If you’ve landed on this page through Twitter, welcome to Jen Wallis World! It’s like Disneyland, only awful.
Naaah – just kidding! Although my friends could vouch that I get more than my fair share of misfortunes. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who feels as though they’re living under a dark cloud lately. Afraid to burden your friends; you suffer alone. You’re ashamed to ask for help, though you know that the shame isn’t yours. Trust me – you’re not “crazy”, or “depressed”, or “addicted to conflict”. Your trauma was inflicted on you by an unjust system which we’ve allowed to flourish for far too long. Or perhaps you’re at the mercy of some wretched fiend! Plenty of those out there. But you are the one who must deal with the consequences, and it’s not fair. I hear ya! You are absolutely right. You’ve been wronged and swindled and betrayed more times than you can count, and you’re sick of it! Oh I know, honey. You’re not alone.
Seriously – thank you for the seeking spirit which landed you here. It wasn’t by accident, though the lack of content and general disorder of this blog might be confusing. I’ve posted many things over this last year, but had to remove them due to nasty comments, lawyers screaming, “TAKE THAT DOWN, YOU IDIOT!”, or just feeling that the time wasn’t right to share.
I’ve given up a lot of time and energy for The Cause (pick one!) over these last 15 years. Doing so has given me a reputation as a “radical”, “troublemaker”, “bitch” or what have you. I’ve never minded that much. It’s the natural consequence of putting yourself out there. Folks who don’t take courageous stands feel extremely threatened by those who do. It’s easier to attack the people who put their lives on the line than face the cold truth that you’ve done nothing to effect change. You even mock people who do! If you take responsibility for doing nothing, what does that leave you with?
I’m not being critical. I went through most of my twenties not caring about anyone but myself. The guilt from that is often what leads me to speak out. I’m rarely courageous on my own. I’ve learned that confronting one’s problems with the attitude of, “If it’s happening to me, it’s happening to a lot of other people, and I’m going to fight for them!” increases one’s chances at success. It also keeps you from losing your mind at life’s impossible challenges. Life isn’t fair. I agree! I also believe that everything happens for a reason, and it’s a good reason, and you don’t need to know what that reason is right now. Trust that everything is proceeding exactly as planned. Act is if! In my world, anything is possible. If I live to 100 and am still basically failing at everything I try, I’ll stubbornly believe that. It’s a blessing and a curse. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
I could teach you many Yoda-like prophecies – like how your worst enemy is often your greatest friend – but you already know this. I’ll bet you could look back on your life and realize that every awful thing that has ever happened to you is what brought you here – on a path you never would have found otherwise. Maybe you’re lost now, but whatever! You don’t need a prophet. Like my hero Eugene V. Debs said, “I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, someone else would lead you out.”
Everything that has ever happened to you in your life has prepared you for this moment in time. That’s what keeps me going during difficult times such as the one we are all in. I have much to share about what I’ve learned, and so do you. Trust your voice. Always speak your truth!
The problem is, I don’t have much time to give for The Cause lately. My priorities now are to finish my education, and get my son back home. There are tremendous obstacles to that happening at the moment; painfully annoying and tedious b.s. that I won’t bore you with because I’m sick of thinking about it. I had hoped to start up a podcast as a possible source of income – but that takes time, savvy, and capital I simply don’t have. Many of us are struggling in vain to escape poverty. I’m no better or worse than anyone out there trying to survive.
One of the biggest things I learned on my Walk for Democracy is that if you ask for help, no one will help you. If you insist that everything’s fine – even when your belly is growling from hunger – you will always get what you need. It’s a strange phenomena, and one I suspect is unique to America. “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps!“… that sort of thing. I survived the road for 18 months with no sponsorship. I don’t know if folks realize how difficult that was! I had no money. Left Seattle with $300, and all of my friends and family assumed I’d just gone insane. The only thing I had going for me was a loyal black dog, stubbornness, and pale skin tone. Nevertheless, I managed not only to walk 4,000 miles, but survived: Kansas tornados and beer-stealing Mormons, moonlit nude interviews in hot springs with cute journalists, heat-stroking at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, a Midwest winter without a support vehicle and wildly inadequate gear, getting dissed by some dude from KISS at a dive-bar during a 100-year flood in West Virginia, getting dissed by Michael Moore and Julia Butterfly’s manager, catching a peek at the Dalai Lama’s brother watching cartoons before chillin’ out in Richard Gere’s yurt, or forcibly waxing Hunter Thompson’s sweet Caprice Classic in exchange for a free breakfast. I got stories! The ending is always the same: If I could do that, what could you do?
