Photoshop Manipulation by The Real Cie
Only ever a sad lie
Pretty cars, pretty people
Not a place for those like me
Today I found a couple of great prompts and flipped them upside down.
The Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation prompt asks us to examine the concept of utopia in a Haiku or Tanka. Mine is more a Senryu than a Haiku. I do not question the existence of Utopia, but I postulate that it is more like Metropolis. It exists for a very small percentage of people. Most people are on the outside looking in, and some are completely crushed beneath the boots of the beautiful and careless dwellers of Utopia.
So, what portrait did I paint?
That of one of the people crushed beneath unrealistic expectations of beauty and brilliance and casually cast aside, not worthy of any sort of rescue because they do not adhere to society's standards of prettiness.
The person in the portrait is me. I chose it because I was sitting at a rather dismal-looking bus stop on the day of the 2017 Women's March. I would learn that day that not only had my health deteriorated more than I previously realized, but people are utterly self-absorbed, even the ones who claim to be "progressive" in their approach.
I managed to get through the entire march, which is a miracle in itself considering that I almost stopped several times along the way because I was becoming weak, but I had also become confused enough that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find my way back to the bus stop.
When the bus stopped, everyone else shoved on board and the bus driver told me he wouldn't be able to take me. I said I understood, and I understood his position, but I kind of thought all those other people were assholes. I started feeling that wouldn't have happened to me if I was young and pretty.
I was ravenously hungry. I had a Snickers bar, but I was trying to conserve it for "the right moment." With a lifetime living with ED (stands for Eating Disorder), I had learned to deny myself food up until things became critical. They were critical, but not critical enough.
I got on the next bus about a half hour later and had to stand. I was wobbling all over and my eyes were rolling back in my head. Exactly nobody gave any fucks. In fact, one spectacular dudebro about my age chortled and said: "I had to stand all the way there, now it's your turn."
Despite the fact that my eyes were glazed over, I managed a withering glare and said in a steely if somewhat shaky voice: "Buddy, I had to stand the whole way there too. Don't even try to pull that crap on me!"
He turned away and noticed a confused-looking young woman holding a bus schedule. He grinned and invited her to sit down in his seat. She didn't speak much English. He leaned in close to her in order to better "help" her, I suppose, because he was just a helpful kind of guy, at least if the person in need of help was a pretty young woman.
When a seat finally opened up, I scooted my ass into it as quickly as I could and scarfed the Snickers bar as if I hadn't eaten in a year. By the time I got off the bus, my feet were swollen and aching so badly I could hardly walk. This time, however, an angel appeared in the form of a very sweet Latina lady in her late 30's or early 40's who offered me a ride. I thanked her profusely. After the callousness I'd just experienced, her generosity brought tears to my eyes.
I knew at that point that I could no longer take part in events such as marches because I was no longer strong enough to do so physically.
I lost my job a couple months later because I became extremely ill and was pushed to keep working by my supervisor in spite of having a serious respiratory infection. I had a small stroke while working one night and ended up getting fired. Once my savings were gone, which happened reasonably quickly, I ended up living in poverty and have been there ever since. If it weren't for my son allowing me to couch-surf, I'd be sleeping in my car.
Utopia exists for a very small percentage of people. I used to dream of being something wonderful, of being a star, but over the years I've come to see that often those dreams end as nightmares.
So, you have a portrait of the kind of person that society doesn't want to acknowledge even though there are a lot more of us than most people care to think, and my skepticism that Utopia exists for anyone but the well-heeled in anyplace but dreams.
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