I need to liberate myself. I have been involved in liberation movements for the majority of my adult life – lgbt immigration, race, living wage. But today I need to liberate myself from me.
I am 55 years old. I have not had a job for the better part of the last three years so I have no more unemployment. The two federal legislators I talked to at netroots had no idea that there is a group of people who have run out of unemployment.
This terrifies me.
There are now people in the movement who are making gigundous amounts of money for work that I have done for free for decades. This pisses me off. I feel pushed to the side and all the work I have done amounts to nothing because a new generation apparently just invented activism. So all the lessons learned, battles won and lost mean nothing. We are pushed to the side, living in poverty and wondering what will come next. The streets, starvation, stress of unknown proportions?
The truth that liberates me though is this: there is nothing I can do about it. I am completely and totally powerless.
The movement will continue without me and others who have come before who have won and passed laws, won and made lives better, won and gave hope. I can’t do anything about it.
Except tell the truth.
I am afraid.
So with this confession, I have to say that whatever amount of money people are making in whatever large amounts those are, all of that is none of my business. When I get obsessed with what other people are doing it is because I am afraid for my own future and what will become of me. When I focus on others I don’t have to look at what has become of me.
But the truth is also that this hurts my feelings, a lot. I am friends with a lot of people around the country. It really makes me sad that so many things are happening and no one invites me and my peers anymore for our thoughts or ideas. I am old news, literally.
Those of us in the 50+ age range can’t get jobs, are losing all we have built up over the years and are struggling with the world as it has become. Nothing is fair. (Not that life ever was fair. When we lost so many of our brothers we were very clear that life wasn’t fair.)
So now that I am liberating myself, I hope to breathe a little easier, think a lot more about those around me and less on people and things that are none of my business.
In the meantime keep your fingers crossed that there are more jobs for people everywhere. All our ships will rise together.