Alright, a couple of posts ago I mentioned how I had to move back in with my parents due to not being able to find a job. This post is going to be more about what’s been going on the past few months and what I’ve learned from it.
So, I decided to move out for reasons I won’t go into here, mainly because multiple people I know in person, including family, follow this place. At the time I believed moving out of my parents’ house, dropping out of college and working full time was the best decision I could make for myself.
So I did. I ended up living in Huntington, West Virginia. Let me tell you a little about Huntington: I walked down the main street and saw an elderly lady do a line of cocaine before asking me for money. In the middle of town. My neighbor was registered pedophile. Multiple people are murdered there are year. it is infested with drugs and poverty.
I was working at an archery shop. If you know anything about me you know that I’m not the hunting type. The business was in the basement of an old house full of taxidermy animals ranging from grizzly bears to elk. The place had a HORRIBLE effect on my health. I was doing data entry, sharing a room with one other person. Probably the most unpleasant person I’ve ever had to work with. he would repeatedly make fun of me for anything he could, he was homophobic and racist and loved death. He watched videos of people dying while on the clock and enjoyed it, he also enjoyed threatening to murder me in elaborate ways. One day my dog scratched my arm pretty badly and his response was to say, “You look f*cking emo, like you f*cking cut yourself. You’re so f*cked up.You need f*cking help.” If you’ve followed my blog long, you know my struggle with mental health. So I was working a job I hated for significantly under living wages for Huntington (living wage is 9.69) in really unpleasant conditions with worsening health problems.
Still, I had my independence. This was my choice. I was working, I was paying bills.
Then as I was leaving work one day, my boss pulled me aside. “I’m eliminating your job. The new software I installed does everything I’ve been paying you to do.You can come in and work tomorrow, but after that I don’t have work for you.” When I’d come to the job I was told it was a permanent position, and they didn’t want someone who was going to quit after a few months, which was a main reason I stayed.
Rent was due that week. I needed to pay for medications. My car has needed repairs for quite a long time. My shoes are falling apart. Our apartment had developed a cockroach infestation that our landlord wasn’t taking care of. My bills were due and I didn’t have a job. The next two months I scraped by. (ALWAYS HAVE SAVINGS. EVEN IF IT’S JUST A LITTLE. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.)
I didn’t have money to go out even for fast food with friends, I was ashamed to have people over, my health got worse and I only left the house to go to the gym and then come back. On top of this, I only had one friend who really stuck with me through everything. Everyone else sort of just left.
At this point I was feeling so crushed. My house and neighborhood embarrassed me, my clothes embarrassed me, my weight gain embarrassed me, I felt shame because I didn’t have a job, I lost all sense of pride and dignity. I was living in a way I never saw myself living at twenty, and feeling totally alone. My depression and anxiety were crushing, keeping me awake at night and waking my up early, and confining me to bed during the day. My other health problems were making me extremely sick. I was terrified. Bills kept coming in and I had no way to pay them. I felt hopeless.
Then I hit a point where my heart couldn’t be anymore crushed. A calm sense of acceptance. I knew that no matter what happened, I’d be okay. Things would be alright. I realized my value wasn’t in my house, or money or the people who decided to stay around or those who left, or my job. I am valuable for just being me: I am caring, kind, intelligent, and funny. The battles don’t define my worth. Nothing can take my worth away from me, nothing can decrease my value as a human being.
My pride was gone, but my dignity returned. I am no better than another else. I do not deserve anything, but I still have so much. I was able to move back with my parents, a safety net so many people don’t have. My physical needs have been met. I have so many luxuries other people don’t have: I have heating and air conditioning, I have a car (well, for now, please keep going, baby). I have food, good nutritious food, I am back in an area where I have caring friends and am finding a good support system. I have the ability to go back to college and am doing my best to find a job.
These past months have given me such a huge understanding of the way so many other people live. I am spoiled in my lifestyle now, though it’s still considered very minimal compared to a lot of other Americans. It’s given me the drive to help others and to work towards a career that will allow me to assist others more in a monetary way. (Even without money, now, I am able to give love and time. Not all giving needs to cost money.) My health and mental health are still weak, but I have faith and hope, dignity and strength even in weakness, I am loved.