Monday, September 24, 2007

Hey, Jealousy, or, What DOES this Storm have to Teach Me?

I've been regularly checking my new favorite blog, http://www.helpholycross.org/. I've promised its manager that I'll do some on-the-ground reporting, since he (Dave Macaulay) lives in Kansas City.

Anyways, he has lately been covering the progress of Rashida's shotgun-renovation. Rashida is a member of the HCNA. She's an artist and an activist. She has roots in the Ninth Ward. Oh--and she's beautiful. So it's not hard to see why the folks at This Old House would have chosen Rashida to cover on their show.

But oh, dear Gawd, am I jealous!

Would you just look at the size of the house they're building! I mean! When I compare it to our tee-tiny shoebox, I find myself wanting to throw a tantrum. (I feel as though I've been wanting to throw a lot of tantrums, lately.) I want to pout and whine and say, "Why can't y'all hook us up, too?!" Either that, or I want to go back in time and re-tell our story. We'd wax poetic about our children running up the stairs. (Stairs!!) We would tell a more compelling story than the one that is ours.

I need to stop with the devaluing of our own story, though. Forreal.

Anyways, I really am happy for Rashida (she is wonderful and deserving--and she's been working to support the alternatve school that many in the neighborhood have been vocal about wanting to get rid of). But I'm finding it hard to be the person I'd like to be right now: the one who graciously accepts loss. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I have ever been very good at accepting loss.

Maybe that's what this storm has to teach me. (Had I had more significant losses, maybe I would have a better attitude now.) Maybe I need to listen to what this almost-but-not-quite-getting-help-from-This Old House-experience is telling me: Quit whining! Carry on! And look at your damn self with all that you have! Whining!!! Why, you oughtta be ashamed.

I am ashamed.

It's just that trying to find home we can afford has been really hard. We've found ourself only minutely "too wealthy" for low-income housing help (I'm talking within hundreds of dollars of the cutoff.) We didn't lose our home, so we've been unable to take out a low-interest SBA-loan (the kind that has allowed my in-laws to purchase a more expensive and gracious home in Gentilly of the sort that we'll never be able to afford.) Add to those facts that no one wants to hear about this kind of lower-middle-class whining, and, well--can you see why I'd be jealous?

No, Mom, I am not jealous of all of the loss that those who are getting help experienced. I am grateful that we did not lose everything, that we are, after this storm, together and by all accounts, intact. I am jealous of a big house and pretty appliances, is all.

(Did I mention, by the way, that the staff of This Old House told us that we were "in the top four"? Shoot: they even said that they would provide appliances [which we have to purchase] to the tune of $10K! Appliances... [said a la Homer Simpson and "Dooonuutts."])

It's just jealousy.

Anyways, in spite of my committing to submitting my reports to my new-favorite website, www.helpholycross.org (where there's now a link to my blog, Mom!) I am going to have to skip over the coverage of Rashida's project if I want to avoid going c-c-crazy with jealousy.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a good dose of simply being content with what I have.

Now, who can hook me up with some of that?

1 comment:

christina said...

hey sarah,

I share your pain. my husband and I are looking for a home, and now that we're married I have been disqualified for the first home club I had been plannning to use for the closing costs. why is buying and affording so hard for young couples?? good luck!~!!