Friday, November 15, 2013

My name is Heidi: I am Destroying YOUR Country

I am face down on the floor in child's pose, inches away from the furnace warm air blowing over my body, tears pooling on the floor.

Adam took Ivory to the bus stop.  

Sylvan is playing. 

I am crying.  

I have been crying and crying and crying. 

I got the day wrong on which I was to deliver the salad to the staff lounge at Ivory's school and it was the last tiny little snow flake to land on a mountain of snow and set off an avalanche.  It is rushing down and nothing will stop the force of gravity until it reaches the valley floor. 

I will be the first to admit this is one part hormones mixed in with a million other things:  The feeling of failure that has been building for months.  The feeling that I am okay at many things but not great at anything and not being able to figure out at which skill I am supposed to excel.  The years of sleepless nights.  My constant battle against the natural state of the universe - chaos.  The clash of schedules and occupations in our house hold.  At this point I want, no need, to get into the woods with an insane desperation, and Adam after having been in the woods all week wants to be home, needs to be home to finish things around here.  The weeks and weeks of it just being me.  The obsessive canning because I am terrified, all be it unreasonably, that someday there will be no more food.  The expiration of the Recovery Act. 

The thing is, I can tell you exactly the moment this started.  The moment at which the fear and self doubt started to take over.  I was digging a new garden bed that now holds garlic and strawberries in wait for next summer.   Adam in Idaho (on a job for the forest service).  The government shut down eminent.  (Yup.  That project got furloughed and thankfully rescheduled.)  The content on my Facebook feed had shifted, sure there were the petitions to remove pay for the members of congress, the bi-partisan bitching that was to be expected, but underneath it all there is a more terrifying attitude of which I caught a glimpse.  Did any body else notice it?  It haunts me.  It grabbed me and it will not leave me alone.  It is this:  according to my Facebook feed it is not those with money and influence that are ruining this country - no - it is me.  Me. ME.  

A friend liked this text.  A friend I thought I liked - liked this text.  So, I read it.  I read the comments. I couldn't stop reading it. I know the ideas and stereotypes embodied in these paragraphs are ignorant.   I took enough sociology classes, and political science classes and have enough life experience to know the absolute ridiculousness of these words and yet -

It crushed me. 

The thing is these posts keep coming:
Monster energy drinks can now be purchased with EBT benefits.  (I don't agree with the logic of this either, but in my opinion most of our grocery stores are filled with non-food items, but no one is complaining about instant pudding or white bread or lunch-ables or go-gurt or American cheese - because the discussion isn't really about food - is it?) 
The welfare mom vs. the veteran.
The us vs. them.
The responsible vs. the irresponsible. 
The worthy vs. the unworthy.

I am an EBT card at the grocery store and to some, I am destroying the integrity of this country one swipe at a time, but for this moment -

I am crying.  

I am crying because the only thing left in the garden is kale.  
I am crying because when I try to talk to Adam about this all he hears is your not good enough, you don't work hard enough - which is not what I am meaning, but what I am hearing as well.  
I have not told him about the Facebook post.  I will not. 

When Adam walks back in he says nothing - just presses is hands into  my lower back - and then pours me a cup of coffee.  I thankfully note that he is for once not offering suggestions, fixes, frustration at my frustration.  What is there to fix? 

I cry until I everything is calm. 

I am empty. 

I get up and go. 

I take the salad to the staff lounge. 
It fresh and crisp - lettuce with apples and carrots, walnuts and raisins, a sprinkling of feta and home made honey mustard dressing.  


  1. Heidi,

    Do I know EXACTLY where you are coming from!!!! Your post brings tears to my eyes as I think back and consider my life, now. And now all I can say is that I share your pain, your frustration, the cock-eyed schedules, the EBT woes, the fear of something not being there, on and on and on. So, I can cry with you, if that is any solace what so ever.

    I remember vowing NEVER EVER to shop at Albertson's again. The State of Oklahoma had just come out with the EBT card, and mine wasn't working. Remember the story? The cashier hollering all they way down the row of registers with the disparaging comments about food stamp people, all because my card wouldn't work. I know that had it been a credit card, reactions would have been MUCH DIFFERENT. The stares, the people even backing away, like I was some kind of disease and I might be catching. And my immediate feeling of shame....I held my head high, but the inner shame!!!! And then being mad at myself for being ashamed....

    I was afraid, too. I guess with you it's the food. With me, it was (and is) winter clothes and blankets. That's probably a difference in culture, since I did so much raising children outside of the US....but I was always terrified that I would not have warm enough clothing for you kids. So I hung on to EVERYTHING, took all the clothing I could that was given to me, remade, refashioned, passed down....etc., etc. Shoes were terrible for me, because I couldn't make them....I remember finding the little leather boots having been chewed through by mice (or rats) there in the train-station house. I was DEVASTATED....what to do for a set of child's boots now? I cried and cried!!!!

    So I do relate. That's why I, myself, tend to stay away from blogs, posts, etc.....and even the news at times. I am so tired of hearing the stereotypes and the railing on everyday people who are struggling to get by. It disgusts me. And it disgusts me even more when the 'everyman' and 'everywoman' have internalized the hogwash and spread it further. I just think, sometimes, do you know how close you could be, everyperson, to becoming that which you are teaching yourself to despise? A market crash at the "wrong" time, a car accident, a health issue, a company decision to cut a job, a 'you're not educated enough", a 'you're too educated', oh, and 'would we have to make arrangement for child care?....OH, well, we actually hired someone else already, on and on and on.

    Okay, I'm done at the moment, I guess. I love you, and I'm thinking of you. I'll try to call you later.

    1. Oh, mom, don't worry - we always have enough food... it isn't a fear that is actually real. I have hundreds of pounds of food lining my walls. It is a more existential fear of a lack of community and understanding I suppose. I worry about the unknown, but the thing I can most directly influence are the things growing in the garden and so I just keep putting in more beds.
      I worry about not being able to pay for piano lessons, or gymnastics or provide any sort of extracurricular activities for Ivory. I worry about no retirement, about having passed my highest earning years as a stay at home mom. I worry about future cuts to benefit programs because people are motivated by ignorance and stereotypes and misinformation. I worry because our family is one that falls into the Obama care hole. I have never felt so disappointed and let down. Because Montana did not expand medicaid there is nothing for us in the Obamacare set up since we are below the poverty level and don't actually qualify for the market place with out over estimating our income.

      Other than that life is 95 percent awesome. I just don't understand the other 5 percent. :)