Yesterday I had yet another conversation with an older woman, living alone, abandoned by her family and struggling to make ends meet. She told me that she never tells anyone how bad her financial situation is, because it’s embarrassing and because people don’t care anyway. I get that. I live it. I have known this woman for decades, and knew her when she wasn’t poor and had family around her…when she had ‘something to give’. A lot of something, in fact. That’s the magic variable: Something to give.
I told you a long time ago, love is parasitic. That sounds bitter and pathetic, doesn’t it? hahaha. But it’s not. It’s the cold, harsh reality. Love is all about what you can GET from somebody else. That’s not Biblical, but it’s our new reality. Sad. I have studied this phenomenon from the inside and sometimes I chuckle. I am amused at the unadulterated truth about life and how fooled we are. We try to make things seem pretty and fair and safe and morally superior. But the unadulterated truth is this: It’s about what I can get from YOU. No really. Before you shake your head in disbelief, THINK about it. Really think about your loved one and how you would react if you couldn’t get what you want from him/her. I warn you; the truth hurts until you get used to it. When you see that the ’emperor’ is really naked, it makes you laugh sometimes, at the games we play.
It is pathetic and socially heartbreaking that we claim to be such a great, wealthy nation and yet we treat a huge part of our citizenry as worthless. We are NOT worthless and we are NOT invisible. But we are also not one of the “defined” minorities who demand to be taken care of, about whom the bleeding hearts talk a lot but do little. We can’t garner votes…nor have babies to guarantee a monthly check. We’re not sexual anymore and we can’t hand over our paycheck. So…society at large wishes us to be invisible, because this way, people do not have to understand that love and care are both verbs as well as nouns. Verbs, by the way, imply ACTION. Too complicated for you? Well there you go.
As fate would have it, I also got a comment on my blog yesterday about not having a ‘donate’ button on my blog site. This reader would have donated to the cause of thrown away wives. I never meet this person, but I know her. I know her character and it is rare and precious. This reader has “the care gene”, that rare and precious character trait that is fading from society and which, by the way, makes you a target for parasites who will use you and throw you away. Anyway, the truth is, I don’t know how to manage online donations. Her idea is a good one, and I have contemplated starting a non-profit organization just to help older abandoned women…the ones society deems worthless. Maybe one day I can figure that out.
But here’s the thing. And this is something I and the thrown away woman spoke about yesterday. It should be NO surprise to people that older women are alone, often abandoned and struggling financially, if people only paid attention. We are not “of childbearing years”. That’s society’s veiled way of saying we are not sexually attractive anymore and therefore we are useless. I know. For God’s sake that’s harsh. Well, if you have a brain that works, do your own research and face reality if you dare. But that, folks, is THE one big reason we are invisible. If you are of child bearing years, you won’t believe it, and if you are past child bearing years, you are now invisible. Welcome.
We are EVERYWHERE, the unseen thrown away. Most people do not care, But once in a while a person passes us who DOES see us, who does get it. And here’s something you guys can do…all three of you. Go to the bank and take out three one hundred dollar bills. Or two. Or one. Buy a card and put the money in it. Mail that card with money to one of the thrown away women YOU KNOW. Because I know you know many of us. I PROMISE you she needs it and I promise you the result of that action will be disproportionately huge from YOUR perspective. To you, three one hundred dollars bills is nothing; to her, it means she can buy groceries this month. And to her, it means for a brief moment somebody ACTUALLY SAW her. That might even be more important than grocery money. Here’s an idea: Do it anonymously. That’s how its supposed to be.
Want to hear something you won’t believe? We throw-aways ROUTINELY give to one another; we sacrifice, say, eating meat for a week, in order to give that value to a throw away who might not have grocery money at ALL. We sacrifice even when it hurts. And, do you remember me saying that it is precisely because of that element of our character that we were targeted by the users who bled us dry and thew us away? We are compassionate and generous. Isn’t that interesting? she said, being facetious.
Listen, I can’t afford to give anybody anything, yet I do. And yet there are those less fortunate than I. I live in a home. I have a friend who, until just last week, lived in a bedroom. I’ve done that. It’s amazing that a bedroom is enough, but when you are worthless and invisible, it is. In fact it is a gracious PLENTY. This woman just moved into her own apartment, with no furniture. She was as thrilled as if she had bought a palace. All I had to do was mention in my church group that she would appreciate used furniture donations and before you know it, she had living room and dining room furniture. Just like that. Imagine. Others’ old furniture became her “home”. That’s how it works. Oh. And she has a son. Who could have bought her furniture. Just thought I’d throw that in.
Before I get off of my soapbox, let me add this. We WORK. We don’t lounge around waiting for a check to show up. We don’t do drugs, we don’t stand on the corner begging. We have JOBS. And I said jobs, plural. Like I said in my book, I worked THREE jobs at once in order to survive. Many throw-aways work multiple jobs. MOST work multiple jobs. So we’re not sitting around on the pity pot. But we are still human beings who deserve to at least be seen. And I will add this again. Love is a verb. You don’t have to be an anonymous donor to make a difference. You know people who need help. Help them. And let me add, finally. God bless the ones who DO see us, and who do reach out. We could NOT have made it without them.
I just had an idea. Adopt a throw away. Our families don’t want us. But I, for example, am a grandmother. I have grandkids I never get to see because I’m invisible, you see. But I’d like to actually practice being a grandparent. Any spare families out there? Something to think about…for another blog.
Homework: Find a throw away. Donate.