Unemployment is a weird little monster. Some days are good, you apply for jobs, you clean the house, and you work on projects. Other days are not so good; those are the days when you feel useless. When you don’t want to do anything but sleep and you are sure that you are never going to work again. For me the bad days are even harder. For me, on the bad days, it is not just the stress of the bills that still need to be paid, or the loneliness of the days spent by myself. For me, each day that I am unemployed it feels like a threat to my Independence, a threat to everything I have worked so hard to overcome.
Independence is a capital letter word in my vocabulary; growing up it was the most important thing, and to some degree still is. It was the reason for everything; for the hours of physical and occupational therapy, for the almost countless surgeries, for the IEP’s and the other three letter acronyms in my life (MRS, AFO, SSI, CIL). Independence meant that I had made it, that I had shrugged off every doubt, every low expectation and I had made it. I had survived, I had overcome, and I had beaten my disability.
Now on the bad days, I feel like that independence is slipping away. I know it has only been a month, but I am starting to worry about what I will do if I don’t find another job; if my unemployment runs out and I find myself depending on Tom for everything. I depend on Tom for a lot already, he is my main source of transportation, but I have always had my own money. I have always paid my own bills and been able to buy the things I needed or wanted without having to ask someone else for it.
I am also starting to feel trapped. I cannot drive, I live too far to access public transportation and my interaction with others is now limited to the ladies in my weekly quilting class, Taden, the cats and my husband who has been working as much overtime as possible to make up for my lack of income. On the bad days, I feel lonely, friendless and pathetic.
In order to keep the bad days at bay, I am trying to stay busy. I drag myself out of bed even if sleeping all day seems much more appealing. I have my coffee. (I am quickly becoming an addict, something I never managed to do while I was working in the traditional sense.) I spend the morning writing and looking for jobs. I am currently working on a Children’s book as well as a narcissistic, non-fiction novel based on this blog, both of which I intend to e-publish. In the afternoons I focus on my other creative endeavors. I have set up a website where I can sell my photography, and I am working on new quilts along with setting up an etsy site to (hopefully) sell them.
Of course there is still that little voice in my head telling me no one will buy any of my work and that all this time will have been wasted; but I took a crutch to her teeth last week, that voice is mostly garbled now.
I have no idea if any of this will amount to something, but it keeps me in control of my situation, it keeps the fear and isolation at bay. Plus, if this does work out, what better way for me to define Independence than by making a living on my own terms, my own talents?
If you are interested in checking out my photography please click here. If you can’t buy, leave a comment. I would love to hear your feedback.