When The Rug of Life is Pulled Out from Under You

Never Give Up!
Never Give Up! | Source
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I believe we all walk a line between the person we think we are and the person we really are every day. Sometimes that line becomes fuzzier and other times more clear. Few people get the opportunity to step over that line and see themselves clearly, even for just a minute. I got that chance the other day when I stepped into the local Department of Economic Security. I was not there because I wanted to be, I was there because I had to be.

I was raised in a middle class family with an ultra-conservative father. When I turned 18 I identified myself with the Republican party. I graduated from high school, obtained my Bachelor’s Degree, got married, had a beautiful baby girl and then completed my Master’s Degree over a span of 16 years.

I have worked full time, part time, telecommuted and worked as a mom. I have been under-qualified, over-qualified and totally terrified. I have been a Type A personality and a Type B personality. Neither label ever made a difference. That is my life in a nutshell.

I am your mother, sister, niece, daughter, aunt, neighbor and friend.

I was brought to my knees 5 years ago with the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was in my 30s and had no idea what was to come. I thought I could not fall further than my knees until I was diagnosed with 20 additional conditions, all while facing divorce.That knocked me right on my butt. I now lay down at least twice a day in order to gather enough energy to get back up and do the things I need to do to care for my lovely daughter and contribute to our household. Millions of people out there, maybe you or someone you love, faces similar struggles.

I am unable to work, have no health insurance, my daughter has a chronic illness and we are living with my mom. I am now almost 40 years old. My mom cannot afford to support us on her income, nor should she have to. My one day to be ex-husband is doing his best to help us out while trying to support himself separately as well.

All inner demon and self esteem issues aside, my daughter and I are barely scraping by. My mother’s Golden Years are now more of an Avocado or Burnt Umber.

The DES office was a big room lined with small plastic chairs, all filled with people. It was hot and the walls were incredibly dirty. I kept wondering, "Why don't they paint the walls a darker color?" It would camouflage the dirt. I don't understand why the walls were so dirty.

This was one DES office in the State of Arizona. Just one. There were so many people there waiting for help. How many millions of people are sitting in DES offices across the country, asking for help, in this, the richest country in the world?

Each story is different, but basically the same: Chronic pain, job loss, abandonment and illness. There are so many of us who are lost; so many who just cannot make it.

I am willing to bet that not one person wanted to be there, but they had no choice. They - no, we, all have children, spouses, siblings, parents or other loved ones in need. The room was filled with people of all shapes, colors, genders and sizes. We were all the same. We needed help. I sat there with my Master’s Degree, while my waiting room buddies sat there with their Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, life experience, retirement, PhDs, and their infants.

There were not many smiles there, but there were some. The employees looked tired, but they kept calling names, calling people into the back office to try to help. They were wearing Hawaiian clothing for an office celebration, so their clothing was bright. Their faces were not. They had cake in the office and one employee told me that they never finish a cake when it's brought in. I thought that was weird. Usually offices are full of human locusts who descend and devour anything edible. Not here though. They just weren't hungry.

I waited for about 2.5 hours until my name was called. I have waited longer to see a doctor. I followed my representative into her cubicle. Her desk faced the back of her space. A chair sat behind her meant for me. She faced her monitor the entire time and not once looked me in the eye. She was polite, but I wondered if her work area was set up that way on purpose. Perhaps to avoid prolonged conversation or maybe it's just too painful to see people struggling every day.

I neglected to bring the paperwork she needed to complete my interview. She asked me why. I felt like a boob answering, “I’m sorry. I guess I did not read the instructions well enough.” She explained the importance of following directions as I held my hands in my lap and tried not to feel like a wayward child. My real answer, the one I could not say aloud was, “I am desperate and scared. I don’t know what I am doing. I can’t remember to wash my hair, much less find documentation I no doubt put somewhere safe where I may never find it.”

Why are so many of us struggling? I am online a lot, I watch the news, and I see and hear many fellow Americans talk about how the “lazy and useless” people are sucking the life out of our economy. I don’t know all of the facts and figures. They are just numbers to me. Before my life changed I was Republican. Now what am I? I am one girl out of millions who has lost many of life’s battles.

I refuse to label myself any longer. I looked around that large, unflatteringly lit room and saw myself in every person there: man, woman, black, white, brown, limping, able-bodied, young, old, client and employee. I was helped just as surely as the woman sitting next to me and the man sitting next to her. The employees did not leave that office until every person had been seen. They do that every single day.

We all stood on equal ground then and there. We all needed help to live. Not one person wanted to be there. Every person had to be there.

If you have read this far your question may be, “What is your point, woman?”

At one time I was a healthy, intelligent, motivated woman with hopes, goals and dreams. I am no longer healthy, but I remain an intelligent, compassionate, motivated woman with hopes, goals and dreams. They have changed drastically simply due to fate’s role of the dice and unexpected circumstances.

No one is safe. No one is immune. No amount of energy, education or preparation can protect you when you are slapped upside the head with tragedy or unexpected event.

