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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Being broke is no joke


Unemployed for the past year, my savings are gone. I’ve moved back in with my mother. I am living on $44 a week on unemployment, which has been shut off for two weeks until my federal emergency unemployment comes through. It could be a month or two before it starts again. Unemployment, which I have paid into since I started working at 15 years old, is my only source of income.

I live on food stamps. Two hundred dollars a month is my saving grace – along with food baskets from the Salvation Army every three months. It’s illegal, but last week I had to sell $40 worth of food stamp groceries for cash in order to get gas for my car.

Being unemployed is boring. After you apply at every restaurant, shop and business within a 30 mile radius you reapply again.  

I believe my age (50ish) is playing some part in the neglect my full resume garners so far. I’ve redone my resume so many times so it adheres to the job requirements, and even that specialization has not helped a bit. Not a nibble. Not one call.

I volunteered for a while – to network, connect with my community, and help out others less fortunate – but without gas I can’t even do that anymore.

Before I was unemployed, I would frequently take weekend road trips all over the state but being broke stopped the trips and many other things you think you can’t live without, until you do have to live without.  
I shaved my head and am saving on haircuts this year. While I have never indulged in a manicure, now it is getting rough to do it myself because I can’t afford luxuries such as polish remover, et al.

Even eating out would be a thrill. Getting out of the house to have someone else cook a great meal for you – wow! What a concept. (First thing I will do when I get a paycheck.)

People judge you on what you do, and when you do nothing, some people make you feel like nothing. Being broke is a humiliating, humbling, numbing, and horrible existence.