I was awoken this morning by a ringing phone; a robo-call was reminding me to complete my census form, which I submitted online several days ago. My federal government wants me to know that I count.
I cancelled my phone's answering service a few days ago because it's become too expensive. I'm becoming afraid to eat because by the time my essential bills and rent are paid, I have about seven dollars a day to live on. That's for everything -- food, water, food and care for my two cats, medicine, household supplies, clothing, emergencies.
A few weeks ago, one of my relatives drove in from out of town to take me to lunch. This relative, I'd heard, has been "worried" about me. The lunch cost about as much as I would spend on two weeks' worth of groceries. It was delicious, and I was grateful for the meal. Other than that, this relative offered no help; I left this person a phone message later that day to express my thanks, and heard nothing in return.
Yesterday, an old friend from college came out of the blue to chat with me on a social network -- We laughed ourselves into jelly with stories, jokes, memories ... That old friend helped me to stay alive for another day. I told her nothing about my situation other than I've been very ill, was recently abandoned by my mate, and am working hard to regain my vitality.
Today it's my cats, and some ferocious, small flame within me. This is a day of pure blue sky and birdsong ... and when I step out to my balcony, I see a road-roller parked halfway down the street, and construction signs erected near the machine and at my end of the block. Seems that this summer -- the second season in Canada, next to winter (but that's changing rapidly with the climate) -- my street is one of the lucky ones that'll be repaved, and residents of my street will be inhaling tar fumes and hearing machines that scream all day for who knows how many days.
I'm close to feeling like 'I can't do it anymore' -- and I must. Two small, cherished creatures depend on me for their survival. It would take very little for all three of us to turn feral; I am one monthly benefit cheque away from being turfed to the street.
On whom do I depend? -- No one. My original family is broken beyond repair, and those who do offer help do it sporadically, when they can. The people who have given most are those with the least to give of money and material goods. I have no relatives nearby, and my local friends -- several of whom offered sanctuary and presence during the early months of my marital desertion -- seem to have fallen away, back to their usual lives. Many of these friends live with struggles similar to mine ... and a few live with much worse. I am presently of little practical use to anyone; perhaps that is my downfall.
I am constantly reminded to ask for help ... and I do ... and phone messages, emails are not returned. I recognize a threat: my own reluctance to ask for help in the first place, and a thought that other people may be seeing me now as a burden, as someone who always calls in need. I make sure to express as little need to others as possible -- I've pared down my requests to a once-monthly drive to my doctor, and a weekly run for big-item groceries. When this much appears to be too much, how can I continue to ask anyone for anything?
We live in a society whose ethos has become increasingly cruel, contemptuous, and competitive. "Ordinary" people are strapped. I can only ask for support for so long, until the number of unreturned calls and my old, old paralysis of will combine to shut down all initiative. It is a heartbreaking conundrum to be told again and again to reach out ... and then to be told "No, sorry, I can't" much more often than "Yes." Very few people are reaching out to me ... and when enough noes come my way, I stop asking. I find it abhorrent to be considered a weight on someone else's life. I struggle with the thought that I've become a beggar -- always asking.
How do we stay alive when there is almost nothing left? The walls of my house are crumbling; my father, who disowned me from his heart several years ago out of his own lifelong agony and predatory beliefs, is dying. I can't afford train fare to travel to his home, and he would reject me at the door. Even when my own strength is ebbing, I want to love ...
Today I don't know what to do anymore. One of the road machines has started up its engine; can I bear the noise? How much can one person bear before she simply lies down and doesn't get up again? This is not 'suicidal ideation' -- I have wrestled that demon to the ground. This is primal exhaustion duking it out with an ebbing life force. I won't give up -- I have given my word to several people I love, to my two cats, and to my own good soul.
My intrinsic gentle nature simply doesn't know what to do anymore.
Welcome, reader ... This blog is where faith, love and wise mind tussle with despair, shame, and confusion ... and with the best humour I can rustle up. I write here as a person who lives in the aftermath of severe developmental traumas; much of my life's work, both personal and professional, has been in the service of healing existential injury and volitional paralysis, and evolving through the grace of relation ...
~~ Mercy has no boundaries ~~ (Leonard Cohen, Book of Mercy)
Take a boo at the blog; you'll find me there, in one of three guises: Pushing Fifty Gently... is where I sass, opine, and worship my cats. The Quoteable I Ching is here to honour a wisdom tradition that I follow and revere ... and A Post-Cynical Seer chronicles one soul's deeper currents and journeys. Otherwise, I'm likely to be upending my home in search of my glasses, tripping over cats as I go, and spilling my tea. I'm no longer pushing fifty ... Fifty's pushing me!