Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living in Our "Own Little World" no more

WARNING: I actually curse in this blog, yep I was THAT upset!  If you know me you know that means its serious haha.




We have all probably seen a few of the "First World Problems" meme's posted on FB but in case you haven't there are tons of them at this link

I am sure we are all guilty of complaining about things people in other countries can not even fathom having the luxury to complain about, myself included.  It's just the world we live in but now when I do it I stop and chuckle to myself and say "First World Problems".  it really helps to put it all in perspective for me.

I was inspired to write this blog after viewing a few rather rude and first world entitled things on FB this morning but I had to make myself do the dishes first before I could sit down and write (or they never would get done).  Here is where I would insert some woe is me comment about how I still do not have a dishwasher.  Instead I sat there washing dishes, stewing on my annoyance at the things I saw that inspired this post and I thought to myself "hey at least I have clean water to wash these in right" and 'dirty dishes mean my kids had food to eat last night".  Does this mean I will magically stop complaining, no, but at least now I can check myself when I start.

So you are probably wondering what I am babbling on and on about.  As I sat outside with my kids and our gang of foster pups this morning allowing them all to run off some energy I was lazily scrolling through my FB newsfeed not really paying all that much attention when the following 2 items jumped out at me.

The first was the following article, Why Is the US So Insulted By ‘Welfare Queens’?.  I clicked on it because I was not really sure what a "Welfare Queen" was.  The article is about another article that was written in a New Orleans newspaper.  The article was about a hotel that was demolished and how people within a certain radius were evacuated while this took place due to health safety concerns.  Yet people who lived in a nearby public housing development were not evacuated.  The article was meant to focus on this and question why, instead everyone focused on a photo that was included of some of the residents that depicted a young boy using some sort of tablet, that most identify as an iPad.  The entire real focus of the article was lost and instead people were posting rude comments about why a "poor" child would have an iPad in the first place.  So you can imagine where it went from there.  Lots of "lazy drug addict alcoholics living off of my hard earned tax dollars" I am sure.  I didn't actually go to the real article to see because I try to avoid reading comments I know will just upset me.
The photo in question can be seen here

I think I was most upset because I lived through my own iPad experience, I "loving" nicknamed it "The XBOX incident."  Anyone who knows me needs no more explanation than that but I will try to sum it up as briefly as my detail oriented rambling butt can.  Basically it was at a time where I was really upset because we made $32 a month over the limit to get any sort of Medicaid for our kids.  Kimmy had just been born and we had to pay all of the expenses out of pocket because we had no insurance.  Even if we could have afforded  insurance after I found out I was pregnant it would have been considered a "preexisting" condition and not covered.  On top of that Teddy had cavities and we were having trouble finding a dentist we could afford to help him.  So I had posted many statuses, links and rants about how unfair it is that health care is seen as a luxury in our country and how my kids are just as worthy as anyone elses and deserve to have health care too.  No health care was offered at the time through Teds job.  So one day, in a lighthearted manor I posted a status that read something like "I am now an XBOX widow" because Ted had just purchased an XBOX 360.  My mistake apparently was not being my typical detail oriented rambling butt and that's all I put in the status.  I didn't think I needed to go into details about how he purchased said XBOX on Craigslist used for less than half price and did so with money made form selling other items we no longer needed on Craiglist.  What followed was "The XBOX incident" where many of my "friends' proceeded to leave rude and hateful comments about how I cry about being "so poor" and then turn around and "allow" my hubby to purchase a gaming console (which was for his Birthday too, another detail I apparently should have included in my status). 

It turned really ugly really fast but I will spare you any more details.  The whole point of me sharing that is because no one knows the reasoning's behind WHY or HOW the boy got said iPad.  Perhaps he has learning disabilities or mental delays that qualified him for it.  Many insurance companies will pay part or all of the costs towards buying an iPad because they can be great learning tools for those who have disabilities/delays including Autism and SPD.  Perhaps he has a close relative that's a little more well off that purchased it as a gift. It could be that the iPad is "left overs" from a life that once was, when times were good and bills were easily paid. Or maybe, just maybe his parents worked OT, double shifts or 2 jobs to be able to buy it for him. 

People seem to think everyone who receives any help from the government is just lazy and using the handouts to pay for their drug habits.  This stereotype has to end!  Sure this is true for s small percentage, BUT by far post people on assistance are working poor.  They have a job, sometimes they have more than 1 job but wages are so low and cost of living is so high that they still need help.  They pay taxes just like everyone else.  People who have nice things and are on assistance of any kind are not abusing the system.  That woman in line with an iPhone using WIC to pay for her milk may be a foster or adoptive parent for all we know.  Because we adopted Karma from the foster care system she will automatically qualify for WIC until age 5 and Medicaid until 18 no matter what our income is.  That man in the nice suit using food stamps could have had a really good job that he lost through no fault of his own.  We can't judge a book by its cover.  In  "The XBOX Incident" people judged us and our ability to be financially responsible (those exact words were used) but you know what, we live within our means, we don't have credit cards, car payments, cable, etc.  I wonder how many people who look down on working poor can say that too?

