Surviving and Prioritizing

It may not seem like it by how much I’ve made it a habit, but I hate asking for help. The society I live in frowns upon it severely. No matter how great the need, people in the US especially are dedicated to independence. It’s considered better to die with dignity than invite shame by asking for help.

The fundraiser last year gave us enough to move into a new apartment, and for the past several months, I’ve been supplementing my income from Patreon with fundraising to make ends meet. I’ve said it elsewhere, but to make it clear, I don’t want anyone to help me if they can’t afford it. So many people are struggling right now. There are so many people I’d love to give money to on a regular basis, but I don’t have the spare resources.

I hope someday that my Patreon will bring in enough for me to cover all of my own monthly expenses so I can begin saving and taking better care of myself and my community. For now, I am amazed that rent and utilities are covered, because I never thought I would be able to rely on my writing to get by, and I’m doing just that. 

In my efforts to address the issues that impact me directly, I have written about things I’m not an expert about. Over the past several years I’ve written essays about politics and inequality, but these have distracted from talking about what I know. What I know is only my own experience, and I’m not an expert in complex issues like economics or climate change.

My frustration with the state of things extends far beyond the world I grew up in. I believe that problems like familial abuse would decrease significantly if we had a better social safety net. However, I am learning that it’s not my job to fix the whole world and every aspect of society that contributed to the dysfunction I grew up with. It is my prerogative only to tell my story.

Many survivors do not make their stories public. Choosing to speak up about what I’d truly experienced was not an easy decision. Not everyone has the same opportunities, and not everyone wants to blog about their trauma for a living. I’m not sure most days if I want to write about my trauma for a living. It’s painful. More than that, it might even be counterproductive to my recovery to keep trying to write about the trauma.

I worry a great deal about the silent survivors, those living in anonymity and trying to get jobs, housing, and relational safety. I wonder where the Turpin children are now and how they are doing. I worry also about those who cannot escape because there is no anonymity in the outside world for them, like the Duggar kids. I am lucky to be just recognizable enough to get attention and just anonymous enough to have gotten out. The survivor’s guilt I live with is very real.