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This is how it feels to be me

 Victoria Street Newz (Canada) 24 May 2019

(Originally published: 10/2009) “There is no singular word to describe how I am feeling right now. If I had to describe what poverty is or what it looks like the closest I could say is a condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor; indigence; deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities, etc.: poverty of the soil; scantiness; insufficiency: their efforts to stamp out disease were hampered by a poverty of medical supplies; the state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts; deficiency in amount; scantiness: “the poverty of feeling that reduced my soul.”; unproductive.”  - Rose Henry

Victoria Street Newz

Courtesy of Victoria Street Newz

Today I found myself feeling quite teary eyed. This is something that I haven't felt for some time now. I can't really pin point one singular issue that would bring this on. Over the past few days I have been a little anxious about the possibility of my family's up-coming move ... again ... arg ...

 

This time the move is not because the house has been sold or that we have failed to pay the rent. It is because it is what I feel we need to do in order to save our sanity and our sixteen year old marriage. Three years ago my partner and I found ourselves couch surfing after homesteading for several years in the same neighborhood. This move was forced upon us because our landlords sold their houses and the new owners didn't want any tenants.

 

So for the past two years we have been living in a community house with five other people who are vastly different from me and my partner who are more then forty years old. We only had to share the bathroom, living room, and kitchen with them. Our private room is barely big enough for one person, let alone two people with a much loved family dog.

 

We have, in one 14 x 10 ft space, two dressers, one tiny table, barroom refrigerator (which sits empty most of the time). I have this fantasy of having it half way full at least once. In addition we have one recliner and a futon on the floor which means no one can stand up without standing on the futon. You either sit down or crawl onto the futon to eat, sleep or do laundry on it.

 

There are on some occasions where you just had to take your place in the line for use of the bathroom, (my partner started skipping out and used the toilet in the park that was three blocks away), kitchen stove or the walk up or down the extremely narrow stairs to our third floor room. I think that living this type of life style is no longer an option for my partner or me mainly due to our ages, and my partner's agoraphobia of too many people and small spaces.

 

We both have this desire to once again be living on our own but we also know that is mostly not going to happen for a long time due mainly to the cost of living in Victoria and to the lack of a good education for both of us.  He is a custodian who has had the same job for over two years. He now gets $12.49 an hour (before deductions). When he was at $10.00 he had 40 hrs a week. Now he is at 15 hrs per week with no sick days. He hasn't had a holiday in over four years.

 

As fate would once again show itself we do have this opportunity to move into a bigger and better space with a third person who we already know and is in his forties too. But we once again know of a place that is available to us only if we can afford the rent. So just as we are about to say yes for our own sanity, fate then pulls on the other string and the hours for my husband's work are cut back to less then 20 hrs a week and the short term contract I am involved is being terminated to in less then three weeks.

 

So once again hopes raised, dreams are squashed and Rose is pissed off about living...

 

In poverty

 

Will my hopes and dreams ever be fulfilled?  To the point where my next holiday will not have to be a working holiday?  Will I hear the end of ... I don't know what at this point ... I weep ... not for my community tonight ... but for my family.

 

It has been eight years since I traveled and spoke at a major international conference ... advocating social change ... still no changes.

 

It has been sixteen years since I have been legally married ... no honeymoon (can't afford one).

 

It has been twenty-five years since I came to Victoria to get a degree ... no degree (funding canceled due to poor GPA). This was brought on because of my being a single parent and not having my life skills in order when I aged out of the foster care system.

 

There is no singular word to describe how I am feeling right now. If I had to describe what poverty is or what it looks like the closest I could say is:

 

1. Condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor; indigence.

 

2. Deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities, etc.: poverty of the soil.

 

3. Scantiness; insufficiency: Their efforts to stamp out disease were hampered by a poverty of medical supplies.

 

4. The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.

 

5. Deficiency in amount; scantiness: "the poverty of feeling that reduced my soul."

 

6. Unproductive

 

We need more than the Olympic Legacy dept. We need our paramedics back, our education funds for off reserve First Nations restored, we need more then a band aid solution for our marginalized poor, we need to get our homeless population under control. We need stability not instability for all British Columbians.

 

Right now I am once again in between jobs and am forced to be almost out begging and borrowing money, other people's tools and energy.

 

There are days that I am so exhausted just from trying to stay a live that I collapse (of which I have done this) on more then one occasion and have suffered the consequences. This is where I am grateful that I still have the desires to make social change; but also for meeting and greeting people.

 

My love for people is what keeps me going.

 

This is how I make my living: just getting out and doing things for people, advocating for changes and selling the Street newz. I think that I can reassure that the dollars that I make selling this paper is spent one hundred percent locally. So yes I do support the local economy and yes I am paying for my rights to live...

 

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