I really need to figure out a way to get paid for writing my hilarious and (sometimes) poignant thoughts, because this nine-to-five barely-making-ends-meet bullshit is really getting to me.
Basically, ten hours of my day are monopolized by work--I wake up at 6, and don't get home until four. Then, if I don't want to be in constant, horrible pain, I have to go to the gym, which usually takes about two hours with the commute, cardio, swim and shower.
So we're down to twelve hours. Eight of which should be dedicated to sleep, because I am a crankypants when not well rested.
BUT WAIT. Social obligations! Domestic chores! Errands! An extra half hour of cardio because I'm feeling oddly motivated!
Basically, I have no time for myself, and that is a problem.
Now, obviously, this is a problem for a lot of people.
Probably most Americans.
But in my case, the case of an Autistic, the lack of time and space to decompress is detrimental to my health and well-being.
Tony Attwood, one of the leading experts in the field of Autism Spectrum Conditions, states that for every hour of social obligation, an Autistic needs an hour of alone or quiet time. Work is an obligation--a highly social one, at that. So basically, if I'm working eight hours, I need eight hours to chill the fuck out and calm down or my mental and emotional health will suffer.
Which it does, greatly.
I've been blogging for the past three years about how hopeless and stuck I feel, because I lack the resources (not to mention the energy) to get myself out.
People have said to me, "Just put yourself out there, something is sure to come along. You don't know if you don't try."
And it's not like they're wrong, necessarily--and generally, their advice is well-meaning.
But telling me to go out and just get a job is like handing me a water bottle and pencil and telling me to build a bird's nest.
I don't have the right tools, and I don't have a manual.
And it's not only my social difficulties--last year, I made just around $20,000. Poverty level.
My loans currently amount to about $80,000.
If I want to escape this crushing burden, I have to move to a place with better entry-level prospects.
In order to move, you have to have capital.
See the issue?
And even as economically oppressed and depressed as I feel, it doesn't even come close to what it must be living life without all the privileges I've been afforded--a mother who engaged me as I developed, who imbued me with a love for books and learning, who, at her own financial peril, co-signed several student loans, without which I would never have attended the institution I did.
There's this VISTA position I'd really love to take, but will probably be financially incapable of doing so because I can't catch a break with these goddamn loan servicers. I can't get an entry-level position in my field because entry-level positions require experience, usually in the form of unpaid labor or internships.
I am all for volunteerism, but the way unpaid labor is exploited in this country is sickening. As a high schooler, if I wanted to go out and do things with friends, or buy clothes, or do anything extra curricular, I had to pay for it myself. Obviously, my mom helped, and it's not like we were desperate for essential items, but what most middle class kids took for granted, I had to work for. I didn't have time to engage in unpaid labor or volunteer--I was busy trying to make it in the world, and I started work at the age of thirteen.
Even in college, I didn't do internships--something I sincerely regret, and something that's totally bitten me in the ass down the road. I didn't engage in unpaid (or low-paying) labor because I was trying to make ends meet in college. The extra expenses add up, even the non-frivolous ones, like health care and vehicle maintenance. Sure, there are paid internships, but most of those would have involved being not in Erie and living in a bigger city, with higher food costs.
Basically, I'm pissed that the system has set me up to fail. I'm pissed that despite all my hard work in education and the workforce basically means shit, because I'm stuck at a low paying job in an economically depressed town because I didn't have the privilege of being able to work for free--I needed money to survive.
And yet, I'm drowning. Still.