On the eve of another autumn weekend, readers, I wanted to thank you all for the overwhelmingly kind comments to my posts this week. I love reading your perspectives and, to new followers, welcome! But, I also wanted to take this opportunity to be honest, lay it out on the line, and reveal a bit more about me.
I’m unemployed and have been now twice in the past year. On Wednesday, I observed a kind of solemn, somber milestone that I wish no one would have to experience: that day marked my second full month of unemployment during this stint. That day I broke down, in my real life, far from my “blogging” self. If you just discovered Meet Me in Philadelphia, I don’t want to scare you away but I do want to be transparent. All of the projects and things I accomplish in my apartment and share on this blog buoy me during these times, as do your daily visits, emails, and comments.
Unemployment stinks, folks. But what’s worse, honestly, is the shame I feel on a daily basis. Some days it hits me like a powerful wave and I get pulled under the current of sadness. I question my purpose, my value, my direction, my choices…me. The tears well up and won’t stop. Other days, the shame and embarrassment isn’t quite so easy to spot. It sits just below the surface and I can be a functional adult; but the shame, that ever-present current, is always there.
And while my employment status is enough to get me down, the part of this experience that I was most unprepared for is that being unemployed feels like a shameful little secret that those around me are hesitant to address (I exclude 4 wonderful people—you know who you are). It’s the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. I grant that it is an awkward subject to raise, but don’t you think it is worse being unemployed? Why not ask me how I’m doing? I am tremendously grateful for those people who have thrown me a lifejacket during this experience and have expressed their care, support and advice. Without them, I would have drowned in my own sadness more times than I can count.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if you know someone who is currently unemployed, be there for them. And then really be there for them. Be explicit. Show them you care, whether you’ve ever been in their position or not. I promise you, it will provide a tremendous boost up and out of the waves.
Thank you for reading this, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone.