Thursday, May 13, 2010

Humble Pie, the Cavalry, and Hope

So, it's time for me to start sharing some confessions and observations about being unemployed for the past two years:

First and foremost, I had to get over the stigma of being unemployed that I have formed over my adult life:

I am not ignorant, nor lazy; I do not see it as collecting easy money off the government while I sit home and do nothing. Granted, because the number is so high now and the efforts it takes to find a job are so much more difficult, I don't think admitting unemployment tarnishes ones reputation like it once did. However, I still had to swallow a hefty dose of humble pie in admitting that I have fallen into the grasps of losing a job that has been impossible to replace. The humiliation is definitely not as strong as it once was, but, I don't think my pride or bloodline will totally allow me to shed myself of all the embarrassment I have felt over admitting that I am stuck in this awful situation.

Secondly, if you are waiting for the cavalry to come swooping in and save you from the battles you are facing, well, you are going to be waiting a long time!

I, ignorantly admit, that I thought my period of unemployment was going to be short. I had worked for 8 years in the construction industry building a name and reputation for myself. I had become a trusted office contact for many subcontractors, many coworkers had left and moved on to other companies that were still in operation, and I was sure someone would call with their condolences and offer me a job right away. The phone never rang....Not even once. I felt betrayed, even a little angry, that no one had offered to help me. In reality, it was and still is a dog eat dog world. People were lucky to still have the jobs they had and there were no extras to throw around. Ultimately, I had to be prepared to help myself and not depend on anyone else to get me out of this.

Hope for America? Well, I was not so sure, but, the platform he was selling sure sounded good.

I openly admit I did not vote for Obama. There, I said it! My decision had nothing to do with his political party or the color of his skin. I simply did not know enough about the man and did not feel like he had enough work experience to take on the task of leading AND fixing our nation.

So, we are almost two years into his presidency and where are we now?
I have seen the government bailout the banks but I am still waiting for my own personal bail out. (which I guess goes back to helping yourself!)
He signed a $787 billion stimulus package to "set our economy on a firmer foundation," yet, this American soil I am standing on still feels pretty unstable these days.
He did help me with getting my unemployment benefits extended...for a little while. However, I have reached the end of receiving benefits and have not found any other assistance or instruction beyond this point.
This is, in no way shape or form, meant to create or stir up a political debate, but, if there is real progress or aid as a result from the Obama administration taking over, it has not trickled down to me and many others I know. So, hope for America, I would love to see it, but, I haven't seen it yet.

However, I will say that the condition of our economy and the issues that led up to it, were not easy for anyone voted into office to overcome, and, it did not happen overnight. Therefore, it will not be solved quickly either. I just hope I still have a roof over my head by the time this is over.....

Image Credits: All images were found on Note: The Obama "Hope" poster was created by artist, Shepard Fairey.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Just in Time for Mother's Day

It is the eve of Mother's Day and I have decided to start it off by reminding myself of something nice for a change! No moments of sadness about our financial situation, no thoughts about our government or the economy, no reflections of how we got to this point....I decided, for Mother's Day, I am giving myself a 24 hour pass from my usual and depressing train of thought.
My mother in law is totally to blame for this! She gave me an early Mother's Day present the other day, and, I think it started to actually trigger some happy thoughts in this jumbled mess of a head of mine!
She gave me a gardenia plant. To some, it might seem like a nice but unusual choice. However, for people who know me best or have read this blog, well, then, you know there is a much more meaningful sentiment behind this gift.
She first became aware of my gardenia fondness when she read my entry about my "happy places." The gardenia represents a much more simpler and happier time in my life when I was a child and the wonderful scent from our gardenia bush used to permeate in the yard at my child hood home. I loved the smell so much and that love for gardenias has always stayed with me.
I knew the moment I saw her gift, she was giving me something that she knew would give me a constant source of much needed happiness. The thought and meaning behind it was as much appreciated as the happiness that it instantly made me feel when I saw it. She, unexpectedly, reached out to me when I needed it simply because she cares and I hope she knows how much it meant to me.
So, tomorrow, I am going to water my gardenias, drink my coffee, read the Sunday paper and spend the rest of my time celebrating motherhood with my boys...Some simple pleasures that make me happy.
Thank you, Bertha, for snapping me back into reality just in time for Mother's Day :)