I haven't mentioned it yet, but my last day of work was March 16. I have been looking, though. When people say "there's nothing out there", it's not quite true; there's a lot of work open, but most of it seems to be $12.00 an hour and lower. Can I survive on that? Yes... Unemployment is giving me a whopping $8.82 an hour when you break it down. But this is just surviving.
I have done plenty of surviving in my life. There was not much money while I was growing up. Mom and Dad did the best they could, giving things up to make sure my sister and I got a good education. I appreciate it more now that I can see it from a adult standpoint. I worked my ass off in bars, supporting the boyfriend at the time... and the money really didn't go too far. There was an apartment fire one December, and it wasn't until mid-April I had a place to live again. Working for just enough to pay the rent and juggle between bills for years. Knowing how to use an orange extension cord when the electricity is shut off. Knowing how long it will take to fill the bathtub when the water needs to be heated in the microwave because the gas has been turned off until payment is made. Sleeping in the back booth at Denny's under the 405 Freeway because no buses run that late at night so I can get home, and the money to fix the car just wasn't there. (That lasted over a year.)
I've done my share of surviving, I think. And I really don't want to go back to any of that. I just won't... I can't. Those years of just holding my breath, putting blinders on my eyes like a racehorse, and forcing myself to plow through all the bad stuff, all the garbage and waste and road blocks just to get to a little brighter area, a little higher ground. That type of struggle for such a long time just wears people out.
I found the higher ground, and was happy. I'm really still here, even though instead of being safely inside the house, I am out on the rocks now which shore up the ground to help prevent a landslide. I keep looking up at the sky, biting my lip in consternation, hoping only to see puffy clouds and no rain. There have been a few showers (such as having a job offer rescinded last Friday), but I am still here... as I squat down and make a few raps on the roots of a large tree, knocking on wood.
At least I do know where I've been, if not where I am going.
(Crossposted from my other blog.)