Thursday, October 20, 2011
This is embarrassing. I just went on Amazon to replace a friend’s pizza peal that I broke while house sitting. At the check out, there was an offer for a $40 gift certificate if you sign up for an Amazon Visa. I have a Banana Republic Visa that I want to cancel since I don’t use their rewards anymore, and figured I could replace it with an Amazon one. Apparently not. I began to fill out the information on myself: name, birthday, social security number, phone number, but then I got to the employment section. Income: $0. Employer: none. Type of employment: unemployed. Work phone number: I entered in my cell again. I have impeccable credit - no debt, no late payments, nothing - but instead of the “You’ve been approved!” I expected, a message came up saying that I haven’t been immediately accepted; they need to keep looking. They’ll get back to me. Unless they deem me a liability. A liability? This is humiliating.
I’ve been through a lot in the past year, and it’s taught me about myself: who I am, the strength and courage inside me, what I believe in, what’s important to me. But staring at the online form, I realized what I would have to enter. It never used to bother me that I didn’t have a job, because I was making a difference - for myself and for others. For the first time in years, I felt like I was doing something that mattered. I wasn’t selling phones, I was making a contribution to the world. So when did that turn into a bad thing? Why do I feel ashamed when I say that I’m unemployed? Why does it make me feel so useless? Worthless? What changed?
Yesterday I attended an online epilepsy blogger summit. It was interesting and informative and I felt like I belonged to a group that meant something; that made a difference. I felt my worth to the world. Yet it took only twenty one hours to forget. I woke up to a new day and the oscillations of life caught me on their down-stroke. A simple credit card application focused me on the superficial - the hard facts that sit black and white on the surface. They show no color, no story, but those pull-down multiple choice boxes made me feel worthless and embarrassed.