The second item I saw, the one that just broke my heart was the following image posted by The Mom: Informed. 

not sure who to give image credit to as this was reposted
several times on FB, I saw it on The Mom: Informed


It's not the image that upset me so much as the rude and hateful comments that were posted under it (see this is why I avoid comments when at all possible!).  Hateful comments like "that woman has no business having kids if she can't provide for them" because you know contraception and education are just freely handed out and easily accessible in 3rd world countries.

I seriously just wanted to reach through my computer and smack someone.  That's all they got when they looked at this image.  Their hearts did not break for the child and mother?  They are such selfish entitled asshats that they could not even muster any sort of compassion or empathy and think its some how the mothers fault for "choosing" to have this child.  Give me a damn break!

Going back to "The XBOX Incident" for a minute I have had people say similar things to me.  As in I chose to have kids when I knew we couldn't provide for them.  We can provide just fine for our kids thank you very much, health care in this country is just ridiculous!  The job Ted is at now offers insurance but for our family it would cost $211 a pay period and he gets paid weekly.  Without going into too much detail about how much he makes (because he would be so angry with me) I will just say that's almost 50% of what he brings home each week (lets hope he never reads this haha).  Health care should be a basic right and not something reserved for those who can afford it or are lucky enough to work for an employer that can provide it at a reasonable rate.  We can pay all of our other bills just fine but yes, our kids get health care through the state because my children deserves to have the ability to see a doctor just as much as yours do.  If that makes us "lazy free loaders" then so be it.  Let me tell you, there is NOTHING lazy about my husband's job.  Most would not be able to do it, especially in the 100+ temps we have been having for weeks now.

But go ahead, feel free to judge and say things like maybe we shouldn't have had these kids if we can't "provide" for them.  Should I give them away now?  Will you give your kids away if you find yourself in a similar position?  Because, no matter how well prepared we think we are unless you are rich we are all just 1 lay off, 1 natural disaster or 1 serious illness/injury away from being the nicely dressed lady with an iPhone in line at the grocery store using food stamps. 

Unless you have experienced this do not judge.  The woman and child pictured above never committed any sort of crime, they did not "ask for this".  They were just born in an area of the world where having the luxury to complain about not having dishwashers or judging people for buying XBOX/s or iPads does not exist.  For them simple things like where their next meal will come from trump all of that.  They have no clue what a dishwasher, XBOX or iPad is even.

Seeing that picture and the comments that followed left me heartbroken and disgusted.  I went to the dishes with that empty helpless feeling in the pit of my stomach.  The feeling of "our world is so screwed up why even bother to try.". I was listening to Pandora (yes I have the luxury of having a device I can listen to Pandora on, its ok, judge me, you know you want to) when the following song came on and lifted my spirits. 





It was odd only because I was listening to a station that doesn't play anything even remotely close to this type of music.  It inspired me to remember I may be small and insignificant, I don't have the means to rush out and save the world but I can do it 1 person, 1 random act at a time.  We are currently fostering a death row mama dog and her 6 pups.  We saved them minutes from being put to sleep.  That is my small win that I will focus on for this week instead.

Yes the world is big and scary.  It's hard to know where to start, but just start 1 thing at a time.  A great start would be to stop judging things we do not know or understand.  We need to stop living in our own little worlds and reach out to others. Its all about perspective, first world problems!  We all struggle but if we look hard enough and are willing, we all have something we can give/do to help others.  We teach our kids to share but grow up to become rather selfish adults.  10% of the population controls over 90% of the wealth not just in the US but the world.  I once saw another meme on FB that said something to the effect of "when someone collects cats, newspapers or trash we call them a hoarder and say they are sick but when someone collects money we call them successful and put them on covers of magazines for it" ok, so I know I am in no way quoting that correctly but you get the gist of it. 


Change starts 1 person, 1 small act at a time.

.
What is or will be your small win for this week?

Love,
Christy

FYI: I feel I must clarify that I in no way think my family is poor!  We have food to eat, never go hungry, we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and the bills are paid.  Occasionally we even get treats and have a few luxury's including Internet (obviously) and Netflix (instead of cable because $8 is way better than $60+ per month and local channels are free with an antenna).  At no point before, during or after "The XBOX Incident" did I ever say I thought our family was poor.  I was at that time (and still am) upset that Health Care in the US is treated as a luxury and a class identifier.  There are the haves and the have nots and when it comes to my kids health, that is not acceptable to me.  I stand by that to this day!  So yes, now that we qualify I do use that state funded insurance for them.  If health care was made affordable I would HAPPILY pay out of pocket for coverage instead.  We are NOT poor, we are very blessed in our home and I get that.

And in case you can't or don't want to click on and listen to the song, here are the lyrics to hopefully inspire you to stop living in your own little world:


In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world, population: me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
Yeah, it's easy to do when it's population: me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Stopped at a red light looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said, "help this homeless widow"
And just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, God, what have I been doing?
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh, how many times have I just passed her by?
I gave her some money than I drove on through
And my own little world reached population: two

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world
My own little world

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now
I don't want to miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now

Outside my own little world
My own little world
My own little world


Additional Notes:
I learned today from Crazy dumbsaint of the mind , who blogs about what its REALLY like to live on Food Stamps (love her honesty and courage!!) that:

 "A person making $50,000 a year pays roughly a dime per day for food stamps. It works out to be about $36.82/ year."

