Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Fear and Poverty

Fear. It's an emotion we all experience at some point. Usually, it's an isolated experience; lately, that hasn't been the case for me. Fear has been breathing down my neck, wrapping around me like a blanket, and tainting every waking moment and restless night with its presence for months now. We talk about fear, and we talk about poverty -- what we don't talk about is how they're inextricably intertwined.

Maybe we made bad choices, maybe we're at the mercy of a broken system. It doesn't really matter at this point, because me family is doing everything RIGHT. We coupon, we budget exhaustively, we account for every penny -- and still, we live with the fear of losing everything looming over our heads. This month, we're going to be $68 short. Sixty-eight measly dollars are what stands between us and security. Pocket change for some, but the difference between making it and not for us.

So that fear, it becomes a driving force. I'm driven to work harder and longer, to find new ways to pinch pennies, to blatantly self-promote when I'm able. I stop sleeping, get dehydrated, forget to eat -- all over that $68 standing between having what we need, and losing something essential.

It's not something that's easy for me to talk about, and maybe I'm only putting it out there because it's become so all-consuming I can't think of anything else to bring to the table right now. But at the end of the day, I'm more than just scared. I'm bone-deep exhausted from carrying this burden. I'm tired of spending my nights wide-eyed, frantically searching for a miracle when I don't even believe in them. This dread, this terror, this realization that it all rests on me is something I crave release from.

Maybe someday this will all be a distant memory; hope for that day is what keeps me going, what keeps me running on fumes when I've slept twelve hours in ten days. But right now, the tunnel I'm in is long and dark, and I don't see a light at the end.

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