I’m not a person who typical cries much. I think partially its just related to be an introvert.. I deal with things more inside than out.
Truth be told, I cry more when mad than when sad… drives me nuts when I’m trying to have an argument with someone and for some reason end up with tears I don’t want getting in the way.
But two seperate past crying incidents have been coming to my mind lately.
1. 9/11. After a long day of sitting around the television station where I worked just in case we were needed to go live, the national network decided to let the local stations do their own 10pm news before going back to the feed. I was running the prompter, which kind of had me back in a darkish corner by the weather desk.
What made me cry wasn’t so much the loss of lives. It was the changing of the world.
Here I was, 5 months pregnant, in my last semester of college full time, working a 37 hour a week job that still wasn’t full time so wouldn’t cover medical or maternity leave, and having just figured out that things were not going to work out with the second chance given to the baby’s father. It was everything I could do to very barely make things work enough to keep my head above water with the world the way it was the day before.
You add in a world where things you’ve always taken for granted like general safety and airplane flight are suddenly questionable… making you wonder what else might be lost next…
The point that I lost what amount of composure I was trying to pull up was during a video piece about the price of gas in the area suddenly jumping to 3.99 at most stations as the owners tried to claim it was to keep their supplies from running out. I lived 20 miles from work, 5 miles from school, within the past two months had been living out of a hotel room, and within the past two weeks had resorted to hunting change to afford tp. How in the world was I going to manage now what I’d been having to put so much into managing and not really making it before?
This came to mind at a gas pump, as for the first time gas in my area has returned to the 3.99 levels of the panic back then. This time it has crept up slowly though, not as much of a shock. But I have to wonder a bit how many people have still been brought to tears as it has ripped from their grasp the ends they were trying so hard to make meet.
But even back then I knew the tears were not so much about the price of gas as about the uncertainty or inability to make it. The total shake in confidence when you realize that theres a shot that you might not make it.
Things are obviously more stable in my life right now financially, and yet, still, how much would it take to rip that stability right out of my hands again? I know my job isn’t secure… how much of a nudge from some major factor would it take to make things completely fall apart again?
I don’t know an answer, but I know its a lot less than I would like it to be.
But I know how little it also took to cause chaos for my mom and stepdad, who worked at a aircraft manufacturing place for 17 years before 9/11, and was laid off in the next year. Going from a 6 figure income down to job searching in the same messy market that I was as a fresh college graduate. And I know that bank accounts offer only marginal and brief security.
My brother and both half brothers now work in the same industry as my stepdad did, as they hired on new lower paid people rather than call back the older workers. Two of them even work at the same company, though its been sold since then. In spite of the risk of instability, the momentary stability is right now the best option going around here for those who can get it.
The more this has been on my mind, the more I realize… my biggest lost that day was hope.
Hope towards stability, towards the future…
I think that in that moment was when I stopped dreaming of what I wanted life to be and what I might be able to make of it, and entered survival mode. The mode of just trying to keep my feet under me as I get drug behind the cart of the current world.
As bad as things had already been, I think that I still had hope up to that point of how one day they were going to finally settle down and I’d get things all stabilized and be back on the path towards where I wanted to be. I still believed that tomorrow might still be really bad, but maybe next year would be better… and maybe in 5 years it would just be a dark glip on the map.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that hope back.
I don’t think I’ve gotten back out of day to day, week to week, survival mode.
And while things have improved circumstantially over the past 7 years, I wonder if thats why they really haven’t improved much on the outlook.
Because my “view” is still the same. At survival, and at making tomorrow and next week and next month come together.