There is something I want to get off my chest. It relates to my last post , in that it has to do with poverty, and the feelings of dis-empowerment that can rise, due to one's lack of income. I hope that I might be able to help others in a similar situation.
While writing this post, I found this amazing animated film, about the history of poverty, and it helped put things into perspective for me. The site whypoverty.net has many similar such films about this important issue, that affects us, in one way or another, artist or not.
No statistical discourse, relaying data on how poverty affects artists is of little interest to me. As an artist, I am well acquainted, and have learned to cope, and adapt with both the effects, and affects of poverty. I really consider myself to be very fortunate, and am very grateful for all of my blessings in life.
What is most troublesome to me, is how more often than not, the lack of income immediately puts a person into a position of dis-empowerment, and can be a downward spiral, especially when compounded by other problems such as illness.
It is however, up to me how I respond to my situation, to the attitude of others, who will often ignore, demean, insult, and put your concerns at the bottom of the list.
I am grateful to be able to express myself in an articulate manner, improve, even resolve my problems, or circumstances that frustrate, and burden me. But, it can still be a challenge to advocate for myself.
We live in a time when it is almost impossible to speak to someone directly over the phone, playing a constant game of phone tag, including a plethora of unanswered messages. It's enough to drive a person over the edge. It's a covert and sometimes overt message, that you are not important, and you just don't matter, especially if you are poor. Many folks just give up trying to advocate for themselves, or don't have the wherewith all to do so.
There is a history of blaming the poor for their circumstance. I suggest it is a carry over from the Protestant Work Ethic, that perceived poverty to be a moral issue. The poor were seen as morally defective and lazy, being quickly dispersed into work houses.
According to the Protestant Work Ethic, if we work hard enough in spite of our low remuneration, we will be rewarded. Unfortunately, are we are not often rewarded, but mostly taken advantage of, and those who work less, in high paying positions, are often rewarded, praised and held in high regard within our North American society. My dear grand dad would always say, "The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer". I believe he was right. And B.F. Skinner was wrong, we are not always rewarded and punished accordingly for our behaviour.
If you are ever in the position of being hungry, worrying about not having enough food to eat, one's attitude is adjusted to one of empathy, understanding, and hopefully compassion, toward another less fortunate.
The best antidote to worry, is action, not procrastination, I have learned .
Best definition of procrastination I ever heard was this one. "Procrastination is like masturbation, the only one you screw, is yourself."
If you know someone who is having difficulty advocating for themselves, that needs help, give them a hand-up, share with them what helped, what you did, what enabled you to regain your sense of self-empowerment.
If you find constant obstacles blocking your way to advocating for yourself, don't give up, persevere. Persistence, along with trust, and prayer, really does go a long way to help you cope with those overwhelming crazy makers.
I did this today, contacting the head office of a company with my complaint. I could have chosen to do nothing but procrastinate, complain, worry, and continue to feel frustration, resulting I'm sure, in the rise of my blood pressure.
I feel better now. Thanks for letting me rant.