Monday, August 15, 2011

Dark Night of the Soul or A Walk Trough the Abyss

We all have them. Long dark times when we can barely hang on. Times when loss compounds loss. Or when we are so beaten down by circumstances we can't raise our heads to the sunrise. I'm there. I've been there for a quite a while this year. I stood at a counter today, writing a check for a payday loan so I could drive an over priced rental car for another week and pray for miracles. When I wrote the wrong month on the date line, the clerk gently corrected me and requested a new check. I had been smiling a few minutes before. Suddenly, without reason or sense, tears poured and I ducked my head in shame while my partner attempted to cover my inexplicable behavior with social chitchat and to keep the clerk engaged. Hopelessness in wet courses on my cheeks, as I fed the corporate greed machine another promise.

And I've many of those hopeless promises dogging my stepping and binding me in this nonwage garnishment state. Cell phones are a wonderful thing. Mine has a function that lets me program debt collectors to go immediately to voice mail. Eight years ago I arrived in SC barely holding my own and staying one step in front of the collection agencies. Now I can't move out of state until I pay untold compound interest fees off those desperate credit card debts of my past. The first charge I ever made was for a pair of shoes. I was 29 and in college when I got the credit card offer. The sole of my tennis shoes was cracked all the way across and when I walked to school from my little school owned trailer, my feet stayed wet. Years and debt later, after every divorce, and there were several, left me even more in debt. I paid the $20,000 debt down to less than $5,000 several times until the next lay off caused me to loose control again. I've been widowed once. Add three divorces and four layoffs. I'm sure you can do the math.

And let's talk student loans. I was a noncustodial mom determined to spend Fri-Sa-Su with my children every weekend. I borrowed to stay in school and keep a home that would give the boys a place in my life. I joked that I borrowed against the future to keep my family together, and that instead of saving up for my family I would spend the rest of my life paying it off. It's no joke now. My interest payments exceed my income. I've sold my soul to the company store. I live more desperately, in worse circumstances than I did thirty years ago. Don't mind the soft spot on the floor in front of the shower. Don't mind the patches to the trailer on the outside the last time the county condemned it. Don't mind the 14 year old car I drive.

A year ago my partner and I started a roller coaster ride and bought a foreign currency that is about to reevaluate. I started educating myself on the middle east, on history, on finance. The more I learn, the more scary it gets. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I do understand what happened when we through out unions, allowed business to be deregulated and sent our factories overseas. I do understand what happens with layoffs, loss of income and hopelessness. I make what I made working for IBM in 1997. Back then I lived in a modest condo and drove a 1997 Ford. I drove that Ford to the salvage yard two years ago and they gave me $89 for my trouble.

Today I came across a video that I'm still thinking about. I'm going to share it here. It's rather long, so take some time for it. I suspect those who find this blog and watch this video have already woken up and will recognize many of the truths. I have been reading about World Bank, the IMF, and the histories and nothing I have found that I judge credible contradicts what I find here.