Now that I’ve stopped crying, again. Let me tell you what it was about this time. Hopefully this will be read by one other person in a crap situation too so they know they aren’t the only one. For now, let’s get started.
I saw this tweet:
Was just at a store when a teen in front of me tried to buy a hot pretzel sandwich— MommaT (@tweetmommybop) August 10, 2018
The manager rudely announces for all to hear;
you know you can’t buy hot food on food stamps
His head lowered of embarrassment
So I quietly add it to my bill & hand it to him
Acts of love win
It made me realise, I’m lucky. I have very little in the way of things to be proud of but I have a lot of stuff. However, there’s people going hungry everyday. There’s people being unkind to one another because that’s what the system says. The system that tells them to be unkind screws the unkind person over everyday too. That system makes us compete for work, when work is used as a way of ‘giving value’ to people. Then once you’ve got the job you’re ‘better’ than someone without. Guess what, you know you’re not The Best because this system has levels. Now you’re just a player in the system trying to gain the next level. With that level comes more money.
That money, however, doesn’t buy you a better moral compass or make you a more kind person. It makes you want more money; it makes you do more and more wild things to get the money. It doesn’t teach you how to say “how are you” and mean it because you’ve been in really bad places – it teaches you to say, “coming through, where’s my pot of gold.”
I’ve two partners. One is a final year bachelor’s student (X). The other is my long suffering spouse/PA (Q). They both know about each other don’t worry – this isn’t news. However, the same system, let’s call it the hunger game, that’s what it is – the hunger for more and more, screws both of them far more than I do. Everyday Q fails to see the carer they give me; they fail to recognise it as work; they feel crap because they don’t see they have a job; they feel crap because society tells them they need to have a job outside the house that pays them. The truth is they have a job as my PA, they provide me with a great deal of emotional and practical support. They are paid but from the DWP in the form of Carers’ Allowance (£64.60 per week). They drive me around to place I want to go. This alone at national living wage would be £46.98 – since I require around 6 hours every week to be driven. That is as a base level sometimes it’s considerably more. They also help me cook and do shopping, this help easily numbers the same again. The minimum hours they have to provide care for before they can get Carers’ Allowance is 35 hours. This income is deducted from our overall welfare allowance so it is mostly claimed because if it wasn’t, Q wouldn’t have their national insurance credit given which means they’d lose out in later life at pension time. If however, I was to have a full-time PA on standby for those times where I have panic attacks or get intrusive thoughts along with idealization of self-harm/suicide on top of the other care, basically 24/7 at NLW of £7.83 you’d be looking more at a bill of £1,315.44 a week. However, people still call Q a lay about and tell them they should get a job. Despite working hard often for little thanks and no recognition for 4.9% of the income. This is all before the maths that accounts for the minimum wage of a care worker of £8.45 an hour.
On to partner X. They’re currently on summer vacation from uni’. They are on the magic £8.45 (not as my carer ;( ) however, they’re on a 0 hours contract. This means they need someone else to be on holiday or ill before they get work. With a rent to pay and a life to live this money don’t cut it. Recently I’ve taken to doing batch cooking and splitting it three ways. This benefits all three of us because we’re actually all eating and it’s cheaper for me+Q to buy in bulk and it’s free food for X. Students get a small about of money to live on during term time but they get nothing during the holidays. Unless they are prepared to take out term only leases and hunt for a new one every years they still have bills. This system tells X if they want gold they need to work for it. If they want a good amount of gold to live reasonably on they need to study. It, however, doesn’t support that learning and development. It criticies students for not feeding into the system right away while crying it doesn’t have enough people to make everything in the system work as desired. So, when the system has worked somebody hard and they’re unwell and X can get work – this often results in them having to cancel or re-arrange pre-made plans. Of course suitable housing and life costs have to come first but, the affect it has on X and their social connections when they’re always having to drop out of stuff isn’t necessary. This is unrequited demand on a brain that’s still growing and really needs to relax so they can achieve the magical bit of paper that the system demands to give them access to nice pots of gold. They shouldn’t have to worry about where rent is going to come from or crap like that. Nor should they feel guilty because I’m sharing my ‘resources’ with them from love and kindness. Nobody should feel guilty or shame for taking help when they need it but guess what? Hunger game says they should because they don’t do enough.
Here’s the crucks of it. Hunger game is fake. It’s something we all subscribe to because it’s the norm. We chastise people for breaking the system when they steal. For taking more money than they need in the way of benefit fraud (which is rare btw). It congratulates those that make lots of money and when they screw up they’re dealt with much more kindly than either of my partners or I would be. You are worth more than your output/productivity. We should all steal – WHAT WE NEED. Stop paying transport fees. Stop paying rents and going to work. All of these things keep us submissive and willing to fight each other and shame each other for not being a good hungry player of this game.
For as long as we keep doing everything we’re expected to by the system nothing will change. We need to change us and crash the system. A metaphorical blue screen of death crash. Collaboration is what we need in life and kindness not capitalism and cruelty.