Just Say YES

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It is rather difficult to make any headway in the world when the only way you can progress is to wait for an answer from someone that either will, can’t or won’t say a simple three-lettered, one-syllable word.

I’ve been doing all that I can to ensure that things move in a positive direction on every front and at a reasonable pace.  But it is quite disappointing to have to rely on the ultimate judgment and decision of another in order to get anything done, be that task simple or complex.

I feel like giving up completely but I simply can’t do that.  If only others really knew the astounding amount of work it takes so that my life runs just a little more smoothly, a little more reasonably.  No one sees that work, really, just the two wonderful people with whom I live and even they are stymied by how hard I work for positive change — and how it seems no one will ever say to me the word yes.

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What I get is no.  Or no response at all.  Or no.  Or the I’ll get back to you maneuver.  Or just an outright no, some more no, and then a final no, thank you.  I understand that rejection is not failure and is inevitable in life but this unending lack of resolution, why, this is ludicrous.

As time flies by it becomes harder and harder to find employment of any description.  Not only that, it’s virtually impossible to offer my capabilities gratis as any attempt to volunteer them has been so far rejected.  Imagine being rejected in an attempt to volunteer.  Imagine, being asked to fill out an application in order to volunteer.  But there are plenty of volunteers to be had, and there are too many people looking for work.  It is a numbers game.

Staying home (not by choice) and remaining sane has a built-in high degree of difficulty and I assure you that it is unpleasant as measured by any rational or measurable means.  I love my room, I love my cat but I’d much rather be working hard at my profession than at home writing this blog.  Still, writing about it seems to help a little, whether or not anyone cares, sees or (god forbid) actually reads my work.  But I know how to use words; they’re plentiful and best of all they’re free and I have the time to use them to some effect.  It only takes having something worthwhile to say.

Words have great potential but they have no power whatsoever if there’s no one willing to read or hear them.  Look at what words can do: they can change minds and in so doing, change the world; they can radiate, they can impress, they can enamor and uplift.  They can matter in powerful ways if the right person reads them and responds; words have a power to heal many of our ills and it so happens the word yes has some miraculous healing properties.

And then there’s that oft-times harmful word that we hear far too frequently: NO.  [And note in the previous sentence, the word NO is capitalized, underlined and italicized for a good reason; that’s usually how it’s said.  It is only missing an exclamation point for additional emphasis.]

More often than almost any other word in our language it is the word NO that disabled, senior and mentally ill people are forced to deal with and is too often put to them with nasty, gleeful malice; it is NO to employment, NO to needed services, NO to outreach, NO to pleas for assistance, NO to uplifting personal dignity, NO to human kindness,  NO to a vote of confidence.

It’s hard work to overcome the results of the effects of the word ‘no’ for those who need real positives in their lives, for the word NO has forced many of us to sit on the sidelines of life.

For example, I’m not bitter about being unemployed; I’m mystified as to why I remain so, and am very concerned about it.  I’m not mad at being turned away from volunteering my services, I’m just baffled as to why someone would have to compete with others in order to be a volunteer.

I’m not hopeless, useless or incapable, far from it;  I’m able, willing, motivated, seasoned, knowledgeable, reliable and most of all I’m right here and ready — and I’m sitting on the sidelines along with practically everyone else.  And all because of the word NO.  Why isn’t someone saying YES?

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I believe I deserve a chance to work.  I’ve labored hard and long for the opportunity to do so.  I believe I deserve to work toward a life that financially allows me to enrich my time with art and music, with poetry, with expression and the completion of whatever positive goals I can achieve; I believe I deserve a chance to be responsibly, gainfully employed so that my dreams can flourish.

I give thanks that there are people who on occasion can and do say yes who understand the situation and have made life more meaningful; my mother, aunt, therapist, friends.  They say yes and it’s never hurt them to make a positive rather than negative choice.  They say yes out of love or out of care.  They say yes because they know that their love and care is repaid with my commitment to being mentally healthy and by my serious and dedicated work toward those commitments as well as my belief in making them happen.

But as much as they love me they can’t pay me desperately needed wages that I want to contribute to them, to society, to myself.

