Tag Archives: learning

Social Security Disability – Living in the System, or not

How many of us live terrified about money?  Not understanding it. Not knowing how to utilize it productively. Money is a vague anomaly, something that, for some, is easily quantifiable, for others a mind spinning process that brings little comfort, little stability.

I look at numbers and my head spins. That portion of my brain which controls numbers has permanently gone on vacation.  Has always been basking in the suns of Antarctica.  My father used to help me with math homework until “Modern Math” was established.  He bought a book on the subject and I remember nights when both of us would be crying trying to figure it out.

When I was a Paraprofessional in the schools, kids in grades 4 and 5 quickly learned to go to someone else for help.  If they needed to write, do geography, jump through hoops, learn history, read, they knew to search me out.  Math?   Computers they taught me. Why get things marked wrong when help had been asked for?

I have always found myself in trouble with my finances.  This year I am facing problems way beyond my abilities.  I was on Social Security Disability, very deservedly so. I was not one of those milking the system . . . I am someone who doesn’t understand the system. Never good in Math, Traumatic Brain Injury made it even worse.

I work as a caregiver/CNA.  Some cases are paid out of pocket, some as an employee, others as an independent contractor. Trouble is, how do you keep course over a year, month by month, week by week, what is too much or not?  How do you tell a client you can’t work for them anymore because you just discovered they are going to start paying by another format?  How do you handle it when someone, in June, decided to pay out of pocket but in January, determined a 1099 would be more to their keeping?  It isn’t a fair system. I know, I know, who said it had to be fair?

I don’t have the ability to work 40 hour weeks, if you can find a job that gives you that. Even 20 hours can, many times prove more than I am capable of. I am in a great deal of pain on a constant basis. I need the benefits offered to the disabled – the medical benefits.  I don’t abuse the system. I don’t use Food Stamps or other benefits because I pay for them myself.  I need Medical Benefits and to qualify for Social Security. I’ve never filed for unemployment benefits or welfare.  If only Social Security helped you understand the process and then, if needed, provide the help necessary to comply with in the system.  The system would be so much more organized and understandable then.

I contributed to the system for many years.  To go from being a national Business Management Consultant in Human Resources and Management Development to someone on Social Security over the course of a working timespan is humbling. What many don’t understand is, the vast majority of the working disabled are trying the best they can.  But they are in a system that penalizes you if you work even slightly over the set limit.  Problem is, you don’t know in the beginning of the year what your earnings will be, or maybe in what form as in my case.

So now I am not on Social Security. I need to apply for re-establishment which can take 3 years if granted at all. To obtain it I need to work less or not at all.  If I work not at all, not having Social Security, I can’t pay my bills or eat.  My family is talking about taking me in to their homes. I’m 60 for God’s sake!!  As much as I love them, I don’t want to live with them any more than they want me.  This is the American culture where each generation provides for itself and lives separate from the others.  It would be one thing if we did things the natural way and lived multi-generationally but we are not, and don’t have that thinking pattern.  I have lived by myself for almost 20 years.

So tough choices all around.  Happy New Year! (and I still don’t understand the system)

 

 

 

Listen to your Momma

He took the boy child’s face
between strong hands,
ones rough from painting walls,
pounding fence posts . . .
man hands – nothing soft about them.

“Boy, don’t ever treat women with disrespect,
but never, ever treat your Momma
that way.  She carried you,
gave you life, bore those labor pains
so you could live . . .

Listen to your Momma, and your Sister,
so when you grow older
women will love you
because you hear what they say
and understand.

He didn’t know if he deserved those words –
for they were words that
had never crossed his father’s lips,
and couldn’t be sure he deserved.

Even yet, the boy stored the words
inside his young heart.
And though he made mistakes here and there,
he became a man of shining example.

.

Schoolroom Teachings

With sure lipped bravado
he jet-sends his jeers
to ears waiting, knowing
expecting those words to come,
a fine dance of discontent
within the classroom walls.

Listless teacher, burned out
from too man kids and too many years
crying out for silence
to deaf ears, churning minds,
squirming bodies.  A Saint
might be able to achieve, but
one who hides beneath cover
of smile, whose eyes reflect out,
carrying no inner workings
the poor children carry the
hidden legacy of a broken system.

To look at the children,
the ones who care, yet are not
closed to the outer world,
their bodies retreat into themselves
curled up in a concave impression
of distancing, of
protecting the heart and mind,
placing all extremities out front,
to give the illusion of active attention,
so a measure of safety is gained.
Their eyes wells of sadness.

We witness in silent horror
as our children slowly
are divested of their gifts,
stripped bare of courage and strength,
rendered helpless in the feudal system,
where teachers are all powerful rulers,
infesting the masses with
their brand of corruption.

And, in the corner
facing a stark wall,
eyes turned away from the maelstrom
a boy draws mazes,
over and over again,
seeking his way out.

 

#everydayinspirations Prompt – Image

Chosen Image – Girl standing, looking into a forest

Scratching and clawing up the mountain, pushing through trees with long, sharp thorns, I started working my way through the pain and rage I felt.

