This popped up on my Facebook screen yesterday and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.
I wrote it right around the time I quit my teaching career. Long story short, I was in a place in my life and illness where I had to make a decision. I was too sick to work, but not quite sick enough to collect disability.
I could either stay in my job to keep the health care I was depending on to manage illness, or quit it and heal.
I obviously chose the latter – not without its consequences.
Poverty is humiliating and I knew if I was going to heal, I had to go there.
Everyone knows poverty is hard. Just pay attention to how you feel the next time you pass a homeless person.
Being poor strips you of your dignity quickly.
I remember the first time I had to apply for heating assistance. The process was shameful.
Even friends and family have a difficult time really understanding what it’s like to have to choose between life necessities and prescription medication.
A few years back, my husband and I hit a deer with our car. We didn’t have insurance so I called my father to ask for a small loan to help us get through that moment. At the time, he couldn’t get past yelling at me for not having car insurance.
So there I was, in the middle of the road, in the middle of winter, poor, cold, and being admonished because I chose to forgo car insurance for thyroid medication.
I don’t blame my dad for his reaction because honestly, if you’ve never had to live out the consequences of those kinds of economic decisions in real time, you simply have no idea how to relate, much less help.
We are all struggling right now. People are getting sick. They’re loosing their income. They’re loosing their health care. They’re scared. And they know exactly how they feel while passing that homeless person.
No one wants to be poor because poverty is humiliating.