I’ve wanted to tell the world how I manifested it all through sheer will… the little tricks I learned of how to be “no one special“, yet land in the most magical places with incredibly inspiring people. I pitched my story plenty, but apparently I don’t have enough of a social media presence (100k twitter followers, according to Writer’s Market 2017), or 20 pages of title comparisons… or market analysis… or a giant LinkedIn network… or even a prohibitively expensive degree! Working class people like me aren’t into all that – though I am totally digging college, and my Tweeps keep me sane. I wonder if any of our classic books would have been written had their authors had to worry about such things? Jesus – what would Jane Austen’s Pinterest have looked like? I shudder to think. The publishing world is WHACK!
I’ll be okay. I’ve lost everything and started over more times than I can count. I am blessed to be living exactly in the perfect place, and to be doing exactly what I want to do. I haven’t experienced that for 14 years! The railroad has a way of controlling every aspect of your life, and I’m glad to be free of those scoundrels. I would love to help those poor souls left behind, though – which is why I’m going to be a Rock Star of Sociology. Peer-reviewed research gets the goods!
But I am struggling.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want your money. It is humiliating to ask for money. I want your collaboration! I am looking for accomplices in this fight for social and economic justice. I have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and WILD stories, but I don’t know how to get them “out there”. I suck at marketing, and I’m glad of it. I have zero interest in advertising, though I do see the cursed necessary of it. Or maybe I’m brilliant at it? Lord knows I try.
Whatever social problems we face, I probably have a personal story about it. Foreclosure? Yep! Harassment? You bet! Sexual Assault? Which time? Insane litigation against a multi-billion dollar corporations owned by Warren Buffet? You’ll have to be more specific…
My gender and class have always been a deterrent, but they’ve never stopped me from believing that I could make a difference. The entire world can tell me I can’t do a thing, and it just makes me want to do it more. But I’m old, tired, and disabled. I am looking for like-minded folks who share my drive, so that we can enrich our respective journeys. I started my strange trip long ago, and I’m definitely not alone. We are especially looking for those with the “green energy” resources to trade. Moolah! Yeah. We need some of that, and we hate that we do. I never was a very good capitalist.
I stand in solidarity with all those who’ve looked back over the last 300 years and came to the same conclusion – that nothing about the way we live is sustainable anymore. I’ve been derided for being “unrealistic” and “idealistic” (as if that’s a bad thing) my whole life – but when I hear stories from my working class brothers and sisters about their struggles… when I see them killed on the job for totally preventable reasons; I say the system we live in is unrealistic! We’re not robots. No matter where you go in the world, we all want the same things: peace and security. These are the only things that matter. That’s what we must demand for every living being.
It only takes about 10% of a population to affect total societal change. We could continue as things are – where every damn day is a struggle, and nobody cares if you live or die. I’m worn out from that. Aren’t you? Aren’t you sick of these ridiculous divisions? I prefer to create a new era, and truly believe we are approaching the critical mass to make that happen. Dark forces will fight us, but they are a tiny minority. If 10% of the people decided that those forces shall no longer be in charge, everything would change tomorrow. They know that! Why do you think they fight us so much? Why do they waste so many resources to keep us imprisoned, both figuratively and literally? Why do they make life so damn hard?
Because we let them. We also let the few who are courageous enough to fight stand all alone, and that is messed up. We should never let anyone devoting their lives to bettering our world take the fall because we’re too scared to stand with them. Resistance is how it’s always been done. Now it’s our turn to say, “Enough!” ¡Ya basta! Or maybe you’re waiting for the next generation to step up?
To my privileged readers who believe that dropping a tiny percentage of your massive wealth into causes or foundations is enough: NO IT ISN’T. I’m looking at you, #TimesUp! Your legal defense fund is garbage! Most of us weren’t assaulted or harassed in our workplaces – though those women certainly need help, too. Mothers are losing their children for reporting. What resources do you think we have?
