Tuesday, June 7, 2011

To Have, or Have Not

    I am seeing more and more the gap between the Haves and the Have-Nots. Unfortunately, I fall into the second category. Merely driving to and from work I see the descrepencies: new Beemers and Mercedes seem abundant as do beat-up POS vehicles like my grubby, rattling, brake-squealing, shimmying van. More houses are sitting vacant, and yet McMansions continue to be built and inhabited. Mansions bought and sold, people living on the streets. 5 Star dining, dumpster diving. Louboutin shoes with sexy red soles, worn out sneakers with holes in their soles. The gap widens. The old adage proves true: "The Rich get Richer, the Poor get Poorer." I am frightened for Oregon, America, The World, and Myself. I can't help but dwell on the depression erroneously called a recession. Dwell on the continual grim economic news that seems to get grimmer by the day. I am frightened. Fear wears me out and makes me angry.
    Within my own small corner of the world I watch in dismay as prices on my staples rise higher and higher. I will stand and ponder a pound of cheese for a full 5 minutes, trying to decide if it fits within my budget. At the thriftstore I find a great pair of shoes for $8 but I can only afford them today because they are half off. $4 is in the budget, $8 is not. I am angry that my life continues to constrict around me like a hungry Burmese Python eager to convert me to a tidy, dry oblong of snake poo. I have reached the point where the success of others makes me bitter and hostile, not really my normal state... but these are not normal times. Acquaintences crow over acceptance into a Master's program, or mortgage approval, or new sexy shoes, and all I can feel is the cold ash of envy. My life does not allow for college, a home of my own or sexy shoes (okay, on that score, a new pair of Doc Martin's please). This is partly due to the struggle of a single income household in a depressed economy with inflation taking it's pound of flesh, and partly due to my ever shrinking paycheck as wages and hours are whittled away. Making less money when the cost of living is soaring is not good fiscal sense.
    I know that all I can do is keep trying to make small steps forward, one step at a time. But the chronic state of Have-Not is wearing down my reserves. I try to retain pride in my naturally frugal way of life, I despise conspicuous consumption and waste, but I would like to at least have enough... not too much, but enough. Enough of what? Anything. Anything other then Self Pity, I have plenty of that these days.
    I know, I know, I need to remember to be thankful for what I do have. And I am. Every day I think of my healthy kids, my own health, a roof over my head, a landlord that doesn't bother me, my solitude, my creative skills, and I am thankful. I know it could be worse. There is so much suffering out in the world that I am somewhat sheltered from. I am thankful, truely. But I could really use a break.
    Last night, as my head hit the pillow I did make a vow to myself, to continue bucking the trend, to once again lift myself above the quagmire of financial doom and make every effort to find peace in my life. For now I have decided that I can continue with the Starving Artist asthetic. I will retreat to my little house, clean up the dregs of weeks of ennui, brush cobwebs from corners and from my mind, vaccuum, polish, hang new art, put up the twinkling Skeleton Lights and Scary Eyeball Lights, maybe buy a new houseplant, redecorate the Turtle's domicile, sweep pet hair out from under the couch, reorganize paints and fabrics, and generally try to get back to the business of being a creative, eccentric artist. So I say, "Money be damned! I don't need your fucking Capitalist Pig money! I am a Free Spirit, a Muse, an Artist and Writer and your Earthly Possessions, Titles and Accolades are nothing but corporeal baggage. I have Myself, I need nothing else."

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