The world would be a better place if all humans would open their eyes and recognize that we truly are all the same. We are all vulnerable. Our battles could be more effectively fought if we would withhold judgment and realize that every one of us is one unfortunate circumstance away from DES, one circumstance from hoping and praying we can get the help when we need it, along with compassion, understanding and respect.

Many of us are losing battles each day, but that does not mean that with the understanding and compassion of others, we cannot win the war. It is not a war of monetary or professional success, but the war of ultimate survival; basic security and the knowledge deep in our hearts that every single one of us counts. We all deserve compassion and we all should give it freely, without restraint.

Any one of us may be walking into DES tomorrow. I gave my cool bottle of water to a woman waiting in line with me – not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I learned something about myself the other day. My view of myself became suddenly clear when I realized I could not save anyone in that room with me. Heck, I cannot even save myself.

What I did learn is that heroes are everywhere; the 75 year-old man standing behind me saving a place in line for his ailing 50 year old daughter, the exhausted desk clerk who greeted me with a smile and called me "sweetheart", and the smiling baby in a very tired mom's lap who brightened the day of all those around her - they are all heroes to me. I also learned that without a doubt, compassion is not the answer to all of the world’s problems; but it is a damn good start.


Comments 29 comments

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

Very good hub and well written. Keep up the good work...


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

I love your writing style. You are such a talented writer. I wish you and your family well in the future.


Jennuhlee profile image

Jennuhlee 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

This was a very personal, raw piece of work, I'm glad you shared it. I'm sure it wasn't easy, what a painful story, but I'm glad you still manage to have a good outlook. I have a mother on food stamps with more kids than she can feed and a father who has always been on more of a right track. I've lived my whole life on both sides, currently my father is laid off and my step mother being cut to part time due to senate bill 5 and my mother is making more from the government than most people with college degrees. It's a messed up world. You're right no one is immune. Nothing is fair.greathub


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much for reading this. I appreciate it so much. Sending positive thoughts to you all.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Members of Congress who think they're doing the country a favor by cutting (or eliminating altogether) funding for programs that are the last resort for a good portion of the population should be required to spend a week in the waiting rooms of DES offices and see that the people there are NOT the stereotypical deadbeat or "loser", only people who have been felled by circumstances not of their making or choosing.

Thank you for sharing this part of your life, and may you find all the paperwork necessary to obtain the help you and your daughter so desperately need. ;D


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you again JamaGenee. I know there must be some solutions out there that have yet to be found. I am feeling very positive that this too shall pass. It seems that it usually works that way in life. Thanks for your visit! :)


vmsacting 5 years ago

You have ALWAYS amazed me. I hope writing this is helping you work through what you need. I pray for you and your health, my dear friend


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much vmsacting, my friend. Thank you for reading my work and thank you for being my friend. You are pretty wonderful yourself!!


butterflyblessing profile image

butterflyblessing 5 years ago

Bless your heart...you are truly inspirational to say the least. As someone who has experienced many of the same situations that you are facing in your life right now; it takes someone who is very strong to face the type of adversity you are up against. I am 35 years old and have been diagnosed with Lupus and Rhuematoid Arthrits for the past ten years; along with an extensive list of other problems that come along with them. Along the way I lost my ability to work and support myself, my husband walked off and left me because he could never handle my illness, I ended up on disability after fighting the system for three years, and I have to depend on my parents to help me because as you know Social Security doesn't pay enough to survive. It's horrible enough when you cannot control what is going on inside of your body, much less what is going on around you...it's frustrating to say the least. But you are really amazing and it was so uplifting and refreshing to read your article; even during this crisis in your life you showed so much compassion to others and you brought to light the struggles of so many who do not have a voice out there. It definitely hit close to home and I just want to say thank you so much...I will be praying for you and your daughter; keep your faith strong and believe in yourself. Hugs!:)


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much, ButterflyBlessing. Your words are lovely and I appreciate you reading my piece. I am sorry you are experiencing similar struggles with health and marriage, etc. I feel blessed to have my parents in my life, just as you do. I know there are so many people out there without any support. Thank you for writing and I'm sending prayers right back out there for you too. Sending hugs as well!


Darknlovely3436 profile image

Darknlovely3436 5 years ago from NewYork

profound interesting hub


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you Darknlovely3436. I appreciate it greatly.


Skye 5 years ago

Jen- This was great you are always so personable with your writing. I have always enjoyed that about you (Jen and I have worked together many years ago). You are so talented things will get better, they have to.


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you sweet Skye. You are so sweet and thank you so much. I hope you are doing well. Sending much love and I appreciate your reading my piece. :)


Donna Laubli 5 years ago

Jen, beautifully written and unfortunately so hard to write about something so personal that so many can relate to. Your story brings humanity into the situation so many find ourselves in globally, but the extra burden of heath for you and your family makes me want to cry for you all, for someone so beautiful going through such horrid times cannot be fair. I know you’re a wonderful and determined sole, with a huge heart. I know you will find reason for everything that is happening to you and your family right now and that will come to light in the future. Maybe it’s to share the message of hope and resilience, maybe when times are really bad, the good times feel more than wonderful. My heart and prayers go to you and your beautiful family at this time and know that so many people send their love. Hugs Donna


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much Donna. I appreciate you reading my article and your kind words. It really does make me appreciate every good day that passes and I certainly appreciate my girls. I am blessed to you know and thank you so much.


old albion profile image

old albion 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi delaneyworld. Your strength shines through with this heartbreaking hub. I have a chronic and debilitating neuromuscular, muscle wasting condition. I use a wheelchair and a ventilator to help me to breath. I only mention this so that you can appreciate it when I say, I understand your feelings. In time we are able to come to 'acceptance' when we do, things do become easier. I wish you all that you wish yourself, having lost your husband to divorce must be totally devastating for you. With the help of your mother and daughter, you will gain strength, though I understand your concern when you see mum working so hard for you.