For those who don’t know – only lawyers can apply for #TimesUp funds, and most of us have no access to lawyers. They don’t see a way to make money off of us, see? There is no pro-bono system in Family Law. If your abuser has resources (mostly because they sucked them out of you), you might have to drop out of college like I did; responding to endless motions, endangering my life having to drive up to 10 hours a day three times a week because I couldn’t find a damn lawyer to show me how to get a temporary order. I know dozens of women with equally harrowing stories, and we all lose. Big time! Not sure why you think we can take on the victim-blaming racket which is modern family law court, but we can’t. Our children suffer immensely, and by the thousands.
And furthermore – because I have this soapbox under me here – do you know how hard it is for people like me to get help? The endless hours we must spend filling out applications and using laundry money for gas to get to interviews only to be told that we make $3 a year too much to get assistance? Try to maintain your dignity when you’re treated like a criminal for simply asking for help. The hours wasted waiting in miserable lines with our suffering peers… and not for your benevolent hand-outs, People of Wealth. We don’t have time to apply for those, and you don’t exactly make it easy for us. We’re busy trying to get food and utility assistance. It’s degrading to jump through your hoops and beg to qualify for your pennies, and anyways we totally understand that most non-profits are little more than tax-free shelters for rich folks to donate to so their kids can have cushy jobs. Yes – we know that! You’re not fooling us! Are you not even a little ashamed? Surely you see us struggling out here! We could tell you stories for days that would break your heart, but maybe you can just spare us the added humiliation. Have some compassion! Buck up, and realize that you are benefitting from the income gap which keeps us poor, and therefore you probably won’t work very hard to level the paying field.
Am I getting warm?
There are far too many people out there with massive social and economic capital who are terrified of the peasants storming their castle, no matter how much they claim to care about us Poors. My advice to you? Take a baby step. Help someone like me… and it totally doesn’t have to be me. Pick any of the millions of seemingly insignificant nobodies who are languishing because they’re too busy devoting thousands of unpaid hours into trying to make the world a better place while you’re chilling at galas. Good gawd – we have to look at it constantly! Every time we go to the grocery store to swipe our EBT cards, we have to stand in line and stare at y’all having a blast and getting divorces or wearing weird things. It’s exhausting! We wouldn’t care about you if we didn’t have to look at you all the time. Sorry – but you ain’t “all that”, m’kay? How’s about you look at us for a change? Lend us a hand! See what we come up with! You won’t lose anything, for crying out loud. I could pay for graduate school with the money it takes to throw one Kardashian party. This makes me angry, because if I don’t have money, I don’t get to go to grad school, and then I will probably become homeless and die. I suspect y’all really don’t know what life is like for us. Or maybe you do? Who knows? We should talk! It’s okay to talk to us Poors. We’re nice!
We, The Poors, can only be our best selves with education, stable living arrangements, mentorship, food, transportation, legal assistance, healthcare, child care, and emotional support. Think I don’t write well? Well – guess what? I’ve never taken even one writing course. Most of us working class ladies were never encouraged to even have our own thoughts, much less write about them. I think I do pretty well. I know I could do better, but big deal! I don’t care if people make fun of me. I think of that as my super-power, and it’s served me since the days of wearing my Rebel Alliance X-Wing flight suit to middle school, and nowhere near Halloween. I speak the language of my fellow oddballs and nerds and troublemakers and the countless folks I’ve befriended over the years, just as each of us do with our own. Every voice counts, so let’s talk! Now is a good time to start.
We need you to help us, kind-hearted affluent! Amazingly talented and capable people like me disappear into the ether every single day. The gofundmes fill up my timelines like death notices these days. I know that for every one of those, there’s probably a million people without the resources to even know how to do that. They simply suffer and die. I’ve flirted with death a-plenty. I know what that’s like. Many of my amazingly talented artist-friends have passed; penniless and unknown. Our words and ideas die with us. What would the world have looked like if we were ever supported? Guess we’ll never know…
OR MAYBE WE CAN.
Mad love to you all. Truly. Thanks for making it this far down the page. I’m always told that people don’t have the attention-span to read however-many-words this, but now that you’re here, I want to give you a big cyber-hug and let you know that I believe in you! Remember this – when you start to question, you are already beginning to change. Much to learn from each other. Let’s do this!