Inside the Box of Fear

detail of painting, m/m

My modus operandi when I am afraid

Or depressed

Or seriously stuck

Is to disappear.

Not posting here for the last week is a good example.

I made a commitment to transparency when I began this blog two years ago;

To myself, primarily..

And also to you.

I have spoken about ‘hard’ stuff many times before.

It is interesting to me that I am fully aware of the transformational possibilities held in a life’s precious
and painstakingly cultivated identities;

Getting shattered by illness, divorce, death or big, giant loss of any kind.

But when that very shattering happens so close to my own bones;

And the noise is searingly shrill and feels life-threatening,

I am silenced.

The backstory is this: (I am choosing to take you all with me as I really have little left that means more to me than truth).

My grandmother/mother left me a generous inheritance which has sustained me through the sometimes lean years of my creative pursuits.

I have lived with the solace of a financial ‘back-up’.

When I received the diagnosis of PPMS in 2000, I was down on my knees in gratitude for the safety net that money gave me.

As my health challenges progressed, all possibilities of continuing the art career I had established over 25 years evaporated.

My right hand in a constant curl prevents me from fussing around in clay and dirt as I love to do.

I have pulled money out of this trust to survive for the last 5 years steadily enough to have reached the bottom of the barrel.

Here is a part of the story I could just curl up like an armadillo in shame about:

Because of the way I have been reading my quarterly statement from the bank,

I thought there was a certain amount of funding left; not too much but still a cushion.


I found out last week that I have enough money left to cover two months of living expenses…

I am sharing this with you because part of making a new life living with disability

Very often includes ‘working the system’

Which is a whole world unto itself.

I COULD beat myself up and just sink into feelings of:

“I should have… or: I could have.. If only..”

But the fact is that I have done the best I could in the midst of my current challenges.

I will now call up the energy needed for stepping forward

Into the shadowlands

Of resources available to me

In support of a life

In partnership with disability.

I am going to take you along with me

As I crawl out of this quicksand.

I am entering the arena of the dreaded: ASKING FOR HELP FROM THE GOVERNMENT!

Me.. capable Cath…


Well…. onward I go………

It is my hope that we’ll all become richer

For the adventure about to unfold..


7 Responses to “Inside the Box of Fear”

  1. Muff on June 9th, 2011

    Cathy, I know where you stand — I’m in quite the same area. Having left the working world three years ago, and having to give up all that went with it — insurance, retirement, financial stability — I’m now constantly looking for ways to sustain me. I wish you (and all of us who walk this tightrope with no safety net) success in finding a new route.

  2. Judy on June 9th, 2011

    The tight coil of finances and disability is at the core of this experience. Yes, one can and should be positive and resourceful. But, here’s the thing. I have often found that it is those who don’t have to worry about their next loaf of bread who are best at overcoming financial psychological warfare. Having been poor and also richer, I can attest that rich is easier. Having money is not everything, someone once said, but not having it is. As for my current situation, like you, a disability retirement has worn down my financial resources. It gets scary. And humiliating.

  3. webster on June 9th, 2011

    I know your pain. I did it as well, but with a meager inheritance, I should have bought a smaller but much newer, and therefore reliable car, I should have, could have done other things as well — but I continued living as though I still had my part-time job, taking that extra $500 out of the bank each month until it was gone.

    I was already on SSDI; hello food stamps! (Thank GOD for food stamps).

    Fortunately, I also inherited my (not w/c accessible) house, and so have no rent. Just taxes, insurance, and upkeep.

    You will survive.

  4. Susan on June 10th, 2011

    so darn proud of you for putting this out there!

  5. Elisa on June 11th, 2011

    You will thrive and flourish!

  6. Laura Hegfield on June 14th, 2011

    Oh sweet friend I’m sorry, and at the same time I have absolute faith in YOU and that somehow you will find a way to survive and even thrive. Don’t know how, can’t give any advice…but I just have a feeling. Some creative inspiration will spark and you will be ok in the years to come.

    sending you metta

  7. Nicole on June 15th, 2011

    I found you!!! Good for you. Transparency. I can respect that.
    Well said. Beautifully written.

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