Gratitude Sunday: Falling Through Every Crack

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” Diane Arbus

Sunday Haiku
Groundhog pays little
attention to his shadow,
goes about his day.

Sunday Musings
What do the birds know that I don’t know? Today the sun is shining, the air is cold and getting colder. And the birds are singing, singing, singing as they air dance from the naked grape vine to the shallow icy puddle in the driveway.

Do they see spring coming? Do they feel a change in the air or the temperature of the earth? Do they recognize days as humans do and use their voices to acknowledge the lengthening of days on their way toward summer? Are they telling each other where the juiciest, tastiest bugs are? Are they singing just because they can?

I sit at my desk, keyboard at my fingertips, and listen. I am grateful for these small graceful creatures that ground me, connect me to this earth, when I feel so distant. I sorrow for tiny birds whose home some humans are thoughtlessly destroying because of shallow greed.

I need this connection, hearing the little birds, to feel plugged in to something real beyond myself. People and the support systems people devise are too challenging, unpredictable, unreliable, often untrustworthy. Even myself. I operate under the illusion I am in control, yet every step I make, every corner I turn, every crack I fall through puts me in my place once again as a person of poverty who is blamed for being poor, though I’ve worked all my life. It’s hard being in financial straits enough to have to ask for help, but give me any situation and I will find the crack to fall through. Finding any delay, denial, or glitch in the system seems to be my specialty. So to re-frame: I should earn bonuses or awards for finding all the inefficiencies and waste that seems to be built into assistance programs.

The voices of little birds connect me, and I choose to think they soothe me, for whatever soothing I can experience. Living on the edge in poverty has a way of disrupting the bio-chemical system sometimes to the point where there is no soothing. Often it feels like there is never one quiet moment of calm and comfort as with each step forward one never knows when the next crack might open up.

For example, what does one do when receiving food stamps and it doesn’t go far enough? One solution was to spend some savings to feed the family and keep the electricity on. Then one gets punished by the state for using savings by reducing food stamps when they didn’t go far enough in the first place. One has resources though. It’s called begging for food at a food bank, a valid choice for help, but not as helpful as it could be when one has specific food needs or challenges. Despite my fat, which the world judges as a body out of control, I don’t eat much. I have learned over my vast 65 years my body rejects some foods, and some foods don’t like me as well, so I turn down food bank choices I won’t use in the hopes somebody else can. If you say I’m not hungry enough that I can’t eat the choices offered at a food bank which is dependent on the donations of caring citizens, you can go eff yourself. (Yes, I know. Sometimes one must be offensive to make a point). You eat some of that unhealthful crap. I can’t afford to eat foods I know will cause more gastrointestinal distress than the nutritional value I might get from it, and if you can’t keep it down all nutritional value is lost. I often wish food banks would give you a pre-paid card to a local grocery store so one can choose the foods one is able to tolerate. But beggars, you know the cliché.

Going without food is certainly one of your choices as well. Nobody needs to eat. Americans are too fat anyway. The thing is, for some bodies, when food is withheld, the body piles on the weight because it thinks it is being starved – no matter the will power or what the brain tells the body – and fat people get blamed for being fat, even when they don’t have enough food to eat. Then the brain fails to make good choices because if doesn’t have the proper fuel. Water and air aren’t enough; we actually need to eat everyday. Maybe not eating is not the best choice.

I suppose I could choose to eat like the little birds. Fat juicy bugs, wriggling earthworms, crunchy beetles, gnats, and crawling insects of all ilk and color. Yum, delightful sources of protein. For birds. Not humans.

Another example: For most people in America, applying for Social Security Retirement is easy peasy. Fill out the forms, submit, receive check. Not me. Nope, my account gets flagged for possible fraud (I had called several times with questions), then a case worker I consulted says I can’t have Retirement (that I qualify for) until my Social Security Disability claim is settled, and another worker (and my attorney) tells me that’s wrong, and another worker has to separate my Disability claim from my Retirement claim and because of the two claims her computer locks her out of my account so she is going to have to enter the information the next day. And now weeks after with no confirmation letter and no automatic deposit in my bank account, that worker won’t return my follow-up call to confirm she entered the information so I can receive the Retirement I worked all those years for. I’m sure this story is not done; I haven’t found all the cracks yet.

Birds don’t have cracks. They sing. They fly. They sing while splashing water everywhere bathing in my mud puddle. They eat bugs, sometimes not, if they can’t be found. They make nests, lay eggs, and watch their offspring fledge. Once in a while a predator (a possible crack?) might disrupt their little bird lives. Humans could keep life that simple, but we seem to have a tendency to make a mess of almost everything we touch.

Like the little birds who find bugs in the cracks and crevices of fences and branches, then tweet and twitter out their success to their fellows, I keep going every day. I am tenacious, I persist. Giving up is not a choice. I keep pecking and searching until I find an answer, my great big juicy bugs. Occasionally I go hungry, no answers, no bugs. I may find every crack to fall through, but by God I am the best crack finder. It’s nice to be good at something.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Early primrose, fully greened, pre-flower. Pink spots of heather showing up around town. Harbingers of early spring, white snowdrops pushing through a still chilled dirt.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Bingeing through the first eight seasons of Shameless (2011 – currently in 9th season, rated TV – MA). Strangely comforting to watch stories about folks whose lives are more troubled than my own.

Currently ReadingWhereas (2017, poetry) by Layli Long Soldier, powerful lyrical words about owning dual citizenship in America and as a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. * Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman (2017, sociology) by Anne Helen Petersen. The author uses women currently in the news to explore unruliness. I’m understandably angry because women are still fighting for equality and when we stand up for ourselves and others we are deemed unruly. Men mostly stand up for their own rights (few stand the rights of others) yet they are not considered out of the norm. Yet not one man would be here if not for a woman.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Not living in a place of Polar Vortex. You know that stuff is serious when Hell, MI freezes over.
  • Listening to the little birds go quiet as the neighbor children make noise around their basketball hoop.
  • Children playing outside.
  • Still being able to hear the little birds and the children.
  • Knowing how to re-frame adversity in my attempts to not feel so bad about life’s crap.
  • Having faith the cracks are temporary.
  • My personal trainer, Mister Kitty aka George Murphy, who makes sure I move every few minutes.
  • Making progress in cleaning and preparation for my new bed.
  • The generosity of poor people, as they are the ones I see helping people who have even less.
  • Electricity for heat and work and entertainment.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Falling Through Every Crack

  1. piratesorka says:

    Can you ask to see a supervisor on this SS disability claim and tell them that this person does not seem to be able to help you? You raise a good point about getting a card from a grocery store….whiich one would that be if your food bank could do this? Its a good question for our local food bank out of my church here.


    • sassy kas says:

      On the card: perhaps a variety to local stores. Local because transportation issues. Variety to offer person store of choice, one might prefer the produce at Freds vs Safeway, or the milk at New Seasons, or the cheese at Trader Joe’s, for example. Helps cash challenged folks feel more in control when they have a choice.
      Part of the confusion for my workers is the difference between the disability and the retirement. I’m saying it shouldn’t be this complicated.


  2. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: What To Be, What Not To Be | Sassy Kas

  3. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: Who Controls All My Ducklings? | Sassy Kas

  4. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: Opening Imagination; or, Proactive Thinking | Sassy Kas

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