- Posted January 22, 2014 by
Los Angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
'I Woke Up From A 5-Year Recession Nap"
To view posting with pics/video: http://www.allthingslauren.com
The 5-Year Recession Nap.
I just woke up from a 5-year nap. The sleep was choppy and full of nightmares with me as the star. I’m a shell of a person in all of them. Here are a few I remember:
1. I graduate from one of the top universities in the country yet can’t find writing jobs after Obama declares a Recession. Insert: daily espresso.
2. Money for my “new, amazing apartment” in Los Angeles goes to surviving. I can only afford to split a studio with my best friend. We sleep on the floor but at least rent is only $525 each.
3. My partner cheats on me. I can’t find work in my field and my bank account is getting close to having nothing in it.
4. I cry. My head starts itching. I get expensive cream I can’t afford.
5. Everyone tells me to get a day job. So, I start waiting tables. Insert: two daily espressos.
6. I now have two jobs at two different restaurants, work 60+ hours a week, need even more over priced cream, and start eating junk food.
7. Fast forward several years. My diploma is collecting dust underneath my bed. My value comes in a weekly paycheck, which says it is $8/hour plus tips.
(PIC OF PAYCHECK ATTACHED)
8. There's a fire in my apartment building. I run, half-naked, outside and wonder if the television that took me two years to save up for is okay.
9. I'm fired from one of my part-time jobs, which no one officially tells me. I assume after no one calls me back or returns my e-mails.
10. An ulcer decides to take over my eye. I wait to get it checked out to avoid getting fired until I can barely open it. The doctor says, "You may lose your vision." Luckily, that doesn't happen but I'll be wearing glasses forever.
11. I can't keep deferring my student loans and work to pay them off. Insert: four espressos a day. I eat more and start to think, "Will I turn back into the 200+ pound girl I was in high school?"
12. Friends = 0. I avoid the people I attended college with who always ask what script or blog I've been working on. N-O-N-E.
13. I fall in love, or so I think. My heart gets crushed and I cry a lot. My stomach hurts from all the espressos.
14. Then, in a tragic car accident, my brother passes away.
15. I hit rock bottom and buy a coffee machine I can't afford.
I'm not a poor girl and never have been. I’m an African-American, lesbian woman who grew up in a middle-class neighborhood and attended great schools. I have always had big dreams and gone after them with unwavering tenacity. I know what success feels like. I simply graduated at a tough time and couldn’t get a break and chose to fall asleep on myself. I call it, Life Sleep. It’s the worst kind during it, but once you wake up you start to see the world in a new way.
When I hit rock bottom it was scary at the time. I had to take a break from work and fell into a deep depression. At the time, I thought I was going into a deep, dark place where I’d be sleeping the days away. But it was the exact opposite. Turns out, I was slowly waking up from my 5-Year Recession Nap and started feeling ALIVE. I’ve been dreaming ever since, but it’s Awake Dreaming with me as the star. Here are a few things I remember:
1. I start writing again and create a web show. Insert: herbal tea.
2. My dad and I write a book together about dating and laugh a lot during the process. We even win an award!
3. After sharing my "Coming Out Story" on a piece I did for MTV, I was asked to be on The Ricki Lake Show with my Pops. It was an unforgettable experience.
4. I start working out, join a weight loss program, and get off the weight I gained before my 5-Year Recession Nap started. My stomach pain even goes away since I rarely take espresso shots.
5. My student loans go bye-bye. Yep, working all those hours and saving it was a blessing in disguise.
6. Violet, my dog, comes into my life after I rescue her from a shelter. We're best friends. She was in bad shape (ticks, fleats, etc.) but now she's happy and healthy.
7. I make a web show and even star in it with Violet, called Single_Never_Married. Watch the Trailer link below.
(check out www.HowtoGetReal.com to see it)
8. I live a life for me, write often and celebrate each day for myself and as a tribute to my brother.
There is a new generation of people who are genuinely stuck and feel like there’s no place to go because they’re in a Recession Nap; who did everything right and followed all the steps: went to school, stayed out of trouble, worked, saved money, didn’t go on vacation, sacrificed their happiness, and ignored any dreams to pay bills. And these people are still doing what they were told to do, like me, by family and society because it comes down to survival. We have to eat, right?
What we all have in common is that our heart beats. We have the capability to make what we want of our life if we so choose. I was asleep for five years but I now realize there were lessons and blessings scattered throughout that time. Here’s another thing I remember from a dream:
9. I'm awake and I'm happy.