I feel like an asshole every time I say I don’t matter. People keep telling them I matter to them, and I don’t want to ignore that.
But it feels like it only matters if I matter to people who have the power and money to make my life survivable. It feels like they’re the ultimate judges on whether I deserve to exist. Clearly, their verdict is that I don’t, so it feels like it doesn’t matter that I matter to anyone else.
I hate myself for thinking that way, for being that person. Because it means I’m essentially telling everyone else that they don’t matter. Emotionally, that’s not how I feel at all, but that’s the logical conclusion to what I’m saying. And I hate that because it makes me a collaborator. I’m affirming a system that tells you that you don’t matter unless you have money or power. Even though in my mind it only applies to me–everyone else in my situation absolutely deserves to exist and to have their needs met–I’m still buying into a fucked-up system.
But I don’t know how to believe I matter when I can’t make ends meet. If someone matters to you, you take care of them. You make sure they have a place to live and food to eat and warmth when it’s cold. That’s how you treat someone that matters. But my government, a system I’ve worked my ass off to improve, obviously doesn’t think I deserve those things. Because I’m sick, because I’m disabled, because I’m poor, because I can’t contribute to the economy, I don’t matter. They don’t come right out and say they want everybody like me to die, but what other conclusion can you draw when the government won’t give you enough help to meet even your most basic needs? There’s a reason suicide rates are much higher among people living in poverty. We’re stuck in an endless cycle of deprivation and need, and then we’re blamed for our own circumstances. There’s no hope, never an end in sight.
So when people tell me I matter, I want to believe them, I really do. But it seems impossible when I’m staring straight at evidence to the contrary.