Overwhelming doubt and sorrow.
December 24, 2019 at 3:47 PM - Views: 82 #242513
Some days, I find it impossible not to give in to the darker side of my nature. That of doubt and sadness, for all that has been lost, is being lost – and will yet be lost. There was a brief time in my life when I was very optimistic and hopeful – the year I went to University.
For me… it was almost like a magical experience. The books, the learning, the Professors, the people I saw as dedicated to improving themselves and the world. I came out of my shell for a time – and it even seemed briefly, that the debilitating anxiety I have known for nearly all of my life faded.
In the early part of the year, I had more money than I had ever had, in more than a decade of work. Somewhere between 2 and 3 thousand dollars. I was set, I thought. I had a little one bedroom apartment – within easy walking distance to class.
I exercised, i wrote of hope, positivity, happiness, gratitude. For a time, I felt those things so powerfully… I was a young man still (some would say I still am, but I do not feel like one), at 29, the world my oyster shell.
Fellow students and professors complimented my intelligence, my writing ability. People told me I was a nice guy, good guy… a few even said handsome. I had rarely, if ever, heard those things before.
Well… fast forward a bit… shortly into the final semester, I had gone broke. I remember going to the financial aid office, breaking down in tears… and I am not someone who can normally cry. I remember the shame of not having been able to find a job.
There was no money for a work study for me, no jobs within walking distance that had not been filled by people even younger and stronger. Lived on ramen and tap water for months – until I broke down and begged my parents for help.
They did what they could. God, it felt so ridiculous, my father and I bringing two full bags of groceries to my apartment made me cry again.
Slowly, I began to realize the truth. That the system was designed for failure. It is designed on a cynical bet that more will fail than succeed, that student loan money – and the debt enslavement of millions is what it was about for the powers that be.
They succeeded. For all my love of books and knowledge, music and theater… and much else, I lost heart and hope. I began to see the arrogance so common within our elite academics. I began to understand that, shit, I’d been so naive.
With my last, ugly pink pen and my last, ugly notebook (thank you dollar tree) i wrote a six page essay all about it. Handes it to one of my Professors.
He told me it was some of the best stuff he had ever read – that universities needed peo like me, who had lived through much… who had really lived their lives. He argued that my debt (student and medical) could be dealt with.
Nonetheless, I did not have enough for a second year. So, I went back to working for minimum wage. I tried to fix the debt issues, but never had enough money to even keep up with the interest. Collection agencies hounded me, my bosses walked all over me.
Just kept getting worse, until I had, I suppose, a nervous breakdown.
I think of the millions today, like me, who have lost that. That… more youthful optimism and hope. It is what builds things that last. It inspires passion, compassion and courage.
More and more though, I see cynicism, I see betrayal, hatred, ignorance, darkness. Much as I may rant about the oligarchy or corrupt politicians, climate change…
I am only a man – and not a very strong or powerful one. I cannot take them on, I cannot defeat them. I do not see it as likely that things will change for the better. Every indication, environmental, economic and social, shows that, in the big picture… things are getting worse.
Now I am reliant on SSI and Medicaid- and cannot rely on food stamps for more than 18 bucks a month. Without my family or my fiance, I would most likely give up entirely. There are some levels of poverty and misery which humans were never intended to be able to endure. I have experienced them, at various points throughout my life.
Thus, I beg your pardon for what might often seem my overwhelming defeatism, cynicism and/or pessimism. In my own defense… I tried.
December 24, 2019 at 4:12 PM #242523
December 24, 2019 at 4:12 PM #242524Ohio BarbarianModerator
- Total Posts: 14,558
There is no shame in doing that which you can. Fate can be fickle and cruel, but sometimes, usually after you have accepted and survived all she’s thrown at you, she’ll smile and you will find a splendid opportunity standing in front of you that you just have to reach out and take.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman
December 24, 2019 at 4:17 PM #242526sonofspy777Participant
- Total Posts: 5,157
This song has always helped me in the past when I’ve been hit by suicidal depression. Usually about two-three times a year.
Bernie figured he could do more good ALIVE,
than dead in a small plane "accident".
I think he's right.
