Reclaiming Joy in Your Life

The Sociological Imagination

I majored in sociology in college because it made sense after reading the first paragraph of the textbook I had been assigned. I had been a sociologist my entire life but didn’t know it.

When I was a little girl, I used to go to work with my mother during summer vacations and we would take public transportation. I always noticed that everyone would go through the same exact turnstile when we got to the train station, although it would be several that would be empty. That never made any sense to me because why stand in line when it was another turnstile available? Ugh humans but despite of their flaws, humanity is utterly fascinating to me.

Due to sociology, the social media, and aging, unfortunately I’m noticing that people are pathologically unhappy and it makes me sad. Because life is so short and it’s precious. Everyday you wake up is a blessing and a new opportunity to start over again. Who wants to wake up mad and miserable all the time? Not me.

Childhood memories

For this new year, I’m hoping that everyone claims their right to happiness and joy. I would have thought that living through a pandemic would have awakened some people but it hasn’t. Be happy and love the people in your life. Love them with all your heart and soul. Because at times, life can be rough as hell and you never know when the grim reaper will be knocking on your door. Reclaim your life from misery and have a grand old life.

Hatred of the Feminine and Black folks

Black folks (including Black women) don’t like women and girls. They really don’t. And for those who think this is a figment of my imagination and I’m lying, shut the fuck up. And listen to what I’m about to say.

When a Black woman or girl is murdered, she is blamed for being murdered and the killer is coddled and his murderous behavior is excused. Because Black women and girls are some loud mouthed, ignorant bitches who probably said something so foul that she deserved to die.

When a Black woman or girl is raped, she is blamed for “getting” herself raped. Because she was walking around half naked enticing these men and you know that the man couldn’t help himself. Even if she was clothed from head to toe, she brought it on herself because she should stayed her ass in the house. Because women don’t deserve direct sunlight and air. All she needs is darkness. And when a little Black girl is molested and sexually abused, all onus is placed upon the child and not the nasty, amoral, deviant child molester. Because little Black girls are whores too.

When a Black woman or girl is abused and beaten due to domestic violence, she brought it on herself because she talked too damn much and if she had been quiet, more ladylike, knew how to rest in her “femininity,” and was more submissive, that man wouldn’t have had to lay hands on her. If that little fast ass girl hadn’t got slick at the mouth, her mother’s boyfriend wouldn’t have had to beat her with an extension cord until she bled. Just be quiet and stay in your place as a female.

Whenever a Black male celebrity does something heinous to a Black woman or girl, his behavior is justified because Black women and girls ain’t shit. Historically, they have been in cahoots with the Man to bring Black men down, especially Black men with money. Black women and girls are nothing but a bunch of gold diggers who are looking to come up off a hard working brother.

I’m writing this with much sarcasm but this is the mentality of a large portion of Black folks, if not the majority. The men of the Black community are looked at as gods and the women are looked at as serfs and serfs don’t deserve kindness and respect. They are considered commodities to be used and need to be beaten and abused on a regular basis because they ain’t nothing but a bunch of whores. And the Bible said so. Due to this sick, pathetic mentality, I’m starting to suspect that the Black community is cursed. You can’t treat the womb, the creators of life like garbage and expect good tidings. And until this mentality is disabused and stomped into dust, the Black community will continue to keep getting this cosmic, karmic ass whupping they been receiving as retribution for treating the creators of life like a nonentity.

Realization Is a Hard Pill to Swallow

It was a year in October that I was diagnosed with epilepsy and since then, I’ve worked two jobs. Both jobs I’ve walked away from because the medication I take to control the seizures makes me so tired and discombobulated that I’m useless. The medication I’m taking is levetiracetam and the side effects are loss of strength and energy, sleepiness amongst several others.

I’m always sleepy now and have taken more naps now than the three times I was pregnant. I’m clumsy as hell and feel generally lethargic most of the time. Which is not good in the field that I’m in which is clerical/administrative. To be in that line of work, one must be detailed oriented, attentive, and on point at all times because one little mistake can be costly. But it’s hard to be attentive when you are taking medication that makes you nod out like a dope friend.

There are some who will say that I should try another medication but when it comes to seizure medications, it’s not that simple. My neurologist would have to wean me off the levi shit and then put me on another medication that will also come with several side effects and that is too much. What few brain cells I have left will not be experimented on.

So today I finally came to the realization that working a traditional job will not be an option for me anymore and that realization makes me feel so sad and useless. I fought the welfare system to obtain a bachelors degree that would make me more desirable in the job field and now 15 years later at the age of 51, a medication has rendered me useless.

