On Tuesday, I spent three hours at the Unemployment office, since it has been nearly 2 months since I filed, and I have yet to see a check from them. Perhaps you’re wondering, “Why didn’t you just call? Or email?” and in that case you’ve never been unemployed in California, at least not in the past 3 years. I have been calling them, emailing them, and sending them things in the mail every single day since I realized something was wrong with my benefits. After reading up on the matter (on Yelp! Of all places!), I learned that the only way to get through to them is to actually go to an office and sit at their special phones the minute they open, and be prepared to dial a million times before you get an answer. Well, I procured a babysitter and got there bright and early, called and hung up again and again until after 45 minutes of trying I begged a kind woman at the front desk to help me, as I had received a letter saying I was going to have my benefits shut off entirely if I didn’t get in touch with them by the following day. She took mercy on me and got me through on her phone, to a call in which I learned: a) my benefits are still in jeopardy b) I probably won’t see them for months, if ever c) I should have gotten in touch with them a long time ago (cue inward screaming “YEAH IF YOU MO’FOS WOULD ANSWER MY CALLS/EMAILS/LETTERS” but outward “Oh, okay, I’ll keep that in mind”). I have a phone interview with them next week, which is daunting since the 2 hour workshop I sat through that afternoon highlighted, over and over, that one should avoid a phone interview, at all costs.
I am not outlining all of this to have an online pity-party for myself, I am simply setting up that money is tight and the situation is frustrating and complicated. Therefore, luxuries are pretty much at a minimum in the St. Julien household. However, In the past week, 2 of my dear friends who don’t live near me anymore, independantly and without any prompting, sent me amazing packages of incredibly thoughtful and fun little things that seriously brightened my attitude. Here’s some of the love-made-visible:
Teas, chocolates, beauty products (the shower cap is from my mama. Hi Mom!), a novel, postcards, a reading journal, an owl candle, a badass wine opener, and even a few things for Olive thrown in. These women know me well. I found it humorous that BOTH of them sent me Lucha Keys, because if anything says, “I’m sorry you’re unemployed, Rhea”, it’s key holders shaped like Luchador masks. Obvi. I also need to highlight the robot tea infuser, because it made my experience of having afternoon tea yesterday so freaking entertaining:
Both ladies that sent me these care packages are therapists themselves, and so the moral of this story is, if you’re going through hard times, it’s best to have invested in some friends that caretake professionally. They really know how to treat a girl right. I have told both friends how much it meant to me to receive such packages of joy, but I wanted to give a shout-out to them here as well, to really bring it home. Thank you. Thank you to ALL my friends that have been supporting me in such creative, inspiring ways, whether it’s taking me to coffee to listen to me rail at the system, playing with my kid at the park, taking her for a few hours so I can work on my resume, or leaving a supportive comment on my blog. I’m feeling it. I’m grateful. And I got your back, come what may.
I am no Spearhead fan, but when Michael Franti sings “They can take my job but not my friends”, I think that hippie is on to something. Sometimes being in need gives folks an opportunity to show up for you, and makes your interactions with your friends that much more meaningful. So, I’m leaning on my community, as well as doing a lot of my own work through movement and journalling. I also found solace in this post, which really hit home about living in the unknown and learning to be okay with that. Thanks for joining me in the not-knowing, dear friends. It’s a fine place to be, just not by yourself.