December 24, 2019 at 4:26 PM #242531
Thank you for sharing this. It is music, for me, too, that plucks the strings of the heart. In my case, today, it has me taking a walk down memory lane.
It is madness to dwell on what might have been. Yet, I have never pretended to be anything other than mad. Some days… especially during this time of year, it is hard, not to think certain thoughts.
Songs that speak of goodwill towards men, peace on earth… they play upon my imagination and my memory. Mostly, I find them irritating – and feel in myself only bitterness at hearing them, some times speaking out loud (to myself, or maybe the two cats I spend most days with) my sarcasm and frustration at the absurdity of the world – and my own absurdity.
A boy I grew up with, who was like a brother to me for many years, once told me that hope is a dead end. “Try reality instead”. He told me.
Perhaps I have come to be more like him than i would have thought possible. Nonetheless, i reject this harsh reality. I will lose myself in books, in music, in theater and in passion. I will let my imagination be my guide…. most of the time.
The fact that i prefer to reject reality though, does not mean that i am unaware of it.
December 24, 2019 at 4:33 PM #242537
December 24, 2019 at 4:44 PM #242543GZeusHParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,594
So why not consider the SSI/Medicaid/food stamps your “student stipend” and continue your education online? Finish your degree or learn what you set out to accomplish, and make a goal for yourself? That will do a lot to knock down the defeatism, cynicism and pessimism you are experiencing.
There are so many educational resources online, that I wonder why kids are going into hock to get an education. Oh, that’s right, you need a degree, issued by an accredited institution (even better if it’s an Ivy League institution) to claim your rights as an educated person. But as I know from personal experience, a degree from a top flight institution is only a calling card; if you are a dumbass, even an Ivy League dumbass, it will come out sooner or later, and you will get the heave ho. If you last name is Bush or Biden though, that heave ho might be onto the board of a corporation or into the Oval Office. But I digress.
Make a plan for 2020 to improve yourself in ways you haven’t been able to up until now. You want to learn a foreign language? There are plenty of language learning materials on YouTube. Want to further your science knowledge? There are plenty of open courseware sites available. Get back into that frame of mind that the world is your oyster. You’ll get plenty of support from your friends here on JPR if you keep us posted.
December 24, 2019 at 8:55 PM #242619SorechasmParticipant
- Total Posts: 334
GZeusH may be among the wisest on JPR, but David the Gnome is the most intriguing writer as he writes straight from the heart. Probably why its so painful, because he is so honest. Learning about multiple avenues to explore and shed the pain sounds like great advice.
He’s among great company of creative thinkers who wrote and explored their gifts to avoid suffering from similar psychosis: Tolstoy, Darwin, Lincoln, and Beethoven.
“Go and tell Alexander that God the Supreme King is never the Author of insolent wrong, but is the Creator of light, of peace, of life, of water, of the body of man and of souls;...what Alexander offers and the gifts he promises are things to me utterly useless;..." Dandamis, a great sannyasi of Taxila.Excerpt From: Yogananda, Paramahansa. “Autobiography of a Yogi.”
December 24, 2019 at 5:26 PM #242555
I have always seen you as being among the wisest here – and you give good advice.
I have been looking into a program called skill share, for a variety of courses and knowledge. I will be purchasing access for a year, when I get my next check.
I feel, though, like that optimism is so far behind me that its impossible. I will try. It has always been my intention to further my education and knowledge – and I dont care about a degree.
One day, perhaps I will write all of this in a book. Writing is the only talent I really have.
December 24, 2019 at 5:58 PM #242565MizzGrizzParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,005
Trust me,David,self taught writers are always the best ones.Your eloquent work here is proof of that.
It takes a long time to get to the point where you can accept what the system calls as failure—I struggled with it too for some of the same reasons as you,including washing out of college and being a writer who worked at home—but please know,what the world calls failure is really a personal and moral success.
You say you have already begun to see the pretensions of academic people.The more time passes the more you will see it,trust me again.Be happy and proud that you will never be of that class.That group,the professional class,is even more solidly anti-Bernie than are the rich people.They’re so scared of not being able to lord it over the working class anymore.
It’s an uphill climb..but keep climbing and fighting that good fight.In the end..it will make you a winner all the way.
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