I know I can work from home but I like getting out and about, going to lunch, watching people, meeting new people, having social interactions with people. I’m only 51 and this is supposed to be my life now? This is some straight bullshit.

Some little girls wanted to grow up and be a housewife. I wanted to grow up and work in a fancy office and earn my own money. To not be dependent on anyone. I’ve applied for disability and was turned down but eventually I will get it but damn. All I wanted was my own economic autonomy but my body is not cooperating. And I’m pissed, sad, and numb.

Working for Pennies- The Harsh Realities of Being a Welfare Recipient

One of the biggest misconceptions in American culture is that welfare recipients are living large at the taxpayer’s expense, receiving thousands of dollars per month while driving Cadillacs and other expensive cars. This myth is so not true and how do I know? Because for the past two months, I have been on welfare and let me be the one to tell you: being on public assistance sucks.

August 3, 2011 will be a day in infamy I will never forget because it was on that date that I received my last unemployment check and officially became one of the 99ers, a term for unemployed people in the United States, who have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits, including all unemployment extensions. After applying for over two thousand jobs, I found myself in the position of having to apply for Public Aid or be faced with disconnection notices and phone calls from bill collectors who cannot speak English. If someone had asked me five years ago would I be in this position, back on welfare, I would have laughed because I went back to school and received a Bachelor’s degree and people who have degrees are supposed to be protected from economic turmoil. I graduated five years ago from Roosevelt University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a 3.6 grade point average and I am proud of myself for that accomplishment. I know that some folks turn their noses up at people who pursue a liberal arts degree but I learned valuable critical thinking skills, how to analyze and solve problems in a creative manner, and most importantly about social stratification and inequality and I have no regrets. I also have over ten years of transferable experience in the administrative/clerical field and an ability to work with all types, fools and all. However, even with all those wonderful qualities, I cannot find a job to save my life.

When I made the decision to apply for welfare, I tried to keep positive about my situation. Millions of Americans are suffering from either being unemployed or underemployed so at least I was not alone in my troubles. But I cannot lie: Feelings of self-loathing and inadequacy run through my veins on a daily basis and a rage is building in me. A rage against a society that tells individuals that a college degree is the path to a economic prosperity, but does not disclose how centuries of social inequality have kept and will continue to keep the best and brightest out of the workforce. A rage against rich, clueless politicians who believe people that receive unemployment and welfare benefits are sitting on their butts swigging alcohol and smoking dope. A rage against myself for waiting so long to get my life together and having to deal with the consequences of perhaps being considered passé in the workforce.

I was a teenage mother who did not get my GED until I was twenty-six and my Bachelor’s degree until I was thirty-five. The entire time before both these changes took place, I was told by society that if I educated myself, I would get myself and my children out of poverty. Guess what? It did not work because I am back on welfare receiving $318 dollars per month. I did everything society told me to do and I am in the same position I was in nine years ago when I made the decision to attend college and that is a shame.

If I did not have children, there is no way in hell I would have applied for welfare. But when you are a mother, one has to make sacrifices, so I swallowed my pride and applied for cash benefits. By signing the Personal Responsibility contract in return for public assistance, a welfare recipient in essence signs her rights to being an adult away. Recipients must work for their cash and going to school is not an option.

Yes, welfare recipients must WORK for their cash benefits. I know that people believe in the myth of women laying up on welfare, eating bon-bons and spitting out a baby every year while collecting those fat government checks but that is a load of malarkey.

On August 22, 1996 in the Rose Garden of the White House, President William Jefferson Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, better known as welfare reform, dismantling the sixty-one year program of federally guaranteed cash assistance to needy families or what is known as welfare. Welfare recipients have five years to receive cash assistance and after that, it is a wrap. The debate surrounding welfare reform was dominated by white male politicians and journalists and focused predominately on minority women and their families living in poverty because minority women are the only ones in America who received Public Aid (sarcasm). Although President Clinton had the right idea, he and others did not take into account what would happen if the economy collapsed and finding a job would be the equivalency of hitting the lottery.

It burns my soul that I am back on the dole, working for $318 per month which is equal to $79.50 per week at six hours per day after everything I went through to better myself. If I refuse to go to any of the job sites my caseworker sends me to, I will be sanctioned, meaning that my monthly benefits will be cut in half to $159. So the next time, a hardworking tax payer complains about welfare recipients and how they are living good, eating lobster and shit, think about me, the college educated single mother who took care of her children, saw two of them graduate from high school, one from college, only to find herself and youngest child still poverty-stricken and broke as hell.

Also, if anyone knows of any job opportunities in the Chicagoland area, please let me know.