Stay strong, stay on hubpages and keep in touch with what is going on out there.

Voted up and all.

Graham.


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 3 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much Graham. It makes a huge difference to know you are not alone and that others understand how you feel. I can look at all of my problems and still realize that life is good. I remain forever grateful for what I've been given; my family, friends and people like you. Sending you my best wishes and hoping you know also that you are never alone.


DemiT profile image

DemiT 3 years ago from Greece

Dear delaneyworld, we are all different and all the same! We need to realize that all of us make this world go round and we might be weak, ill, poor, disabled and many other things but at the end, we are all human and all we have to do is love!

Thank you for sharing this personal story...beautiful:)


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 3 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much, DemiT. I agree! Thank you for reading. :)


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

delaneyworld,

I can't believe this. My all-time favorite song on this hub. And the title of this hub, I know you think I am strange, but this hub was written for me.

This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be quite frank with you.

I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb. Interesting, in-depth, helpful, and very informative. Great job.

Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 2 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you so much, Mr. Avery. It is my favorite song too. I think, for me, it is a song that is sad but so full of hope at the same time. Thank you for reading my piece. Thank you for voting it up as well. I have to say that life isn't easy, but the adventure is extraordinary! Take care. I'm off to read some of your Mr. Kenneth Avery's work!


Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Hi, delaneyworld,

It's 3:42 p.m., cdst, on July 5

Did you have a safe and happy holiday? I did. It was hot. I did not do anything due to my daughter being in The University of Alabama, Birmingham, hospital with a blood clot that has taken three weeks to dissolve. It has caused her lungs to have to be suctioned and other things, but Praise God, she is doing good.

I know you wonder what I am doing home. My wife, and my oldest granddaughter and my daughter's husband are with her. We only have one car and with my Fibromyalgia I cannot ride long distances, but I am in contact via phone all of the time.

Thanks for reading my hubs. I appreciate you very much.


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 2 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Hi Kenneth: Our holiday was safe, quiet and happy, thank you. It is hot here too - like stepping into an oven.

I am so so sorry to hear about what your daughter is going through! That has to be very scary. I pray that she continues to do well and makes a full recovery.

I totally understand why you would not be able to be there in person. Fibro can really take a toll on you physically and mentally and the one car issue is one we work with as well.

It sounds like you have a wonderful and supportive family all around. Sending many blessings to you, your family and your sweet daughter. I will keep you all in my prayers.


Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Dear (new friend) delaneyworld,

"Thank you so very much for the sweet, sweet words. And I feel your support and care in them too."

"Thank you too, for understanding and yes, I give God the praise for those around me and YOU TOO."

"Not long ago I was prone to say that I HAVE THE BEST FOLLOWERS ON HUBPAGES," and YOU proved my point.

Thanks again and may God bless you richly.


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 2 years ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Thank you new friend Kenneth. I am very pleased that you found my article and that I've gained a new friend as a result. Thank you for your kind words as well. I look forward to reading more of your articles and getting to know you even more. Take care and please have a restful night. Talk to you soon.


Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

You are very welcome, delaneyworld. "I" am the one whom is blessed. You have a peaceful sleep and stay in touch and I am so thankful to have you in my world.


will 22 months ago

really nice article. amazing strength shown by you.

im in the middle of a bad patch - unfulfilled by by job, was on the brink of being offered a new job yesterday, rug pulled, position put on hold..

was in love until 3 weeks ago in the honeymoon period of a new relationship with a girl I really opened my heart to, rug pulled, ex boyfriend back on the scene, girl vanished from my life..

I live in Australia, my mother is in the uk, found out she got breast cancer in new year, rug pulled, am scared and feel useless here but cant go home as ive too much of my life to sort here..

this is life, just need to focus on the good things and bounce back - sometimes the light appears to be dim but as long as you're moving towards it, there is always hope.

love to everybody x


delaneyworld profile image

delaneyworld 22 months ago from Peoria, Arizona Author

Hi Will: Thank you for reading my article and leaving such an encouraging comment. I am sure sorry to hear about your job, ex-girlfriend and your mom. You are so right about focusing on the good things. I have a really weird sense of humor, so I can find humor in almost anything. Not everything, but almost. ;)

I will keep you and your mom in my thoughts. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for you right now.

Thank you again and sending love to everybody too. I cannot express how much I appreciate everyone reading my articles, sharing your experiences and even offering such kind words and advice!

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