I am intelligent and resourceful.
I am a person of many talents, with something valuable and unique to offer the world.
I am a good daughter, a good older sister, a good student, and a good neighbor.
I am willing to work harder and longer than any 26-year-old woman that I've ever met.
I accept that I've made huge mistakes in my past.
I accept that naivete is not a valid excuse, and I have to deal with the consequences of my mistakes.
So I share a 500 square foot one-bedroom apartment with my brother.
I have learned to scrape by on $10 a week for groceries, without even sacrificing my health. No problem.
I started washing my laundry in the bathtub to avoid paying the laundromat. Hey, it's even good for the environment.
I started riding a bicycle to work and the grocery store. Who can afford gas these days, anyway?
I continue wearing worn out clothes. I don't really care about clothes anyhow.
I learned to make my own soap for a fraction of the retail price. Fun!
I learned to cope with extreme heat and extreme cold to keep the electric bill down.
I avoided the dentist because I just didn't have the money. I'm not in pain. (Yet.)
I stayed home instead of going to the doctor when I got sick.
I only recently replaced my decade-old glasses. For the past two years, I've been compensating by zooming the computer screen to 200%.
I really am willing to work my ass off and do without to pay for the mistakes I have made.
I've even been willing to live on barely $12000 a year (much of which goes to minimum student loan payments), while my boss pulls a six-figure income and lives a lavish lifestyle paid for by the hard work of her employees.
But you can only stretch so far. 5 hours of work per pay period won't pay the bills.
The company I've worked so hard for is dying, and there's nothing I can do about it.
I can't rely on this job, so I go to look for work.
And I send in resumes.
And I make phone calls.
And I attempt to tap my network.
I even go to networking events where I am so badly out of place that it's laughable, just on the off-chance that I might find /something/.
But for some reason, despite how much I beg to be put to work, my past comes back to haunt me.
As it turns out, employers do get your credit report as part of that standard background check.
Forget working hard to pay for and overcome past mistakes.
According to Them, I'm stupid and lazy.
According to Them, I'm irresponsible and a liability.
According to Them, I'm a bad citizen and a bad investment.
According to Them, I'll probably be a bad employee.
At 26 years old, is it so wrong to want a future?
Is this the America my ancestors envisioned for me?