Gio check out her post [Food Stamp Food] Steak & Shrimp! for more info and her blog for a great perspective on the realities of what it's like to eat on SNAP. 

11 comments:

  1. I am so sorry you have gotten the blunt of people's not thought out hate. The photo of the mother and child just breaks my heart. I have been frustrated with nursing at times lately, but that was a fabulous reminder for me. Thank you for sharing. I am so incredibly blessed to continue to be able to provide nourishment for my child well into toddlerhood. Thank you for your kind heart.

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  2. Well said, mama. Well said.

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  3. People are stupid.. really ignorant to the life going on around them. OR are too proud to get help for themselves because of people like you are describing. Keep up the blogging mama!

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  4. It's really sad how judgmental people can be without evening knowing the details. My husband and I are both full time college students, are school is paid through merit scholarships and grants, and since we don't have the time to work full-time jobs while going to school and raising a child, we receive food stamps. Since we are young and have a kid, people seem to assume that we are 'lazy' and just living off the government which is so frustrating. I am working just as hard (and probably harder in reality than a lot of people) to provide a foundation for my family as anybody working a full time job. Without my college education I probably would have to rely on government support throughout my whole life, but with both my husband and I having a degree we will get much better jobs and be self-sufficient in a few years. Anywho...sorry about the rant.

    And I can't believe people can see that picture of starving mother and child and not be automatically heartbroken (not going to lie, I actually cried).

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  5. I love this! Our family went from two adults and one child making 40,000 a year to both of us losing our jobs while I was pregnant and making less than 5,000 a year and living on food stamps and cash assistance. Does that mean we're supposed to throw away our daughters Wii and my smartphone? Now we're comfortable again (though not as much as we were) and blessed to be so, but not everyone is that blessed.

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  6. Yes, yes, yes. I can't stand welfare-bashing. When I was little, my family received food stamps as my dad worked his way through college. My parents weren't lazy or addicted to drugs, they were just people who needed some help. When I point this out to people complaining about "welfare queens," I invariably get the response "well, it was ok for your family because you pay taxes/you used it correctly/you got off of it..." I think what they really mean is "it's ok for you because I know you personally and am glad you and your family didn't starve." But here's the thing - I would rather see a hundred "welfare queens" profit from this system than to let a single child go hungry.

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts. The hate against people who have less always stuns me. It's the whole myth of the "deserving poor," where the people who aren't poor get to decide who's deserving! It's arrogant and presumptuous, and makes me feel like swearing, too.

    Health care is another biggie for us, since we're self-employed. I never complain that we're poor (at this point; we have been in the past), but I do complain that health insurance and health care cost so dang much. It's not right. And since we pay for our own health insurance, it's not required (yet) to cover things like, oh, pregnancy and birth. Yup, that's right. But I tried complaining about that to my mom once, and she said, "Maybe it's time for your husband to get a real job." {Insert gasping choking sound here.} We have a real job; I can still want reasonable health care, dangit. And I want that for everybody, not just me.

    I do realize that's a first world problem sort of thing, but I don't think first world problems are inherently ridiculous. But I have to say, that photo of the mama and baby just breaks my heart. Oh. There are worse problems in the world to have, for sure.

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  8. Confession- I had almost always sighed when in line behind the mom with foodstamps on her iPhone. I have never, and would never treat someone badly for it- but that doesn't mean that little twinge wasn't there. As much as I hate to admit it.

    Then my husband lost his job- and I was the one in nice clothes, driving a nice car (that wasn't being paid for) that people were sighing at in line at the grocery store while I checked out with my food stamps. It was a major reality check for me. Thankfully God used that time to open my eyes to all the things I had been missing.

    Now I say- even if. Even if that mom uses a lot of her check to pay for a phone bill. Even if they have the newest gaming system, even if they drive a nice car....even if. Because I never know....and no matter what I know, a person who needs help- needs help.

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  9. You already know how I feel about this (and thank you for including my link :-) )
    My daughter's schools issued every single kid an ipad ,beginning last school year. So, yep...we're on "The Dole" and my daughter has an ipad. My twins have ipod touches because they got them as x-mas gifts. The iphone meme has happened to me in the check out line at the grocery store..except it was my daughter's ipod in my hand that I was being judged for. I had borrowed it that day and took it out of my pocket to check the time. It was the cashier who gave me crap for it and gave me a long rant about how she has 2 kids and 5 dogs and can't get help.Pffft. Puh-leeze.

    I've also had people suggest I send my kids to live with relatives since I can't support them completely myself. That angers me more than anything.

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  10. I love this post and sorry you received so much yuck on FB. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. Oh, comments on fb are just awful sometimes. Like people have no heart what-so-ever. In fact, if the comment is particularly mean and hateful, I will click the little x and hide the comment. Maybe if that happens enough to heartless commentators then fb will ban them? Idk, I can always hope :)

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