Editor’s note: This is another article by Alex, a young British man who is currently unemployed. I would leave the take away for you but please remember that the feelings are real. Let us also remember that Alex is one of almost six million young people across Europe.
Those of you who know me well have had the joy of witnessing my wit, sense of irony and word play. They also, however, have the burden of my melancholy and black humour, and even a notion of unnecessary portrayals of drama; a thespian-like stubborn character who has found himself shaped by feelings of being at rock-bottom as hope is a distant and shielded collector’s item to be seen, but not touched.
The truth of day to day life is of course much more mundane than the vision under a spotlight on centre-stage. As individuals we view our life along a wavering plot-line, but when your story has become a chapter of minimalist occurrence, leaving whole pages yet to be filled in, there lies no foreseeable resolution and character traits start to fade.
So there are no real dramas for the most part, and in my experience drama is quelled by much more immediate concerns to fret about. Living with barely the means to get by (with the exception in my case of a loving and helpful family to be vastly fortunate of) is what people in my sort of situation find to be the only real narrative of their harsh lives. No relationship or lifestyle gossip, little to no political attachments, and lack of social variety and ambitious ideas are the result of hardship and personal feelings of failure and unworthiness.
Perhaps some have a brighter approach, and government media tends to put unemployed citizens in this light – that we CAN and SHOULD be doing better for ourselves, hence do better for society. Myself, I find it hard to rise in the morning with any sense of real achievement laying ahead when for months job searches and applications have resulted in few replies, and when cooking and cleaning the house are promoted from a chore to a reprieve from time spent worrying. I feel like a menace to my own existence and without contributing to the economy I’m a menace to society, only glorified by government official wordings such as being a‘job seeker’ rather than an ‘unemployment lout’.
To finish this entry I will share with you a personal account that inspired me to start writing again, but quite frankly cut me to the bone. I’d call it a story but there is no story; no beginning or end, like a jobless living it’s just a middle section rotating on it’s axis:
One bitter winter afternoon I was coming back from the Job Centre, feeling that things had gotten that bad, and knowing that things could get worse. I walked back up towards where I lived and was already in a state of sorrow and gloom. Some days it’s good to just laugh and think positively, other days such as this one there are no positives and despair is lurking as if hunting my very path, and then a single event occurred that kills any fight built up inside – I had realised I didn’t quite have enough money to buy potatoes in order to make a meal for myself and my brother. It was bad. It was if I then dragged myself by the scruff of the neck out of the shop, unfit for society with my measly 95 pence. I got to my house and burst into tears.
That my friends, is a grown up man sobbing at the realisation that struggling is not the half of it. This is what life is like with empty pockets full of time.
(To be continued…)