justification(s) to myself
for not wanting to help others.

okay, the title isn't completely true. i'm just older now, and thus skeptical about how i'm supposed to do it. i have to face the fact that nothing will ever turn out the way i want it to. apparently, my imagination has high expectations. so, when i signed up for my first year of americorps, i expected to be working long hours and seeing people benefit directly from my hard work. but the work really wasn't hard. and although there were people i met, desperate people, poor and inconsolable, i couldn't do anything for them. i had a stipend of $452.81 every two weeks, and i was afraid to turn on the heater in thirty to forty degree weather. how was i supposed to help the poor, or feel empowered, when i was on food stamps, bundling up in my bedroom?

i saw a lot of people get fucked over in my two years of volunteering: idealistic college grads given random, meaningless tasks that regular employees didn't want. a disabled, displaced man who couldn't get a ride to our chapter because he was, well, disabled (to which melissa replied, "does he not know how to take a fucking bus?"). people who lived in shit-smelling, dingy apartments, so grateful to see us with the two bags of expired groceries we had for them. students who didn't want to go to school, but had to anyway, and, conversely, those rare students who did, thinking that it was/is the only recipe for getting a good job, which, in turn, could get them the bling bling both parties felt/feel entitled to. mexican kids not knowing how truly far behind they are, and how their ignorant teachers aren't really "teaching" them anything.

a friend once said, "i don't know why i ever even considered teaching. what am i teaching them? why am i teaching them? so they can consume? no, i don't want to teach them that. they're going to consume anyway." at a happier time, this friend also said, "you can help people - it just won't be in the kind of way that you would've liked." well put, friend. well put.

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