September 15, 2004

I Keep My Ego in a Thimble

I am in a bit of a bad mood with myself today. I hate it when I open my big mouth and say something really thoughtless without even noticing, and then 10 minutes later I think "my god! did I really treat my good friend that way?!", but there's nothing really I can do to change it. *bleh*

Sometimes I feel so indebted to my friends that I just want to crawl under a rock with shame. It's humiliating to realise that as an adult I am of necessity having to abandon the fierce independence I nurtured from childhood. I think it's one of the worst failings of the welfare system. Not only do I feel like a second-class-citizen for being on the benefit in the first place, but because the benefit does not cover basic living expense, let alone incidental costs, it means that welfare doubly robs people of their self-esteem and independence.

Not only are beneficiaries humbled to the government, but they have to humble themselves to friends, family, loan-sharks, ministers and charities as well, regularly, just to make ends meet. It's not a one-off begging that you can swallow and say "ok, well, when I get back on my feet I'll be able to redeem my pride and hold my head high", it's a constant dripping of abasement that leaves me feeling worthless and a failure, but also fiercely angry and humiliated. "Please can you give me $20 so I can buy food?" "Please, I had to go to the doctor twice last week so I'm $80 down and can't afford to rego the car" "I'm sorry I have to ask you again, but... "

And all the time I'm having those conversations with friends that I love and respect and don't want to do this to, I'm just loathing myself for doing it, loathing my life that's led me to having to do it, and loathing the government for only giving me enough to allow me to die more slowly.

Forcing people to this level of desperation and humiliation is just creating a bunch of desperate people who are angry with the whole world, who have nothing to lose except life itself, which is none so sweet for them...

Posted by phreq at September 15, 2004 11:02 AM | TrackBack

Jen, if you ever need to ask me for money. All I will feel is relief that you felt you could ask me. I would also feel happy that I did something good for someone else.

Also if you are thinking about coming back to wellington for a longer time. I am sure my Mum would be happy to employ you part-time to sell thai food at one of her stalls. She is always needing people! Money isn't great, plus I don't know how you would feel about surrounded by food all day, BUT it would guarantee you at least one free meal a day. Also they are mainly only busy over lunch-time so you wouldn't have to get up early or anything, it is also near Wellington Library and centre of town, in case you had other stuff you needed to do that is.

I know you probably aren't going to be coming to wellington for any period of time. Plus the job offer is a pretty lame one really. Also it is hard for you to do work when you need to spend time on self. So feel know pressure. Just giving you another option!


Posted by: Giffy at September 15, 2004 12:23 PM

I meant No pressure, not KnoW pressure. The students are rubbing off on me! ARGH!

Posted by: giffy at September 15, 2004 12:25 PM

I know what you mean Jen, but I also know that were I in the same situation, you would help me! So it is just karma or something. Also if you ever needed a bed and for some god knows why reason we all weren't around my mum has said she would be glad to have you as well!
Stupid government making my friend sad. GRR. I smack you! *smack*

Posted by: sok at September 15, 2004 02:50 PM

*hug* you guys are sweet :) Sorry, it's just sometimes it really gets to me... most of the time I can just ignore it and then somedays I'll just go "WTF?!"

I'm lucky to have great people to rely on. And I'm not as badly off as some, I know that. Lots to be grateful for. It's human nature to always want better, I guess!

I'm sooo looking forward to seeing y'all again... wellington is getting closer and closer :)

Posted by: phreq at September 20, 2004 10:29 AM


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