Had a Buddhist study meeting at my place last night. Found it easier to tolerate the inappropriate remarks from one member who always seem to set my teeth on edge. There's always one. I'm starting to understand her a little better. She's had a hard life and she doesn't quite feel comfortable around a certain set of people that she has judgments about. I get that. Who doesn't have opinions about other people on the other side of the glass? The haves vs. the have nots. Does this strike a chord? I've longed for a child so long, peered through the window of those who enjoyed baby showers, and shopped for nurseries and bought cute outfits for their bundle of joy. I felt resentful, felt bitter, felt sorry for myself. Why them and not me? I wondered why I had to be outside of that particular bubble of joy. Why did IVF work for her the first time and not me? I did everything they told me. I worked so hard, prayed so long. Frig, even a woman with no arms and legs and a crack addict can get pregnant and have a child. What's wrong with me? Where's my miracle?
When you know people who NEVER have to worry about money and price tags and the price of gas, it puts things in perspective. It's all relative. People just look on the surface and think they know you.
I've been on both sides of the glass - and guess what, it's better being one of the "haves". In this city, there are homeless people all over the place. I can't walk 2 blocks without having at least 5 people sitting on the pavement ask for spare change. They have no idea that though I've always worked and always had a roof over my head, I used to search every pocket I had for bus change on occasion. Some jobs I couldn't take because I couldn't afford the bus fare to get there. One time, years ago after moving here, it was all the rage to go to welfare when you ran out of money. So at the urging of a friend, I went to the local welfare office. I couldn't get a job, the temp agency wasn't calling and the unemployment cheques failed to show up in my mailbox. Needless to say, I felt like shit, they made me feel like shit, and I slunk out of there empty handed (government cutbacks) wondering where my natural head was at. What a blessing that was! One of the best things that ever happened to me! I had always made it through on my own, so I just left it to the universe to take care of my sorry ass. Well the universe and my pretty head. Long story short, I used my brains and talent, and an emergency loan from my actor's union to get me out of trouble. I temped in office jobs, I nude modelled for the art school, and lo and behold the unemployment cheques finally materialized in my mailbox. I worked to pay back that loan. I used my department story credit card to buy gift certificates and then I would buy one cheap thing and take the remainder in cash. I even used those gift certificates to buy food (fancy food of course!). I booked gigs and made more money in one week than some people do in a year. If I were to lose what I have tomorrow, and trust me in this hard times, that's always possible, I would survive. It's in my genes. Thank you, mother.
But that woman doesn't know that. She just looks at my fancy apartment and shoes and thinks I'm ostentatious. She thinks I've never known suffering or loneliness or unappreciation. She thinks I don't know what's like to feel defeated by things beyond my control.
Having money doesn't make your life perfect, it just makes your misery a lot more comfortable. It's nice having to distract yourself from your troubles by going on vacation or buying shoes. People with all the money in the world aren't immune to living in hellish conditions. It doesn't protect you from illness or loneliness or crazy families.
As the Buddhist say, oh, you have problems? Congratulations! You're about to grow and challenge your fundamental darkness! Congratulations again!
Newflash: We got another enquiry through our local agency, hardly any details of course, but we're submitting our profile. Oh yeah, but they had the details of the fees, though. Uh-huh.