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  • Writer's picturekatrina

Darker Stories, personal and long

"The true measure of any society can be found

in how it treats its most vulnerable members"

-Mahatma Gandhi

I understand how harsh and hard life can be. I was a direct victim of the 2008 economic crash, and I never fully recovered, though I made the best of every second despite the hardship. Up to that time I was working and going to college full time. After the crash, I lost a well paying job and had a nervous breakdown, not knowing how I was going to pay rent, cover my basic needs, and continue going to school. Beyond that, everyday the lingering fear I felt from knowing I'd be living in debt due to student loans for a large part, if not the rest, of my life was shackling. I couldn't go on anymore, the pressures and stresses were debilitating. I didn't feel free. I ended up leaving school with the plan of working awhile before deciding a sustainable long term plan.

Unfortunately, despite every effort, for more than 2 years, I *could not* find a job, due to the local dead job market. I eventually lost faith in my life and in trying, because I did not have a strong support system encouraging or supporting me -- I had the opposite. Many people thought I was intentionally trying to not find a job and turned their backs on me, despite the fact that I had worked a job since I was 14 years old and relished being independent and active, and also despite the fact that the detrimental effects of the 2008 crash were cemented in history next to the Great Depression. I became homeless and lost hope in people and my dreams. I was only 21.

Besides this, I had a mysterious neurological condition that caused seizures, blackouts, limb weakness, mobility issues, trouble speaking, etc. I had no access to medical insurance so was unable to get help or a diagnosis. I eventually found a job, but it was so inappropriate for me and my condition that I felt cursed. The pay was not good, and I was left completely exhausted and used up with nothing left for myself at the end of every shift. At that time, I also started losing control over one of my leg's stability due to my condition.

I thought I would try something new and relocated to Indiana where a sister had moved. Luckily, I had no problem finding a decent job once arriving. It wasn't especially high-paying, but for the most part it aligned with my integrity and my abilities. I was able to get by. It wasn't a lot, but I was grateful to be independent again.

Two years in, while on bicycle and in the right of way, a very large SUV came out of nowhere and slammed into me. My bike and I flew into the air from the impact and gravity crashed me down onto the pavement. The blow was so hard that my back broke a bunch of glass candles I had just purchased that were in my backpack. I lost consciousness. I came to and found an ambulance had arrived. No one asked me for my statement on the accident, and I was hauled off to the E.R. In the emergency room, I was told that since I didn't have insurance the tests they wanted to perform on me were going to be very expensive. They gave me the option of denying the tests. I was scared and in a panic due to fear of debt and the shock of the accident, so I denied the tests. I was let out of the emergency room 20 minutes later, in confusion and pain, not knowing what was going to happen. Many years later, I learned that the doctors wrote on the medical record that I was totally fine, which is how I'm guessing they could justify turning me out without any care.

When I called a lawyer to see what help I could get paying my hefty ambulance bill, he looked up the statements the police had taken, and said he couldn't help me because according to records, the accident was my fault. I was so shocked. The statement given was blatantly not true, but at that point I was functioning on so little, I didn't know what I could do. I felt I had no option but to let it go.

Under a year later, due in part to the accident's after-effects and my neurological condition, I fell backwards down a whole flight of steep concrete stairs, damaging my back, ribs, neck, rupturing an ear drum, and much more. Again, since I didn't have medical insurance I could not afford to get help. I went to a free clinic that gave me antibiotics for the eardrum rupture, and was sent on my way. Through all of this from 2009, by the way, I did not own a car and had to get to where I needed via bike or public transportation. If you've not done this, take it from me, this is not always easy or convenient, especially when you are physically impaired.

Due to these accidents, I could no longer function at my jobs, though I tried. My kind boss at the time suggested I take time off work because he saw how much I was struggling, despite my trying to be strong and hold it together. I would have kept going, but the reality is, the injuries I sustained during my accidents, plus my existing neurological disorder, were putting me into full blown disability. I had to quit my job, lost my apartment, and became homeless again. I traded housework for housing in different situations, but many times it turned out bad, with the person I was helping having bad intentions.

I was in a critically vulnerable situation, and being preyed upon by people in positions of privilege and power over me, with no protection or basic support. One included a local lawyer who was recognized by the city as one of the "brightest" minds of the county, and who also had a plan to get into government. Through me babysitting his children, he tried to solicit me for prostitution and would harass me with inappropriate stories about his sex life that were truly disturbing. I did not continue working for him, but I wish I could say that was the only situation like that I experienced. I was only in my early to mid 20s. I was not 100% naive about the world, but I learned very early on how corrupt, unjust, and backwards things can be. I was devastated. I had so many beautiful dreams, worked so hard, and yet I encountered bad situation after bad situation, with seemingly no protection or support in sight. This is just a mere scratch on the surface of the appalling and inhumane situations I have experienced.

"I understand what it's like to not get ahead despite every effort and being a valuable precious asset. It can be profoundly hard to hold on when life and people have let you down repeatedly."

Through my experiences, I have come to understand things from the ground up. When you have that sort of understanding, you understand the essential even in times of plenty and prosperity. You can keep your head, stay on the ground, and steer in the direction of goodness. In our society, much waste is made at the expense of people who don't have the luxury of wasting. The bright side though is we can right the wrongs by minimizing excessive waste and delivering the essentials with leftover prosperity to spare."

While your story may not be as extreme as mine, I believe the injustices you have witnessed and experienced. I know they are connected in some way to the ones I've experienced, and I want to help correct it. No one should have to experience situations as extreme as this, where their lives are crippled in fear by debt, lack of freedom, and a corrupt society. No one should have no option for safety and protection, that lead them into situations of domestic abuse and lack of personal autonomy. While not all issues in congress directly relate to this, I think someone voting on behalf of the vulnerable and underrepresented can be powerful in making the changes we need to see in society.

While some people may think this is just coming from a place of good intention, it is more than that. It is a constitutional duty for the United States government to promote the general welfare and domestic tranquility of its people. The government is failing at this duty. That is not just rhetoric, it is an undebatable truth. If you don't believe me, just look around.

I deserve more from life, and so do you. So let's make a pact. I'll put my experience, resourcefulness, tenacity, time, and passion to work for you, for me, for everyone who needs the support and protection, the big issues, and the little issues; in exchange, I get your vote, your support, your encouragement, and your faith in America's future. Deal?

Together we can make the world a better place. Will you join me? These are our lives, and it is absolutely time to actualize our dreams, the lives we want to live, and the personal freedoms we strive towards on a scale that benefits us all.

Let's not waste another minute!

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