Walking in Denethor (Steward of Gondor)'s shoes
"So passes Denethor, son of Ecthelion." --Gandalf, Return of the King.
In Return of the King we meet Boromir's father, Denethor, the steward of Gondor, a man who uses the palantir of Minas Tirith in hopes of discerning the future -- and falls to despair when Sauron shows him is plans.
Logic told Denethor that there was no way to beat Sauron. By might of arms, as even Tolkien fan knows, Denethor was correct. Sauron could only be beaten by destroying the Ring.
In this recession, MONEY is the Sauron of our lives for the 99% of us who have suffered severely in this economy.
On May 9th. 2009, almost five full years ago, I lost my graphic arts job in Manhattan in one of the first waves of job cuts to hit this country.
I have worked two temp jobs (US Census for about six weeks in 2010; Intermedia marketing for three weeks in 2012) since. No more than 10 weeks in all that time.
I have tried to create businesses -- all of which failed, leaving me in debt. I applied for social security disability. i do, after all, have three disabilities (low vision, hearing loss, severe chronic migraine). Despite spending enormous money out of pocket seeing doctors in hopes of getting that assistance, that too was denied. Added to this was high veterinarian bills in 2011 -- over $2000!
I ran up over $17,000 in debt trying to cover my living expenses -- first in Brooklyn until my unemployment ran out in April, 2011 -- then here in western Pennsylvania.
I have been frugal. I have been creative (I even opened my own etsy shop to sell washable cone coffee filters). I self published my own first novel which has not sold.
All for naught. When at last I dared to look at my finances, I see a mess created not by irresponsible money management, but by the sheer length of my unemployment.
Unlike most people, I don't have a security net. I have some family, but religion and politics divides us so severely that help is rare (my mother does send me $20 sometimes, for which I am grateful). Moving back to Nebraska is impossible -- not only because the airlines have changed their rules regarding flying with birds -- but because my family's rules for staying with them requires complete compliance with their way of thinking. Disagreement is not to be tolerated; this is actually why I moved out of my mother's house at the age of 20, despite attending university in my home town. She laid down an ultimatum about politics, religion, and my core beliefs which mandated I leave.
My background in science would not let me comply. I am a woman of science! I cannot ignore the enormous amount of data that tells me the universe is billions of years old. I cannot in conscience believe in Creationism. And, as a follower of the Goddess, I find it impossible to believe in their Biblical literalism.
Study has taught me otherwise.
Added to this is the practice issue of transportation. Where my family lives, there is little to no public transportation. A low vision person cannot live and work where there are few to no buses, where you cannot meet your daily needs if you do not drive.
Johnstown, at very least, has a reasonably good bus system.
There are blessings in my life. I now have a nice apartment usually free of insects in public housing with reasonable rent. I still have my cockatiel, Mithril, for the last nine years.
But to keep my home means I still need to pay that rent, even subsidized as it is. I still must pay the electric (you have never seen anyone more frugal with power -- yet the bills are still insanely high!). I still must pay my internet service -- impossible to look for work without internet service; the public library is miles away, in downtown. And I still must buy food; I seem to be averaging $50 a week for food, even taking advantage of every sale and every frugal device I know for groceries.
And of course, I must make minimum payments on those credit cards -- which is more per month than all the rest of my bills combined.
Yet I still have more money in the bank than allowed to get food stamps with its $2000 limit. The irony of ironies is that in doing things right, planning ahead, and being frugal, I do not yet meet their criteria for food assistance or any other sort of assistance -- at least, not yet.
I am falling between the cracks yet again...and this time, I really could be on the street in the weather, prey to everyone bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than I am. I do not have enough money to cover my bills into the spring, no matter how careful I am.
I would rather die than live on the street!
And yet because I have survived so much violence -- SEVEN "near" death experiences before the age of 14 -- I have no reason to believe that divinity has any plans of letting me go for a very long time, no matter how much I suffer.
I wonder if there is any mercy in divinity and why s/he/it would keep bringing me off the edge of death only to let me suffer a fate worse than death this year.
And yes, I am terrified. I can no more see light past this storm of a recession than Denethor could.
My feelings are more terror than despair.
But I am out of ideas!
What more can I do to secure my survival?
What help is there?
I need money!
i walk alone in the dark in my home (daring not to even light a night light to help me in my two-floor apartment) in utter terror. I feel hungar and am afraid to eat or drink. I worry about being able to buy the medicine I need to lessen the agony in my skull created by the traumatic brain injury that killed me at the age of 13.
Is it time to stop taking my medicine in hopes of saving some money? Does it even matter anymore how much agony I am in physically?
I do not know what to do! I ask for help and am shunned, as if I were some criminal scum for just not wanting to be on the street.
Holy Mother, Creatrix of the Universe...I am afraid!
Laurel A. Rockefeller, author
The Great Succession Crisis
E-Book ISBN: 9781476243344
Print book ISBN: 978-1479144808