Are You Kidding Me?
Mateja Klaric

Hi, Mateja.

I came to this piece today to “unfollow” you because the last ten or so posts I’ve read of yours seemed to be angry missives directed at particular writers, and I just don’t need more negativity in my life.

Then I read this: “…. asking a homeless person to give more and to give even what she cannot give, saying that she is homeless because she is not giving enough.”

I don’t know what this guy did to piss you off, but I’m with you on this homeless person business….because I have been that homeless person. In the not-too-distant past, still struggling to dig out. And all the world kept/keeps asking of me was/is, “more, more, more!”

Friends. Family. People whose services I relied upon for my well-being and my continued attempts at getting out of the quicksand. And the harder they asked me to paddle and kick, the more that quicksand pulled me in deeper.

People don’t seem to understand that, at a certain point, a person — even someone who looks like me and has had success in the past like me and has done remarkable things like I’ve done — gets in a kind of vortex where the worse it gets, the worse it gets. It’s much like I imagine a quicksand trap to be, deceptive in appearance, and deadly in consequence. Once you’re in it, the gravity and stickiness of it is extremely hard to break.

The prices the very poor pay for everything are higher since they can’t buy more than a few dollars worth of anything at a time, so they keep running out and then have to find the means to go get more, which costs even more money they don’t have.

The penalties the very poor pay for failing to make a payment on time, overdrawing an account (if they even have one — I didn’t even have a bank for nine years), missing an insurance date and losing your insurance and getting put on “risk,” are outrageous and just keep making it harder and harder to dig out.

Then there’s the “looks” you get from people who wonder how you can look good, or have a phone, when that’s all you have and the only way you can dig out and keep moving.

Getting a job when you have no place to sleep at night, or nowhere to operate out of — as in, going online, showering, storing your clothes so they’re not wrinkled — is not only impractical, but it is emotionally unrealistic. Hard to project confidence under those circumstances.

Then there’s the notion that a very poor person who has lost their residence and sold or donated nearly everything else (and in my case, been the victim of a crime in the midst of all that, along with losing my father and several other concurrent traumas, including chronic invisible illness) is often in the position of relying on others for sustenance, as in food, a bed, a shower, the basics of existence. When you rely on others like that, and you have nothing to give but your effusive gratitude (which we repeatedly do) you begin to sink into another abyss of guilt and helplessness — or even worse, uselessness — that is really, really hard to crawl out of.

{deep breath}

Like I said, I don’t know what this Uwe person did to piss you off, but all this came up for me, and I found myself appreciating you being pissed off this time.

Thank you for getting it. Now I’ma go back to kicking and paddling. peace~L

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