The next time a write anything, I’ll probably be homeless.
Did you think I wrote the title in farce, for a good laugh, a bit of self-deprecating humor?
I only wish it were a joke. Though I don’t blame you, if you did think it was one. Only an hour ago I would have laughed if you told me such a scenario was not only a possibility, but a likelihood.
Financially my family has not been in a good state for a long time now, ever since my father left us, forcing my mother, who had spent the majority of her life as a housewife, into the workforce, with no skills, no qualifications. We have tried contacting him for money, but he has steadfastly refused on all counts, providing the well-worn excuse that he is “a grown-man” who can choose what to spend his own money on (he also, incidentally, divorced my mother in order to no longer have to have responsibility for any of his children anymore, and go off on expensive holidays for himself). It has been hard for us. Rage towards my father, rather than physical deprivation, has been more difficult. But the deprivations have not been great, comparatively. Yes, we have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, electricity and water and beds to sleep in – but it can only last so long. One lay-off, which is becoming more likely day-by-day, and we are done, finished, out on the streets with nothing but a beat-up car and suitcases to carry whatever belongings we could salvage.
Getting a job myself has been an unsuccessful endeavor, to say the least. Not only did I waste money on expensive paper and ink to print out resumes, I also put myself through taxing situations, fighting against my anxiety whilst trying to appear confident before people who would, a second after I left, throw my resume into the wastepaper basket. All that stress and money and effort, and for what? Nothing. Government assistance, though a possibility, has not been forthcoming because of various bureaucratic issues; our family, of four, including my mother, myself, my younger sister and brother are currently subsisting on less than $36,000 a year (a combination of my mother’s wages, working at a job for which she endures back pain and will probably will unable to maintain for any longer, and governmental family assistance). For those of you who live in Australia and know all too well the expensive housing and utility and food bills in this country, especially in a city pricy as Sydney, such an amount, for four people, is a pittance. So lately, to help pay the rent, we have been living off potatoes, peas, corn and carrots, and cutting back on showers and any items beyond necessities.
At first my reaction to this turn of events was, as I wrote before, rage. Other people had parents who had worked their whole lives to provide them with a stable home, while my very own father left me, left his wife and children, and took all the money with him (the child support he supplies, mandated by the government, is only a tiny chip in the weekly grocery bill; mother believes he has his real wealth hidden elsewhere, away from the taxpayer’s clutches). But anger did nothing, it only made me threw me into depression. Well, I surfaced from the depression, as some of you may know from my posts, but my anxiety spiked after the divorce. A huge leap from repressed anxiety to agoraphobic-levels of panic whenever I stepped out of the house and encountered any people. It was if the breach of trust I experienced with my father tore a rift through my heart, stopping me from interacting with the world altogether without finding it difficult to breathe – and of course, these panic attacks then impacted my course attendance, which made others treat me less nicely and worsened my anxiety, which then made me feel more frightened and lost and alone. Anxiety is a common disorder, and thus sufferers, even in cases severe as mine where it is difficult to leave the house, are generally refused the disability pension in Australia.
At this point in time I have slipped back into a state of depression, and I am unsure how to proceed from here on. It came upon me suddenly, when mother told us homelessness was a very real possibility. What makes me feel especially frustrated with the whole affair is that I am an able-bodied eighteen-year-old who possesses the ability to write (if not well, at least able to communicate my thoughts in a coherent form) and relatively useful traits, such as empathy and creativity – only because of my anxiety disorder, and my free-spirited nature which makes it difficult to survive in any conformist system, including classrooms, I am unable to help my mother in any way, either through pursuing education or employment, and will thus, despite not being in any way mentally or physically challenged, end up on the streets.
With such a great weight pressing upon me at the threat of this occurrence, it is hard to believe in the only thing I care for in the world, which is my writing, my Art. It has become all too clear to me how far I still need to go in terms of becoming a capable writer, who can earn an income through her published fiction. In the meantime, one possibility is to find a job that involves writing, but many of them require degrees and experience which I do not have and, currently, cannot obtain; and even if I were to land those jobs, my anxiety would cripple me somewhere down the line sooner or later, as it has countless times before.
