Monday, March 10, 2014

Soul Crushing

So many things are "soul crushing" in this world.  But on the top of that list is constantly dealing with ones on poverty, homelessness, or racism and bigotry they are forced to endure.  People seem to think that the event happens, and then its gone, but the truth is that these things tend to linger and add weight.  They never really go away, they just fester.  The longer it happens, the more your soul dies.

These four things do not really crush the soul, they damage a persons spirit.  Each and every time someone makes a racist or bigoted comment to a person, the one assaulted dies a little inside.  Each day a person struggles through poverty or homelessness, they loose a little of who they are.  At some point, they just die inside, they go through the motions of caring, they might even carry on a day job, work, raise children, are good parents in many ways, but the dead look in their eyes gives it all away.

You know that look, the eyes are open, but they no longer shine.  They are dull they might be clear, but they are darker than you might expect, they show nothing.  Like a poker player sitting on a pair of two's while his opponent is sitting on a flush, they attempt to bluff you, but if you have seen it enough, you can read right through it.  I have seen it too many times to count.  And we tend to see ourselves in others.

People just do not understand what it is to walk around in the shoes of someone else.  People do not want to be tormented by racists and bigots.  People do not want to be in poverty or homeless, nobody wants those things in their life.  Not at the beginning of it anyway.  In the beginning as someone starts slipping into poverty they fight.  As someone who is experiencing bigotry and racism will fight.  They might not fight all the time, but they pick and choose their battles.  But the cumulative toll these things take on the mind and the body, that is where the real damage comes from.

Spend years, decades of your life being discriminated against.  Spend years of your life barely inking by.  After a while your soul gets crushed repeatedly.  Well, its not really your soul, but your spirit, the drive the moves you forward.  The ability to pick yourself up after getting laid out, it suffers most.  Sure people love to tell you when you get knocked down, you get back up.  But picture poverty, homelessness, racism and bigotry like you would a boxing match.

The match starts, both fighters are fresh, and the real fight begins.  In the first few rounds, you really don't see any change in the fighters.  They are static, basically unchanging, blow after blow they fight.  Eventually, the signs of trouble start developing for one fighter.  He doesn't move as quickly, his hits down carry the same weight as before.  Eventually the fighter gets knocked down, and then returns to his feet, and so the match will go until it is finished. 

But now, if you can put yourself in the shoes of someone else, you might find the experience disheartening, almost sickening really.  Things happen, they always do, and I wish it could be as simple as pointing at one event, but lets just say that due to some unforeseen circumstances you find yourself talking one of those lower wage jobs.  But you are alright, you were "smart" enough to live well within your means.  As it progresses time changes everything.  Prices do not stay static, they grow, but your wages do not grow.  Before you know it, you are sliding down the hill towards the debt cliff.  Fight as you may, you never can grab anything to stop that slow slide.

The problem is, the more you fight, the more you punish yourself, and the faster you slide towards that cliff.  Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.  But anyway you want to look at it, you are on the tip of the blade, one wrong move, one gust of wind, and you are going to fall, and you will.  You always do, because the strain of being perfect day in and day out takes its toll.  Working multiple jobs, sleeping fewer hours they take a toll on your mind and your body. 

Ultimately, you may or may not go onto welfare, you may or may not have a choice on it.  I know what you are saying but be honest with yourself if no one else.  If it came down to ensuring your kids had something to eat, you would.  Or you would risk stealing.  But that is just another part of this.

As you slide down hill, and fall off the cliff, people start beating you up more, because you failed.  You failed, because you were not smart enough, you did not work hard enough, you did not do enough to prevent your situation.  And when everything all boils down at the end of it, You are beaten and scarred.  But are you broken.

Sometimes I wake up, and it is a challenge to get out of bed in the morning.  I really wonder why I bother to get up some days.  But I do, it beats laying on an air mattress all the time.  I try to find work, I write here, and some other stuff, I try to fill my time the best way I can.  I often look at different curio-rifles online, and dream of the day that I can actually buy them.  But most of my day is filled filling out applications for jobs, and writing.  Sure, you think I should run down anywhere and get a job, but see its not so simple these days.  These days people want perfect credit, which long since left my grasp.  People want yes men, something that I have never really been.  Sure I can tow the company line, but when something is well out of bounds, I will comment on it, and I won't sugar coat it.  I can't anymore, well I could, but really its not as if I could do it for the months to year and a half it would take to rebuild my credit. 

It is always easier to stand on the sidelines and offer suggestions.  To tell people how to fix their world, their life, and themselves.  We tend to forget that.  But it isn't so clear cut and easy when it is you having others tell you what to do, when they really haven't been as far down the rabbit hole as you have.  Always keep that in mind, always.