I was having what I thought to be a casual conversation recently until the inevitable happened, the conversation made an awkward turn and my friend asked how we were doing. For most people, that question is completely innocuous and can taken quite lightly, however, for me it is the question I dread most these days given our situation. Try as I might to steer all reference to our prolonged unemployed selves away, people always ask. While I certainly don't mean to sound unappreciative of my own friend's concern, the depth to my uneasiness about this line of questioning makes my skin crawl. My close friends not withstanding, I just cannot understand how people could continually ask a question for which I am sure they already know the answer. Honestly, my husband has been unemployed for over 2.5 years...how do you think I am doing right about now? My 'favorite' question is when someone asks what we plan to do next or if we have a Plan B. We actually have had Plans B, C and D but we tried those unsuccessfully about a year ago. As for what comes next, who the heck knows. We are trying our best but nothing seems to be working in our favor.
How can someone have the nerve (insensitivity) to tell me about how devastated our children must be. I would most certainly have to be brain dead and heartless to not be obsessed with the negative impact this situation is having on our children and their future. I have actually had someone make a comment to me about how my husband and I are not 'making any memories' for our children such as eating out or taking vacations. What do people think that at the anniversary of our one year unemployment my husband and I decided to take it for all it was worth just to screw the children up some more. I mean c'mon. Use your head people. We are not just statistics but real people with feelings (lots of them) and guilt (more than you can ever imagine). Think before you speak. My husband even suggested it might be cathartic for me to write a book about what not to say to unemployed people--especially those who have passed the one year mark (just ignore those who have passed the two year mark as they really are too devastated to articulate how they are anyway).
While it is absolutely impossible to put yourself in our shoes right now and know the depth of our frustration and fear for the future, just know that part of the process of my surviving these circumstances stems from my ability to 'pretend' we are normal sometimes. Rather than beat an already dead issue (we cannot say the phrase 'dead horse' in our family because my son is a rider!), we will not be okay until my husband finds a job. So now you know, don't ask anymore. Okay?