DIARY of a 99%-er: The Struggle Between Survival and Creative Expression

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October 21

“Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The Universe smiles on us again, as we are able to pay the rent with money from Simon’s job, my freelance writing and my unemployment funds. I am beyond grateful. And, then, feeling much more peaceful, and thankfully, having gotten a good night’s sleep last night, I saw a story that broke my heart in the newspaper. A man apparently shot his wife and their dog, before shooting himself, in what appears to be a murder-suicide. Because it just happened this past week, there’s a lot of rumor and speculation until the police can do a full investigation. But the article did mention that the couple was just about to move from Laguna Beach to South Carolina to be closer to the wife’s family, and that the husband had been “detached” and “like a robot” in the weeks leading up to the move. It also mentioned that the police are looking at financial issues as a possible motive. I can only surmise that this man’s psyche was so badly damaged from his lack of ability to provide financially, and that he may have perceived the move as more humiliation, since he would lose face in front of her family. And, this just caused him to snap. Why he felt compelled to take her life and their dog’s, instead of just his own, is beyond any realm of comprehension.

But it glaringly underscores exactly what the counselor told me a few months ago: how delicate men’s psyches are around being able to provide financially, especially if they’re used to being the sole breadwinner and if they live in an affluent neighborhood with other men who are high earners. Luckily, it’s been more than a decade since Simon was the sole breadwinner for his former family, making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And, he’s done a lot of spiritual work in the interim, to disassociate himself from any kind of Superman/Breadwinner identity (in fact he’s gone so far to the other side of the spectrum that this is what now tends to cause problems in our relationship). And, luckily we have never bitten off more than we can chew. We have stayed in our 580 s.f. apartment. I have never bought property, knowing that there was no way I could maintain a mortgage while living paycheck to paycheck in the writing jobs I had. And, even with no air conditioning in my car for two years straight in this desert of SoCal, I never went out and bought a new car. Or even a used car.

So, thankfully, we don’t have that kind of pressure. But I am reminded that when I suggested to Simon that maybe we move to my parents’ house for a while, so we could get some relief from our rent and daily expenses and regroup, he said he would not feel comfortable with that because he would be embarrassed, as he wasn’t working at the time. I’m so glad he told me that and I’m so glad I didn’t force the issue, because I wouldn’t have wanted to put him in that situation. So, while that would have been a possible release valve for us, it’s not really an option. Plus, it would have put pressure on my parents, and they’re struggling as well right now. And, there is absolutely no option for us to break our lease anytime soon, which at least has been an option in other apartment complexes I have lived in. The irony? The apartment management company did have an out for tenants who lost their jobs during the first two years of the recession and then eliminated that out, long before the recession was anywhere near being over. Luckily, our lease is up at the end of February,

So, my lesson for this week is to continue to be as delicate and gentle as I can with myself and with Simon and see what happens for the rest of November. With the imminent election, who knows what will happen?

In my yoga practice tonight , I spending a lot of time in bridge pose, setting the intention of bridging the gap between where we are and where we want to be financially.

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