So I am currently unemployed. GASP. Quick, look at me like I have two heads! That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s actually quite sadly not. Everytime I am asked (well meaningfully) what I “do” for a living (often it’s when I encounter someone in the public world, register assistants at stores, meeting friends of friends etc. Usually the question is: have you finished work for the day? Are you on your break from work?), and I respond “I am unemployed/not working currently” or some variation thereof, I get this look. This “confused because the person in front of me doesn’t look like the stereotypical “unemployed” person/trying not to judge but can’t help it/feel sorry for this person in front of me/etc” look. Anyone who has been in this situation knows the kind of look I mean.
It is no one’s business where I get my money from, but for all intents and purposes I am unemployed. I did have a job earlier this year, it was a casual checkout operator at a department store (I got about 3hrs a week because I am “too old” for retail, which is ridiculous but true) and I have been employed for the last decade. I was terminated by this employer without even being told, because of a technicality (long story), I found out four months after the fact that I was no longer actually employed.
It was a major major shock and it really hit me in the ego. I have always prided myself on being self sufficient, providing for myself. And money is a bit of a touchy subject with me, so many people have offered their advice on how to save and budget. And I appreciate all that.
But I am always so embarrassed and uncomfortable when people ask the question “lunch break/finished for the day/what do you do for a living” and usually I just lie and say oh yes I am/I work in retail etc. Just once I would love to be able to say “I am self employed, I’m an artist”. But as I have never made a cent off my work I feel like that’s just another lie.
I don’t understand why I should feel so ashamed when I have to lie. But why should I feel ashamed? Why is being unemployed such a shameful thing to be? Why is it that the stereotypical image of someone “unemployed” (at least here in the Land Of Oz) is an image of someone who is lazy, doesn’t want to work, spends all their money on booze and drugs, doesn’t give a flying fuck about anyone else.
But I don’t fit that mold. I dress well (I love the store Dangerfield, google them, your life will be changed forever), I love to wear bright coloured makeup, I always look “well polished” for lack of a better term. And people assume that I waste my money on expensive clothes and makeup, they only see the photos of my outfits and not the novel thick wad of layby receipts that enable me to buy the beautiful clothes that I have that make me so happy.
I am not lazy, despite what my inner voice wants to tell me, I am actually ill. I have a physical disability and a mental disability.
I am not lazy. I do not (not always anyway – mania from any mood disorder can lead to snap decisions such as excessive spending, which I am getting better at though!) waste my money on frivolous things. The make up I buy and use is inexpensive yet still good quality. I am able to sniff out a good deal anywhere! I have tattoos yes, but those I saved up for and any and all future ones (I have many planned) are also going to be saved for.
I have not been to the dentist in three years because I can’t afford to. I haven’t gotten new glasses either for the same reason. I can only just barely afford the health insurance that helps keep my illnesses (mostly) under control. My partner (he is more than my “boyfriend” but “husband” – though legally we are defacto which is common law married so he is technically my husband – and “spouse” just don’t work for me. Yes he does a lot for me and our little family and often more than I can do, but I still like to think we are partners in this together – off on a tangent, I’ll discuss this more in another post) works fulltime and is my fulltime carer so he does shoulder a lot of the responsibilities in our relationshio]p.
I am unemployed. Shock horror.
From now on, I’m a self employed artist whether I make money off it or not.