Back at or family’s summer cabin, my parents were involved in a heated argument, sitting in chairs in the front yard. I have never been one who was highly vocal – my feelings were mine to keep.  However, when I heard that horrid, devastating word “Divorce”, I lit into them.  My fourteen year old self called the dogs and took off, trying to get as far away from the turmoil as I could.

Crossing the creek, I followed a late summer trickle of a mountain stream, rugged with sharp rocks at all angles. The stream fed the creek, with watercress and mint planted in its waters at the base. After scrambling over boulders, I got as far as I could before the boulders were too big to crawl over. I entered the land of thorns, shorter trees bearing inch long thorns throughout. It was a much larger area than I realized for in all the years we had been here in the summer, I hadn’t climbed the mountain.

Somehow, whenever major messages come from God, prickers and thorns are always a part of it  They don’t leave scratches or cuts – they are for the struggle and learning.  They are to get my attention, for the struggle of understanding.

Finally, I entered a glen as the thorns I passed away from. A huge tree had fallen, its root system an incredibly mosaic reaching to the sky. I was captivated, staring at the myriad lines the branches made.

Beyond was a barbed wire fence with a hunting road leading to a large fallow field.  A tiny cabin stood at the top. I crossed the road, easing my way through the barbed wire on both sides to a lush, soft green forest.  It was a fairy land. As I eased myself onto a log I could see moss climbing trees, grass ankle high. I breathed in the pure air and completely relaxed.  Moments later a young doe wandered to within 10 feet of me. We looked at each other, then she went back to nibbling the grass.  I couldn’t remove my eyes from her smooth, delicate beauty

A few minutes later the dogs came bounding back from their explorations. The doe took on look and high-tailed it away from their noisiness. Time to go. Crossing through the barbed wire, I decided to take the road down and the three of us started back downhill.

Back at home, all was quiet.  To my young eyes, my parents seemed to at least have called a truce.  My parents didn’t say a word to me but I was left with the feeling I had shaken them up a bit, and brought the tension they had so forcefully had earlier.

The lessons learned?:
a. State your truth.  It is right and appropriate to open your mouth and let others know how you feel
b. After life’s thorns comes beauty
c.  If you are not afraid, you won’t spread fear#everyday

 

 

 

Struck Deaf

Struck Deaf by confusion.
Your lips are moving
yet come voiceless to my ears.
Words rich with portent,
holding the essences of
what I need to understand,
fall short of intent,
fluttering in the breeze
only to drop at my feet
before their meaning
is understood . . .
It seems I must sift through
each thought carefully,
weighing its worth,
slowly digesting its content,
before a day may come,
long after the truism is spoken,
when I might think the words my own
and proudly display new found knowledge
to those who first sought to enlighten
now nodding with irritation or amusement,
and hopefully some compassion.
Always the student I must be,
but like an unruly child,
I learn at a pace of my own keeping,
comprehending only when comfortable
to do  so . . .
and my teachers’ continue
to wave scarlet banners before me
trying to catch the attention
of ears too often deaf.

 

 

Maintaining a Presence in the Blogosphere

 

Emptiness, an unfathomably deep hole where all creativity falls…
Sometimes participating in the bloggo sphere takes so much of my time there is
no space for writing. And because of my brain trauma, sometimes there just ain’t nothin’ ‘dere mates.

Once I received a comment saying the person used to come all the time to read my words but there just hadn’t been any for a while and he/she was disappointed. I panicked. What can I say? Do I pull something from the past? Do I have any creativity left? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time reading what doesn’t have value.

Plus, I have a life that extends beyond my writing. I mean, where does my writing come from? …..my life. Even though my family doesn’t generally read my writings, I am leery of sharing the stories which we are all in. And there are plenty… Although I can write this – what do you do with a cat who insists on climbing into my lap and head butting to show he loves me every time I get on the computer? Then putting his paws on the keyboard because he has something to say too. God forbid he learns how. The secrets he knows, I just don’t think are sharable.

I have been (hopefully) upgrading my blog; creating pages, trying to put archived writings in their appropriate pages. It takes a long time and I still don’t know if I’m doing it right. Please let me know if you see I am missing the mark.

Please be patient, friends of mine. This blog means so much to me. But connecting to your blogs and reading what your heads and hearts produce means a great deal as well. And often I am so humbled and ashamed of what I have to offer, in comparison, that I freeze. I hope to be a blogger and reader in the bloggo sphere for a long time to come.

Struck Deaf

Struck deaf by confusion –
your lips, I know, are moving
yet come voiceless to my ears.
Words rich with portent,
holding the essence of that
which I need to understand
fall short of their intent,
fluttering in the breeze
only to drop at my feet
before first their meaning
is understood . . .
It seems I must sift each thought
carefully, weighing its worth,
slowly digesting its content,
before a day might come,
often long after
the truism was heard
when I think the thought my own
and proudly display
new found knowledge to those
who first sought to enlighten,
and now nod with cautious mirth
and tender compassion –
rejoicing in my final understanding,
Always the student I must be,
but like an unruly child,
I learn at a pace of my own keeping,
comprehending only when
comfortable to do so . . .
and my teachers continue
to wave scarlet banners before my eyes,
trying to catch the attention
of ears too often deaf.