The logical thing to do, then, would be to write. Write to stave off the fear, write to re-discover my self-belief. But, apart from the odd post here and there on my blog, I haven’t been doing any other writing – partly because I was depressed, and medicated myself through escapism, and partly because I was afraid of the inadequacy that would consume me when I approached the page. Well, it turns out that the self-hatred you feel for procrastinating is a thousand times deeper than writing poor words. It is a burning in my chest, this hate, eating me up from the inside, and I feel as if I must do something before there is nothing of me left. Besides, it very clear to me now that, all along, I have been a delusional child, thinking I could write, believing I could make this work, for a quick perusal of the internet showed me just how much more I needed to go before I could write half as well as all the journalists out there. To be a writer you must have a day job – and if you can’t hold down a day job, and therefore don’t have enough food to eat or a roof over your head, you can’t pursue your artistic passions. Art, for me, flows when I am relaxed; if I am stressed or anxious, the gush is stilted, blocked. In fact, forget about writing and art altogether: it is clear I have not a scrap of hope or talent, and have been wasting my time and deluding myself.
But stress is inevitably what I will experience if we were to become homeless. Living on the streets, or even in unfamiliar accommodation, makes me feel high-strung and anxious; I am disgustingly, abnormally sensitive by normal accounts, and find even sleeping on a strange bed as horrific as having cockroaches crawling in a steady tide over my body. I suppose, when the event does occur, we will merely have to sleep in the car after parking it in whatever safe place we could find. Even then, it is difficult not to be afraid of vandals breaking open your windows in the middle of the night – not to mention the cold.
The days would be a little better; I could stay at the public library, where there is light and books and warmth, only my anxiety is bound to be high in such an environment, so I’ll have to read in the toilets, as I have done on multiple occasions, until I capitulate (I am sensitive to smell as well, so the stench doesn’t help matters) and leave. Where would I go, then? Back into the car, I suppose, reading with the sunlight streaming in through the windows, trying to get into a more comfortable position. How on earth would we be able to cook or get food? A homeless shelter somewhere could perhaps provide some cheap, processed food, and I am sure there is one around where I currently reside. Yet another place, on a long list, where I would have to meet strangers in foreign environments; the thought is enough to make someone like me, who has been diagnosed in the past (though the psychiatrist, cruelly, elected not to write it down, for fear of branding me with a “label” for the rest of my life, thereby preventing me from receiving access to many services) with Asperger’s, scream.
Right, so, I need to calm down, I think, which is easier said than done. My heart is fluttering quick as a hummingbird’s, and everything about the world has grown very thin and hollow. Not a soul cares whether we live or die, are happy or sad – that is truth of it. The world is a place of exploitation, where those who are sociopaths, or just plain selfish like my father, triumph, and everyone who possesses anything good in them, like kindness or empathy, are pushed to society’s fringes, dealt the least food from the Grand Plate. For instance, did you know that those who own the banks, and therefore own the population, produce money out of thin air? For being the masterminds behind the system, they are able to have limitless wealth at their fingertips without having to do very much work at all, except to convince everyone of their own legitimacy. It is a miserable world, in truth, thousands dying in hospitals alone, people working themselves to the bone to get by, or trapped in soulless jobs. It’s a mess, but it’s a mess that works, that self-perpetuates itself, feeding on hatred and fear and hopelessness, so it’ll most likely keep on going, the human race gradually driving itself into deeper and deeper destruction and unhappiness. What does it matter, though? None of us, including our species, is going to last forever; so there is really no use fretting over it. Suffering and happiness are the same thing, in the end.
I want to die satisfied, that’s all that I want, and the only way I can do that is to continue polishing my writing skills until I can write the books I want to write, bring the worlds and characters in my head out of my mind and onto the page. To die, with my published books arranged beside me, is my true dream. Thus, towards that aim, I am willing to endure anything, even homelessness; for as long as I am alive, I can read, and I can write, and that is all that matters, even if the conditions in which I read and write in are not ideal. For my Art, there is no agony or fear or hatred and cruelty I could not endure.
Still that does not dispel the present realities of excruciating self-doubt and financial worries. Recently my sister asked my mother to take $200 out of her bank account, nearly all her savings, to replace her phone, which she had dropped into, of all places, the toilet bowl, and broken. Without consulting me, my mother, guilty at the deprivations she had been placing on her children for months, finally acquiesced, and so now we have no financial buffer, no matter how slight, while my sister has a shiny new phone she would be hard-pressed to re-sell for half the price it was bought for. I screamed at her, nearly crying, when I found out, but all that brought me was greater defiance on my sister’s part and a sore throat.
There is no winning or losing in this world. It’s a rotten business, all of it, once you get a good look at it, so downright rotten it’s no wonder millions jump off bridges and shoot themselves through the heads each year. Meanwhile, people with fat accounts and fingers in all the right pies, who likely engendered many suicides due to the control system they set up for their own benefit, probably sit in their mansions, happy as cats fed a canary-only diet, supping on the blood and flesh and time of the human population. Their lips are smeared with blood, they fingernails crusted with the stuff – and I am going to stay strong, to make sure none of it will ever be mine.