My name is Charity Thomas and I’m coming out as a broke and angry 38 year old black woman. It’s taken me a long time to write those words but it’s true. I’d turned that anger in on myself and have been depressed for a very long time because I was ashamed. Ashamed of being a stereotype. Ashamed that maybe I wasn’t working hard enough to get a job (which for a while I wasn’t because the rejection was destroying my spirit). Selling and liquidating all of the money I’d tucked away over the years. Selling the life insurance policies that were bought for me when I was born by my sharecropping great grandparents. Ashamed that all my education had lead me to have to consider food stamps. Ashamed that I chose to follow a passion and followed it half-heartedly. Ashamed that I couldn’t even get server jobs because I’d never worked in service and felt that I was too old, too fat, too black with only one ACL to stand for 8 hours. Ashamed that I didn’t have skills I didn’t ever think I’d need or want.
But the shame stops here. I know I’m not the only one. And keeping this to myself is isolating. Because now I’m angry. I’m angry and I want to use my anger for change. I’m not even sure what kind of change yet, but I know I’m going to tell the story of change. From being a debutante to using change to buy food on some days.
I know I could have done better with my money, but I didn’t. I got a computer so I could keep up with the changes in my industry (film, a whole other can of worms) that now require faster speeds. I got a camera so I could maybe make some web videos and start a channel with some friends so we could at least do our artistic thing. I still drank when I could and started rolling my own cigarettes (another broke/ health shame, but the truth). My friends will come by and feed and water me, but then I’d start to feel guilty about that.
I’ve been freelance my whole life and figured it was just slow for me. But I worked one job in 2012 and that was in November/December. The damage was done. And my self-worth was wrecked. My story revolved around my poverty. But it also included my self-examinations. I did a lot of soul searching in that time and I am blessed to have a therapist who didn’t desert me when I went broke. It is forcing me to re-evaluate who I am and how I value myself every single day. And I’m learning. And today I learned that I AM PISSED!
PISSED at a systematic breakdown of my nation. Pissed at the cruelty of those elected to serve but only belittle. People we PAY a lot of money, but not as much as corporations. I’m pissed that corporations are people. I’m pissed that we are still having conversations about blacks that plays in to centuries old stereotypes that I have also swallowed despite my knowing better. I’m pissed that I did that.
I want to tell the truth and the truth is I’m scared. I’m scared that I might get sucked into a system that I’ll never get out of. That no matter how many times I do my resume or how ever many I send out will never be enough. I’m afraid of this being the new normal. And I don’t want to take it lying down. I don’t know what’ll come of this, but this is what I had to do today.