaluating and criticizing what we have already lost.  We start taking stock.  We are so used to being the fat which is trimmed from others lives.  We fear having that power.  To choose.  To decide who we let into our heads and hearts.

My circle is small.  If you want to know who will stand by you, be a chronic.  When the diagnosis is made, when the surgery wound has healed, it is who remains.  Who remains when we stop being convenient.  When we start being a burden.

Loved ones tell us we aren’t a burden.  Hell, I have told people the same thing.  The definition of burden is ‘something that is carried’ – it kind of makes the argument moot.  The truth is, the ones who are still standing after the storm don’t mind carrying us.  I think it’s pretty frickin cool.  My soon-to-be husband has chosen me, with all of my crap, all of my baggage, all of my burden – he has chosen me, and I, him.  That is pretty amazing.  He could go find a young, beautiful, sugar mama with vigor and spontaneity, but he would rather pick me up off the floor.  Powerful thought ain’t it??

I can count on one hand my friends who have stood next to me and weathered the storm.  I will never be able to thank them enough.

The purpose of this post was to not go off on a tangent, but to make a specific point.

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they evaluate those they surround themselves with.  I have been slowly rebuilding my backbone… it used to be so strong.  Didn’t care what anyone thought about me, didn’t care what they did to me… all of a sudden I was on my ass – physically, financially, emotionally… and became a doormat.  I am removing the wishbone that was once located where my backbone used to reside.

With this being said, there are still some things hurt me.  Some things I will no longer put up with.  Consciously or not, things are written and said without thought of others.  I am not talking political opinion, everyone is entitled to that and I am the first up for a spirited debate.  There are however, some fundamental things I am no longer willing to budge on.

For the last time, I am the face of welfare.  I have an EBT card, that I use, and get the stares.  I have Medical Assistance.  Yes, a part of your taxes pay for these services.  Thank you.  I envy you.  You think sitting at home is what I want?  You think using that EBT card is PRIDEFUL… you think having shitty health insurance is what I want?  You think I am going to school to fill my spare time?  I am in debt up to my ears in student loans so I can have legitimate work from home someday – so you don’t have to pay for me anymore.  Until then, I would kindly ask you not paint me with the same brush you paint the EXTREMELY SMALL PERCENTAGE of people on welfare who are ‘cheating’ the system, which by the way – is a hard thing to do.  Trust me, I have to fill out the paperwork.

By the way, the ‘people’ on welfare are of all colors.  Some of us are white, some of us are black, some of us are brown, some of us are yellow, some of us are disabled, some of us have lost our jobs, some of us work a dead-end job and need the assistance to make ends meet.  We’re not useless, lazy, or expendable.  We are people.  We bleed just like you do.  We feel just like you do.  We are not proud to need help.  Asking for it isn’t easy.  Find ONE person sitting in a county welfare office smiling – even the case workers are miserable.

If I could trade places with you I wouldn’t even think about it.  There is one thing I will always have that you welfare haters will never have… a pocket full of clarity.  An appreciation for the value of a dollar.  An appreciation for making my EBT money stretch.  An appreciation of what I have.  Gratitude.  An understanding of what it is like to be poor… and trust me, I am not nearly as poor as millions of others.  I can appreciate the struggle.

I hope you never get sick, get divorced, lose your job… because then, and only then, will you understand what it’s like to need assistance and have to ask for it.  The feeling in your stomach having to share all of your financial information, having to prove your life insurance policy has no cash value – having to bare your soul to a stranger to prove you are worth nothing.  Only then will you get it.  Until then, I don’t need you in my life.

MW