Basically, everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Lost jobs, work for contract positions put on hold, not qualifying for unemployment insurance, not qualifying for Student Loans this semester for school since I'm now in a part time program and made too much money when I was working last year.
So things got hard. There wasn't money for the necessities, there wasn't money for anything fun, and eventually there wasn't money for bills, and new jobs have not yet been forthcoming.
I grew up in a house where we never had a lot of money and were always thrifty, but we had a roof over our heads thanks to my grandma, and usually had enough to get by and be pretty comfortable.
But this was different.
So even though I didn't really want to, I didn't have a lot of choices left, aside from buying a bunch of scratch tickets and hoping to win it big in the lotto.
So I ended up applying for social assistance.
Now, I'm in a social work program currently--I know as well as anyone and better than most that stigmas against using social assistance programs are largely ideology, and created to deter people from using these kinds of programs. Society as a whole looks down on those who use social assistance for any reason, and I guess I've internalized a bit of that feeling, that using these resources, even when you're desperate, is a bad thing. And there are problems with these kinds of programs - in terms of what it takes to get them, the amounts of money that are deemed enough to live on, and how these are always the first programs to be cut when the government is "trimming the fat", but I'll save those rants for a paper for school.
I know too, that I'm in a better situation than most-I'm university educated, I have professional job experience, and a few months has been the most that I've really ever been out of work in my whole working life, because I usually end up finding something fairly quickly once I start looking for a new job.
But I'll admit--this has been a hard couple of months. Stress has been high, money has been tight, and I considered just giving up on school, my dreams and pretty much everything because there have been a lot of terrible moments that have not made for a lot of happy times or hope for the future. This is partly why I've been quieter on the blog too, because I just wasn't ready to share my troubles, and it was hard to be motivated to put on a happy face or get excited about taking photos or crafting.
So although it's been a bit of a new and weird experience for me to have to fork over all my costs and bills and keep track of my job searching and other tasks in order to keep qualifying for social assistance, overall, I think it's just given me the buffer zone for a month or two in order to focus on job searching and doing what work I can for my current job contracts, without feeling that great sense of despair that I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent or buy groceries in the coming weeks.
Things are still tough, but I think I'll come out the other end of this with an even greater appreciation for the value of working, ingenuity and keeping things together in the midst of a stressful situation. Although, after I'm done learning all my lessons , I am definitely looking forward to a bit more comfortable time ahead financially, with a nice steady job and the ability to finish up my degree.