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So here I sit waiting for someone, anyone who can employ me to say that one, single, simple three-letter word yes; waiting for someone who knows my abilities to have the least bit of faith that I can do something constructive and meaningful for them and then act on that faith and knowledge.

I work very hard in my search to obtain a positive employment outcome and then I wait, wait, wait for someone to say yes so that I can finally resume independence.  I am still right here waiting to have my gifts recognized and utilized and to have my hard work commensurately rewarded.  I fear that it may never happen.

Of course I have considered nearly every alternative to traditional employment such as opening a small shop or kiosk, but just try to get a loan to start a small business when you’ve been unemployed for an ungodly amount of time.  Your idea and business model could be stellar, even brilliant, and you won’t get a thin dime from anyone.  And this is not the pre-technical past where I can beg from door to door for a job; the world has changed and that’s no longer practical or possible.

How can you be positive about the future when it’s a resounding NO you get for your efforts?  It puts you down and keeps you down.  It places you into a state of suspension that has no resolution.  It creates stress that cannot be resolved.  The constant fears of homelessness, poverty, instability and isolation hang over my head unbearably.  Those outcomes are unfortunate and real possibilities for many more people than ever before, not just me.

I speak now to those who have the ability to employ others:

Allow me to ask you a question: how can someone live a realistically vital life if no one will allow them a fighting chance to flourish, to move ahead?  The damage done by failing to encourage and create jobs for people who desperately need them is incalculable, to them, and to you.

Some complain that the mentally ill are in the streets, clogging the jails, swamping emergency rooms and overwhelming homeless shelters with nowhere to turn.  But sadly, they are often left to their own devices, discarded, out of sight, out of mind.  These critics complain about the drain of funds to care for those with mental illness, for seniors in danger of losing health care or funding extensions of benefits for the chronically unemployed.

With no reasonable chance of meaningful employment or training, with dwindling funds for health care or money for everyday needs like food or shelter, where do you think they can or will end up when they have nowhere to find help?  What is the astronomically high price to our society for the rejections both emotional and financial they suffer?  What possibilities for a constructive future do they have?

People are people, not throw-away commodities to be consumed.  It’s more important to support the society in which we live than take from that society and not return your best efforts.  How very convenient it is for the greater part of our society to shove the problem under the rug, and how intrinsically detrimental to our society this enduring and negative attitude is; how easy it is to revert to the ‘us v. them’ attitude.  But I say this: there is no ‘us’, there is no ‘them’; there is only ‘we’.

You can contribute solutions to a serious social issue that affects everyone at all economic levels and in all walks of life.  I believe that if you are willing to make these contributions that answers can be found, that capital and tax breaks can be obtained, and that people who need the work will rise to the occasion and help your bottom line — not to mention encouraging a shared vision of equality, acceptance and understanding.  You can be pivotal in the creation of those solutions.

If you have the power to hire the mentally ill, unemployed seniors and the underemployed, please, say the word yes to someone who needs desperately to hear it (and that includes me).

The transformative word YES can give a person a chance at financial reward for their hard work, renewed dignity of their person, needed social interaction and can foster the ability to make life better for themselves and for everyone around them, too.

If you have a business, the acumen, the vision, the will, the resources and the time, find a way to say yes to those in need; it would transform their lives, your life, your company, our society.

Hire and train those people around you that are just waiting for you to say the magic word YES, and you will not be sorry for doing so; in fact may be quite grateful that you did.  Do not mistake those who need your help as being weak; think of them as a force for good, people you can employ as a force for positive change.  Do not think them incapable.

Are you good at business creation and operation?  Are you a creative and positive thinker?  If so, that’s wonderful — but it means you have a responsibility.  Please, make something happen, come up with an idea that will be inclusive, formative, meaningful and important, productive and uplifting.  Help others who need it by using your talents to create jobs for those less fortunate, to help those who want to overcome and conquer their situations; help them to regain and  express their personal dignity.

We do not ask for your charity, only for your empathy and action.  We do not wish to continue any form of dependence on government programs; we seek only personal liberty through financial independence, an independence created by our own abilities and the hard work that makes that independence possible.

But you have to do your part.  Just say YES.

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