Where is All the Winning Promised?

I just finished texting with my best friend of the last 32 years. She is in Puerto Rico, helping herself, her two teenagers and her mom. God knows who else she is helping because I know how she is. I offered to send her whatever she needed. Then I looked at my wallet. I have $2.35 and my car has no gas. Where is all the winning promised?

Maybe if I keep repeating the realities of my current life, I will actually believe them, get over them and move on. I am a 50-year-old, white looking, Puerto Rican woman. Now, that reality I live with every day, that is not the part I still refuse to believe. I have been unsuccessful in finding work for the last year.  I refuse to believe it is harder for a woman like me to get a job or find a project to work with.  Where is all the winning promised?

I want to help my people rise up from this devastating storm. I have to look at my own numbers. Since I became unemployed, I lived on credit cards and savings for most of the last year. Savings were gone in six months and now the credit cards are unavailable. I’m pretty sure we are over $110,000 in debt. In order to survive, and this does not include going to the movies, or even to a restaurant, this family needs $6,000 a month. Since May, this family makes about $4500 a month. I started selling what we own, including my i-Pad (that I got for my blogging business), my GoPro (a birthday gift), all my jewelry and exercise equipment. I even worked on a project for a month. Now, I have to call the creditors one by one and tell them there is no more money.  Do you see the winnings yet? And even though this is my reality, I still want to help my friends and family in Puerto Rico, mostly because they are all middle class and as usual, ignored even by the aid agencies.

I am the one in the house that is always saying everything is going to work out. Things will be fine. I have filled out so many job applications I know my entire resume without looking at it. I have applied for any and all projects. I’ve begged online for work. As usual, a lot of interest and no bites.

And you know what the worst part is? I’m tired. Ever since that gallbladder surgery in 2014, it has been one hit after the other. We’ve had cancers and deaths, and Alzheimer’s and accidents and layoffs and everything else you can imagine, culminating on hurricanes and just more bad luck. I’m tired. I don’t want to do this anymore. I keep getting sick but I don’t even have the $10 copay I need to visit my doctor. Let us not forget that no matter how good it is, when you have insurance, you still have to pay for your doctor’s visits. I don’t know if I’m getting sick because there is something wrong with me, or is it because I’m exhausted and I don’t have access to a healthy diet or adequate rest . All I know is that I could use a nap.

One of the things the president said when he was running for office was that we were all going to get tired of winning. As most campaign promises, this one came without much information about what where the actual winnings going to be or what plan he had for the winfall. I have not seen any winning. I’ve seen his staff members winning, I’ve seen all the golf weekends and the trips and the people boasting about their private jet flights. We were supposed to see winnings and we made the mistake of assuming he was talking about us. At least, I did.

I am looking online for a good bankruptcy lawyer. I never thought I would see the day when in order for me to get up, I would have to kick myself down. To add insult to injury, I cannot afford to get sick because as far as I know, there is a big possibility that I will not have sufficient coverage since they insist on repealing the current health program. There is no winning here. I am tired of staying positive. I need to be realistic. There is no more sugar-coating it for me or the millions of Americans in the middle class who are seeing their incomes shrink while the bills pile up and no winning in sight.

I’m just tired of waiting.

Day 35: The Jean Jacket

This is one of my most prized possession. This jean jacket, which I owned for 25 years, has seen me fat and thin, broke and with money. It was in perfect condition and last week, I let it go.

Why, do you ask, did I let go of something that I prized so high?  Because it was time.  One of the things I’ve noticed since my parents got sick and I moved them in with me, is that they held on to things that would make no sense to anyone but them.  I don’t want my daughter to have to figure out what to do with my stuff.  Little by little, I will let all of it go.

It so happens that the store The Limited is recycling old denim for a good cause. Since my daughter works there, I killed two birds with one stone.  We took old jeans to the store and now they can use it to recycle and create other things.

I would rather send all my things to worthy causes than keep them here.  Yes, I do miss the jacket.  A part of me always will.  It is time to let go of many of my possessions.  My books, I keep, but the jeans can go and so can most of my clothes.

I don’t work outside the home anymore and I am hoping that when I go back to meeting people and involving myself in a career, it is in my own terms and I can wear whatever I want.  It is time.

What are you doing with your old clothes?  It is time to let them go and give them new life.  Let me know about your old clothes in the comments below.

Day 30: Don’t Remind Me

I am going to come out and say it:  I hate TV.  They complain about people and companies making money out of tragedies when they have spent the last 14 years milking the single, biggest massacre of people ever perpetrated on American soil.  And I for one have a simple message for all TV stations:  don’t remind me.

Let me tell you what I remember about that day.  It was a beautiful day in New York.  It was the contrast of what a beautiful day it was against the backdrop of the devastation that always stuck in my head.  It was a perfect blue sky over the city of New York.  And then it was covered in smoke.

I was fortunate enough not to know anyone that worked in the Twin Towers.  I did have a lot of family and friends in New York and it took me until 11 PM to make sure that they were all safe.  As the years have passed, I have met many who had family and friends who passed away that day.  Their stories are all different, and they all have one thing in common.  The day is emblazoned in their heads.  They don’t need a TV show to remind them.  They lived it, we all did.

A month before this happened, I had started doing my power hour.  I would get up, thank God for another day.  Make a mental list of things I was grateful for as I got dressed and jumped on my stationary bike for 20 minutes.  I would then have a fabulous breakfast and plan to have a fabulous day.  I never had a power hour after that day.  It seemed like the world was coming to an end so why bother.

That was 15 years ago.  It is amazing to think that there are kids in school learning about this from a book who have no connection to the event whatsoever.  To those kids, you might argue, the shows would give them some perspective.  This generation of kids is not interested on watching TV.  If they want to see what happened, they google the date and find all kinds of media articles, videos and information.  They don’t need you to remind them.

I wish the TV stations would stop and I am going to tell you why.  Every time they show somebody who was somehow related to this event, the terrorist feel like they won.  Even if people are doing well, in their twisted little heads, their thought is that you might be fine but you still remember.  Now mind you, I don’t want to forget.  I just don’t want them to get any more happiness out of our misery.  I also don’t want TV stations to make money out of this tragedy.  Maybe I would feel better if they donated their profits for those hours to a college scholarship for the children of the people who died that day.  I don’t know.

I did not let that day determine my life, or maybe I did.  I did decide that day that nothing and nobody can make me so afraid that I don’t do exactly what I want to do with my life.

Two weeks after 9/11, I had a convention in Arizona.  I got on the plane, scared for my life.  I made it there and most of the people were with their entire families.  They were scared to leave them behind.  I went to the spot where my brother’s ashes were distributed long before.  I cried.  I cried for my brother and for any other person that died way before their time.  I said to myself I needed to live life to the fullest.  And then I did not.

Now my father is gone, my life is taking care of my mother and I don’t know if in 30 years I will remember anything.  I do know that what we owe all those innocent victims and any other person that has died before, during and since, is the ability to live life to the fullest.  I am working on it.  Are you?

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