Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I get knocked down...

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down
But I get up again
No you're never gonna keep me down
I just finished reading Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. Linda was the lady who wrote the amazing Kinja post, Why I make Terrible Decisions, or Poverty Thoughts. The book is an expansion on the theme. It came at a good time for me, having a pity party as I was, because I had an expensive car repair for the third time in as many months. Tirado makes a good point: getting ahead when you are poor depends on everything going right for an extended period of time. Which it never does, not long enough, anyway. And then I get depressed because DAMN IT. No matter how hard I work, no matter how frugal I am, something always comes along and knocks me back to square one.

It was good for me to read the book for a lot of reasons; one of them was to remind myself that we are not really poor, not compared to many people. We do live an extremely tenuous economic existence - if Doug or I got ill and couldn't work even for a few weeks, we'd be screwed. If the car had died this time instead of just needing approximately a million small repairs (exhaust system, oxygen sensor, tires, plugs, wires, coils, some other little shit) and I couldn't get to Portland for my classes, I don't know what we would have done.

And then I remind myself - I have had these thoughts before. Something always works out. There is nothing stopping me from putting on my interview suit and getting an office job, and then I wouldn't have these worries; but I never do it. It helps to think of it like this, to remind myself that not only did I chose this, I am choosing it every day.

And anyway, it's only credit card debt; I ring it up in the winter, I pay it down in the summer. It is always like that. I get knocked down, but I get up again.

Never gonna keep me down.



Linda Starr said...

knocked down daily here, too many examples to delineate here.

probably more than fifty percent, maybe seventy percent, maybe more)(who really really knows), of the citizens of this country are in the same boat as we are whether they put on a happy face or not, the dollar was worth more in 1968 than it is now, and it ain't getting any better no matter how much we keep on keeping on. hate to be pessimistic but reality sets in; every year we have deleted something from our budget which we considered a necessity, we realized that pretty soon there's only elementary necessities; food, shelter and utilities, not sure which we'll eliminate when the time comes. Clothing doesn't even enter the equation because we can wrap rags together to clothe ourselves, but we can't heat our home or buy food without a way to barter for the fuel or food we need, be it bartering with money or items to trade.

by the way I discovered a unique way to repair a broken tooth, heat bees wax and form the wax into a topical repair kit, press on the broken tooth, so far so good, works really well.

Michèle Hastings said...

I know what you mean about "feeling poor" when in reality, compared to what "poor" can be... we are fortunate. We eat every week, pay our bills, etc... but there isn't extra.
I too once had a suit job... but I like this one so much better and like you, I am willing to be frugal to keep it. I find more joy in life now.
But if someone invited me on a tropical vacation, I could pack pretty quickly.

smartcat said...

You hit a nerve with this post! When things get tough (this winter) I remind myself that I am doing this by choice. I am still glad I retired when I did. It took almost a year for me to unwind from my job. Much better being a poor potter. But really, why does all the crap have to happen in winter?

Lori Watts said...

Yes, so many people in a similar boat!
Linda, your tooth fix is an example of the resourcefulness I see in many low-income people. We can't do things the "normal" way - pay someone to do it - so we figure something else out.

A few years ago, my husband postponed a car repair for months by covering a hole in a pipe with a succession of snipped PBR cans and clamps.

Tracey Broome said...

I read Linda Tirados original post and watched a youtube interview with her. She is a very good writer.
This country is no better than it was in the depression for some people.
My husband makes a really good salary, I quit making pottery and got a job that pays ok, and still we live paycheck to paycheck. We are frugal, but we live in a very expensive town and have a daughter in college.
I have to say, I don't miss the stress of pottery one tiny bit. I look forward to going to work, I love the people I work with, and I get paid without spending any money to make that check. And my studio is always there should I want to make some pots. Its a win win for me right now and life is much simpler.
Hope things thaw out and get brighter for you soon. At least you have a good outlook, thats half the battle!

Lori Watts said...

Tracey - I hear ya. To my way of thinking there is value and dignity in all work. I love claywork and have so far been able to hold it together through various hooks and crooks.
I was lucky (or extremely unlucky, depending up on your point of view!) that I never felt the desire to have children. If I had, I probably would have put pottery side a long time ago, because it's one thing for me(and Doug, who is also making a choice) to live on rice and eggs for a week when necessary, and an entirely different thing to put that on a child.
You keep on keepin on, with your good self. Clay will still be there, when you feel it again.

Tracey Broome said...

Lori, a child in the equation absolutely changes things . Before my daughter was born we lived on a VERY modest salary and lived in an old converted tobacco barn that was impossible to heat. A baby just can't take that like two young crazy adults can!
I am so glad you posted about Linda Tirado, her words are still with me. I loved her point about why those with money always suggest poor people stop having children. You can have the same desire for a child, rich or poor, it is a shame that someone could have so much to give to a child and yet be restricted because of poverty.
I admire your tenacity to stick with pottery and yes, with hard work comes success!

JB said...

I listened to that song on the radio yesterday and thought about tenacity. Poverty can be a state of mind...but it is the stress that lack of funds generates at times like council rates which for me, were due a week ago. I scraped in by a few dollars. Outrageous interest charged for any unpaid rates which will only compound the financial stress for the struggling. Phew. My well paid education job evaporated this year so it is pottery or poverty for me this year.

Lori Watts said...

You don't have to choose, you can have both! LOL
But seriously, losing your job is rough, because you have to accommodate the loss of income so suddenly. I'm sorry it happened to you, and I hope things work out.