The System Wasn’t Designed to Help

I have my meeting with the District Manager tomorrow about my full time status or lack thereof. Before you get too excited that we are meeting, I had to be proactive and send him an email telling him I was surprised I had not heard back from him yet. Then he decided to get back to me. So I will keep you posted on how that works out, though, I’m fairly certain how it will be if the previous months are any indicator. I will end up being told one thing to placate me and they will end up doing nothing, which is what originally happened. Three times.

It’s kind of funny that I am griping so much about the job because currently between my “part time” status and my hourly rate, I still qualify to get some benefits from the state, but if I get bumped up to full time, it will probably put me in a situation to struggle more than I do on a daily basis. The people who made the “system” were kind of geniuses. If you think about it, they have created a system whose sole purpose is to keep people exactly where they are, exactly where the system wants them to be, while convincing them that they have to do better for themselves. It has happened to me on many occasions (because I job hop). If I make minimum wage and work 40 hours a week, I am considered to be living under the poverty line and I can qualify for food stamps and medical insurance. I can qualify for enough food stamps to actually feed my kid the whole month without worrying what he will eat if he misses a day of school or what I will feed him on the weekend or three times a day in the summer, but if I make $10 an hour and work 40 hours a week, I either don’t qualify at all or I am approved for $70 a month , which is like 3.5 days of food maybe 5 with leftovers and I have to take and pay for any health insurance offered or get it through the marketplace. And somewhere in the middle it always amuses me, before and after, it actually pisses me off. I always say the system is not designed to help people. It is designed to keep them exactly where they are. That’s why it’s called a system. I don’t know if I heard that somewhere or if I came up with it, but it doesn’t really matter, because either way, I believe it’s true.  I just don’t know how the people who decide the guidelines come up with them. If I’m already struggling to pay my bills every day by working a menial job and bringing home a fraction, a tiny tiny fraction, of what the people who actually made the laws make, I don’t understand how they can think that if I get a $2 an hour raise, but my rent hasn’t changed, my electric bill is fluctuating depending on the season, my phone bill hasn’t changed, the cost of a bus pass hasn’t changed because I don’t make enough to pay a car payment and insurance, I just wonder how they feel like they are helping by “making” me self sufficient. What they are really doing is helping me solidify my plans to be a drug dealer or a stripper or a stripping drug dealer.

I think in an ideal world, if a person is getting help from the state and they all of a sudden get a decent job that pays them a decent wage, it would make more sense to continue to give them help for a designated amount of time to get their shit together and then take it away. The system is just perpetuating the problem. I know a lot of people “take advantage” of the system, but in reality, what is the motivation to get up and out of the system.  It’s almost the same as a woman who breastfeeds giving her one year old the option of coming to mama for milk or crawling out of the crib, going to the kitchen, getting up on a chair to get a cup out of the cabinet, climbing down, walking to the refrigerator, pulling and pulling and pulling until that big door opens and then opening the half gallon of milk and pouring it into the cup, but the milk is too heavy and the cup is too small and there’s always a mess to clean up before even being able to take the first drink. That’s not self sufficiency. Why would he/she do that more than once when the convenience of mamas milk is right there? No preparation, no mess, no clean up?

To me, that’s what the system is. Call it what you want. Big brother. Mama’s tit. I don’t really care, I just know that the system is fucked. It’s not a coincidence that housing projects are called “projects.” And even with all the racism in this country, it’s not a black or white or brown or yellow or red problem, it’s a socioeconomic problem and sometimes I really wish those who knew how to navigate the system so well were giving lessons, because I’m about over working to make other people’s dreams come true while mine are on the back burner because I need to eat and make sure my kid has a full belly. And if those people aren’t giving lessons, is anyone giving stripping drug dealer lessons because I’d be open to that too.

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