Sunflowervillager's Blog

Growing into community

The stress you risk by wanting a different world as a poor person August 31, 2011

Filed under: economy,risk,solidarity,wage — Saera @ 7:50 am

After I read Walden Two, I gave it to Daniel to read. We talked a fair bit about intentional communities over the past couple of weeks. We came to the conclusion that to really move the Sunflower Village Initiative forward, we need to develop a village. This will allow us to demonstrate that a solidarity-oriented village can work. It will give us credibility with individuals, families, other intentional communities, donors, and other interested parties. While this plan makes sense to me, its implications for my personal life are somewhat mixed. On the one hand, it is bringing the village back to a very personal level for me: I can move forward on creating a village for me personally to live in. On the other hand, I am unsure of how to best make my living in the mean time.I had planned to develop SVI to the point that I could hire myself and then others to work on the project full and part time.

My personal situation lately has been feeling rather desperate. While I was in India, finances became very difficult and complicated for Daniel and myself. As I had difficulty finding a compatible job after my return, I didn’t find work until late July. Between Daniel’s hard work and my position as a nanny with a new family, it seemed that we were about to stabilize financially. Unfortunately, the physical challenges of Daniel’s work have led to some chronic health difficulties, and he hasn’t been able to work much lately. Additionally, we have had to spend some money on doctors fees. I’m not looking for sympathy or advice on the work situation here. It’s just that this is the nitty gritty reality of what goes on when you’re poor and idealistic in America. I feel frustrated that, finally having got together enough income between the two of us to start attacking our mountain of bills and debt, a source of income has been reduced by the way that income is gained. This is the sort of cyclical expletive garbage that makes me just want to quit America. I couldn’t sleep this morning I felt so stressed from trying to figure out how to deal with this cycle of poverty and work conditions. That kind of stress is one of the most ignored effects of poverty and one of the grinding and degrading conditions I hope for villages to eradicate.

Personally, I’m nauseous from work where either I sit on my hands and do almost nothing, or grind my body through repetitive and numbing actions, and at the end of the day, I still don’t know how two people working a total of at least 70 hours a week are going to pay for basic necessities, let alone attack the debt. One of the things I thought about yesterday was carpentry. It’s a possibility I come back to from time to time when I feel frustrated by school or idle work. I looked up carpentry in Massachusetts. The union offers training… which takes four years. I found that upsetting, like I should have listened to myself and quit college for technical school years ago. Here I am, with a degree, and still no jobs I want, except to ddvelop and run the Sunflower Village Initiative. Had I gone for a carpentry apprenticeship, I could be making money and building a village.

But there’s no changing that now. But I’m feeling a little calmer and, after writing all of this, my headache is gone. Because I’ve decided what I’m going to do. I’m not going to set an order, because all of these things need to move forward and all need current attention. So, starting with the most personal:

I need a new job, or at least a second job. I need to make more money, and far more reliably too. I need to work towards making enough money that it doesn’t matter if Daniel works or not: for now so that he can quit a job that is literally, according to doctors, wearing his body out, and for later, so that he can fully focus on school. In other words, I need to make a grown-up’s salary.

I need to actively form an intentional community. I have already put out feelers to a few people whom I think it would be great to start a village with. If you want to build a village with me, in all seriousness, let me know.

I’m going to continue working towards making SVI a tangible reality that can pay. This is the job that I truly want, and no one is making it but me. Maybe I could have gone about this differently, but I’m almost 27 and it’s time to act on what I’ve done, not what I might have done.

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3 Responses to “The stress you risk by wanting a different world as a poor person”

  1. nvanvleck Says:

    I know only too well the negative effects stress can have on one’s self, as it is something I struggle with most days. I sincerely wish I could be there to be a part of your village, but that is not currently a viable option for me. Although I am not nearby, but please let me know if there is anything I can do to help (even if it’s only sending you some good thoughts). I have no doubts that you will make your vision a reality, and I wish you and Daniel all the best while you are making it happen.

  2. Saera Says:

    Hey Nicole, I really appreciate all of your support: reading this blog and commenting on it, emailing me updates, and doing things like checking out intentional communities online and growing food are all great actions. Thank you too for your confidence in my vision.

  3. Carrie Says:

    I intend to keep checking in here.

    Just wrote about a new community down the street for me. http://tinyurl.com/3z7cb8s

    That makes three in our city.


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