Image by Moise Nicu, used with Creative Commons license
I’ve been having a recurring dream lately. It’s only been going on for a few days, but it’s really affected me. It’s pretty simple – just a Facebook status post. Talking about it here gives me some distance between an actual post that might appear on a Newsfeed because not everybody clicks on links. It makes me wish I had the courage to actually be this blunt. The status is as follows:
Hey: everybody who has a problem with people on welfare? I’m on welfare, and I’m sick of seeing your status posts demonizing folx like me. If you have a problem with me being on welfare, kindly de-friend yourself. I’m done with feeling guilt and self-loathing because of your status posts.
Now, not being able to work because of a disability is a different sort of welfare than someone who is struggling to find a job (or, in the minds of the people who post the types of statuses I referred to above, someone who refuses to work and prefers to take govn’t handouts). But that doesn’t make it any easier for me to read the hateful posts that clutter my Newsfeed and try to not feel like it’s a personal attack. It’s bad enough that I have to put life plans on hold because I can’t afford to not be on disability. And I worry constantly, am I taking advantage of the system? – it plagues me. Do I need to be more careful about how I spend the small amount of money I receive on the third of the month? Am I too high-functioning to be on disability to begin with – should I just suck it up and get a job? I don’t want to be the drain on the system that these people on Facebook are constantly complaining about.
Maybe, though, the thing I actually need to be thinking about is how valuable these online relationships really are if they consistently make me feel like shit. Regardless of whether or not I want to keep in touch with extended family and former co-workers, maybe I do need to gather the courage to either post a status like this or cull my friends list myself. Just because I’m on welfare doesn’t make me lesser-than, or a loser, or deserving of attack.
I’m not a burden on the system that you’re pissy about because I’m a waste of your tax dollars – I’m a human being, thank you very much.