The short story is we used to be middle class, now we’re not.

I have a lot of anger on top of everything else – depression, anxiety issues, PCOS, and hypothyroidism as well as stress.  Oh so much stress and it’s fun twin excess cortisol production.

My husband was laid off in November 2012. Since then he’s found on and off temp work, sometimes on for months at a time, but often off for an equal amount. He’s also built a shed, worked as an arborist and watched way too much DIY and HGTV. Currently, he’s temping 40+ hours a week plus commuting downtown via metro, but the pay doesn’t cover our bills, nor does it come with benefits like health insurance. So he’s also working as a handyman on the evenings and weekends. He’s good at it, but we pretty much don’t see much of him anymore.

Which leaves me feeling like a single mom with a house and two kids to care for.  Instead of a husband I feel like I have a needy roommate with benefits on occasion, when we’re both not so freaking exhausted. I work as a writer (freelance/ghost) and editor, graphic designer, photographer and run the executive board at the little  nursery school my youngest attends.  I also partake in Muay Thai kickboxing classes 3-5 times a week, which I do not just for the physical benefits but because it’s literally cheaper than therapy. Nothing like kicking the shit out of someone to make you forget all your woes.

I’m trying to be more positive. To not go off and rant everytime I have a willing ear to listen, although I’m thankful for those friends who don’t mind and have been ever so supportive on this depressing journey we’ve been on.

I want to share what I/we’ve learned during this 2.5+ years – about navigating social services, medicaid, SNAP, working with deacons and saving money. I want to reach out to others struggling with extended unemployment or underemployment. I’ve never known anyone in my situation; I want to be friends to those who find themselves in a similar mess. Money is not something people talk about in detail – sure we all known the broad details of someone who gets laid off or gets that big promotion. But the nitty-gritty of day to day life with dwindling resources is too often coated in shame and embarrassment when in actuality it could happen to anyone. ANYONE. We should be able to speak up and reach out when we are in this position; likewise we should be aware of our fellow humans and understand more what is going on in detail whether they can vocalize it or not.

I read once that poverty is a social construct; it’s something you feel when you are no longer able to maintain the social lifestyle of your peers or community that you once could.  I wish I could find the original quote, it was from something on NPR I think. It truly describes where we are.