Once upon a time, there was a fair and beautiful land where no one and nothing could prevent anyone from achieving their dream life. Nothing. No one. Everything was possible if you just put on some magic panties and determined yourself to make your life a fairytale.
I don’t live in that world. I live in real life….where comments and notions like the above stab deep.This comment both blamed me for my misfortune, and accused me of not trying. It hurt me, not only personally, but for those whom I know are even more restricted from achieving their dreams….or for those people who do not even dream, because never have they even heard rumor of a fair land.
Perhaps they never were shown or taught even the most basics required to achieve their dreams. Maybe their dreams take a lot of money for start up. Maybe, just maybe…. they need help and no one has even looked their way. They may have come by meager help from government programing. They may have come across the ocean because they were told the only place they can dream is here, in the US… but deniers come around and say no one needs help. That everything is just there. Available. That all they need is a little hard work and magic panties and they can achieve every one of their dreams.
Since I cannot expound on everyone’s story, let me share mine. The one I was ridiculed for.
You see, I got a bachelors degree in psychology — and had not been accurately warned that there were no jobs for BS psychology individuals. My program gave no practical experience, so all I knew was the theoretical aspects of the profession….and I loved it.
After university (graduated with a 3.96 gpa), I could not find work. Two years of searching, and all I managed was a temp job here and there. When one finished, I finally found a job back on the campus I had attended for University, thanks to a friend who had previously worked there and knew of the job opening. I worked there for awhile, when all of a sudden everyone seemed to conspire and start pressuring me to go back to school.
My boss (they had to pay me more as a staff rather than a student), my parents, friends, and acquaintances. They said that’s how I’d get my dream life…the american dream.
So I went back to school to get a masters degree in counseling, continuing on the path of my undergraduate education. My professors knew I wasn’t happy. My friends knew I wasn’t happy. My intern supervisor knew… but I finished anyway. I could get over it, I told myself. I could do it just because.
Until I realized I had no joy, and none of what made me ME left. It had taken it ALL from me. I was living physically, but in all other ways I was dead. It wasn’t that I just didn’t like it. It was….like holding your breath while running a marathon. It was that sort of impossible. It both hurt and left me hollow.
So, after graduation, I promised myself I wouldn’t do that to myself any more. I would never sacrifice all of whom God created me to be, to satisfy perceived or actual expectations from other people. I knew God had created me for a purpose, and this was screamingly obviously not it.
So, I went on the job search. I worked a temp job for awhile, and then I found a full-time real grown up office job.
Things were going well, until there were rumblings of budget cuts, and I sensed my job was at risk….and it was….and my job was cut.
At first I attempted to run my own business, for about a month I was selling things at farmers markets– but being Seventh-day Adventist meant I could only go to Non-Saturday farmers markets. I only found one. It was small. On the best day I was there, I made about $50 — but I lost products due to the wind blowing things down and breaking them. I also wrote a book that year and self-published.
So… deep deep into the job search I went. 100+ applications. ZERO. ZERO!!!!!!! call backs. I tried out tried and true resume forms, new catchy creative ones. I tried emailing and networking. It took over a year to find a job.
And all I found was a part-time job….and I only found it because a friend was leaving the job and they hadn’t been able to find a replacement, so she mentioned it on Facebook and I saw the post and applied.
But, apparently I wasn’t trying. If I was trying I would have definitely achieved my dream job in that year…. and applying to over a hundred jobs is no big deal. So easy that I do it for fun now (NOT).
I cried so much over how stuck I felt. I was spinning and spinning my wheels and getting ZERO traction. I needed help….and I didn’t get any…so as soon as I had an ounce of energy, I’d go out there spinning my wheels again.
As for the driving. I had been terrified of learning to drive, perhaps more so because I wasn’t young and I didn’t know who to get to teach me. I wanted it to be a friend. Someone I felt comfortable making mistakes in front of (which I wasn’t comfortable doing in front of my parents). I would find friends willing, but it would end up not working out for more than one lesson. So my lessons were extended over months and years. I finally decided I didn’t have any friends who were able to teach me, so I had my dad teach me…and I conquered all my fears related to driving and failing –and I was SO PROUD of myself for finally pushing through all of that….and then I was shamed for it taking me a long time instead of being celebrated that I finally got my license.
Here’s the thing. That message (and the rest of the conversations I’ve had with individuals with similar mindsets) hurt me deeply. I honestly started thinking about not attending church, because I may run in to some of those people….because I believed that no one wanted me there anyway…I was depressed. I was lonely. I was scared about what my future would or wouldn’t hold. I needed friends so much (tempted to think I’m just not strong enough? Have you never had a period of bad luck and/or depression? Have you never felt like your friends just were’t there for you?– yeah… I thought you had experienced these things. We all do).
But I didn’t get those things. I got messages like the one above…and what frightened me the most was that I knew I could make it through the turmoil I was going through. I didn’t know HOW I would, I just knew I would…but at that time I knew several people who were extremely depressed. Suicidal even. I wasn’t sure what would happen if someone treated them the way I had just been treated.
Would they survive?
Or if they did survive… would their faith survive?
You cannot always pull yourself up from your bootstraps–especially if you don’t even have any boots in the first place. You cannot always get unstuck if there isn’t a hand on steady ground offering to help you out of the sinking mud.
If your policies do not take into account that there are people who cannot obtain even the basics on their own accord. Or that stigmatizes mental health….or simply denies it.
You’re living in a delusion…and magic panties obviously didn’t do you any good.