Available for 20 more days- Hebatullah’s Campaign #bonfire #tshirts

Times are tough. I’ve been unemployed for 2 years. I’ve been paying my dues and taking temp jobs here and there, and I’m alright with dressing up as unemployment for Halloween. What I’m trying to avoid is having to dress up as homeless for Thanksgiving. I’m not going to beg y’all to help me pay my rent. But we can get two birds with one stone… You buy a super-cool, limited edition shirt and I get a roof over my head for the holidays.

How’s that sound?

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

Must Have #Spring #Accessories #fashionpost #shopspring

Hello Pistachios!

Springtime is just around the corner and if you’re anything like me, you’re super excited for the nice weather, bright colors and pretty clothes. Already the weather is starting to get warmer and brighter. I’ve started pulling out the springtime dresses and getting my spring cleaning done- AND IT FEELS GREAT! I don’t know about you, but spring cleaning is a great excuse to purge my closet of clothes and accessories I haven’t worn in a while. [Don’t forget to donate your lightly worn clothes to charity.] So as my closet starts to look bare, I have to ask: What am I going to replace it all with?

In lieu of my daily fashion post, here is a list of my must have Spring accessories from my new favorite shop. Spring was inspired by some fashion boutiques in SoHo, New York City. It’s a great site because it gives you the experience of shopping at all these boutiques in one place. Plus there are some really cute accessories on there that I totally want… like, now!

As you can tell from my list, I’m all about the sunglasses, watches and headbands. I want it all!

😛

Happy Shopping!

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Magnolia Cat Eye Sunglasses

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An entirely flawed system

So I just found out that NJ is cutting off my food stamps because I’m considered able-bodied. Food stamps has literally been the only thing feeding my family right now and the only way for me to continue getting food stamps is if I go to a 20 hour a week work program. I tried to go to the program and had to make an appointment for orientation months ago and they were so mean and dismissive of me. They wanted me to miss my doctor appointment to go to their orientation and I told them I couldn’t miss it. I was sick, I needed to see a doctor. So they wouldn’t schedule me for another day and that was that.

I can get out of the requirement if I’m caring for someone in my family, which I am, my mother who has been unwell. But why is she unwell, because without warning her health insurance was terminated because she was deemed to make too much money. My mom makes $800 a month from alimony payments. That’s it! How is that too much money? Because she doesn’t have health insurance, she can’t afford her meds and hence has not been the greatest lately. The only way to prove that I’m caring for my mother is if she gets evaluated by a doctor and deemed disabled. Again, something we cannot afford. And if she never had her insurance terminated to begin with, she’d have her meds and she wouldn’t need someone to look after her.  It’s a flawed system and I’m so embarrassed and sad and scared. I don’t know how to feed my family.

I’ve been trying to get a job for a year and a half now with no luck. I have a BA and two MAs. I’m clearly educated and should be capable of getting a job but no one wants to give me a chance despite my 10 years of experience. I really don’t know what to do. I really hate to ask, but I need help. I haven’t paid my credit cards off, we’re charging everything on credit and I’ve reached my credit limit. We’re not using the heat even though it’s so cold, bc we can’t afford to make the payment. I don’t have a cell phone line because we can’t afford it. How is my family going to eat? What am I supposed to do? Like we can’t even afford to pay rent this month. Literally, I have no idea what to do or how to keep us from being hungry and homeless. And I could kick myself for ending up in this situation.

I keep trying to crawl us out of this hole, but I keep failing.

This is so embarrassing, but I need help and I don’t know where to turn. I’m so embarrassed to ask and hate myself for getting to this point. If you could spare anything, even just $1, I would appreciate it so much. https://www.paypal.me/hebavsreason I swear, I’ll never forget your generosity and 100% promise to pay it forward. I’m just so scared and so unsure of how to make ends meet. I’m so embarrassed and I’m so sorry for asking. Maybe you could pass this around, reblog it. Any help would be so important and I’d be so thankful.

50 Bucket List Goals

What’s on your bucket list?

I have an ever long and ever changing/shifting bucket list. And it seems fitting to reassess my life goals in light of the new year. Here are just a few wants on my list. Some are simple, some are more challenging.

  1. Have my book published

    book
    http://cdn.toptenreviews.com/rev/site/cms/category_headers/121-h_main-w.png
  2. Write another book 

    download
    http://www.mycity-web.com/great-tips-for-writing-a-book/
  3. Get funding for a PhD

    phd1
    http://blog.accepted.com/2015/05/22/phd-funding-disparities/
  4. Get into a PhD program that is right for me

    phd061814s
    https://techknowtools.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/phd061814s.gif
  5. Learn to surf

    Lakshadweep-1680
    http://i.cdn-surfline.com/surfnews/images/2012/03_march/destination_lakshadweep/full/Lakshadweep-1680.jpg
  6. Get healthy

    healthy-habits
    http://promobiledj.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/healthy-habits.jpg
  7. Go to a dinosaur museum

    triceratops
    http://www.fossilmuseum.net/DinosaurFossils/triceratops/triceratops.jpg
  8. Be an extra in a movie or show

    images
    http://www.actt.edu.au/media/1138/actt_difference_desktop.jpg
  9. Learn to spearfish

    spearFishing
    http://watercraftjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/spearFishing.jpg
  10. Own a home and piece of land where I can have lots and lots of animals like donkeys, horses, llamas, lambs, dogs, cows and more.

    images
    http://www.hallmark-farm-kennel.com/HallmarkFarmHouse.jpg
  11. Adopt and/or foster children tulsa-adoption-attorney
  12. Get a job that allows me to travel and pay off my student loans

    jobs-travelling-business-man-move
    http://globetrooper.com/notes/wp-content/uploads/jobs-travelling-business-man-move.jpg
  13. Get lasik

    Lasik-Procedure
    http://qualityicare.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Lasik-Procedure.png
  14. Get laser hair removal

    http://zoggdermatology.com/images/laserhairremovalstages.jpg
    The laser emits an invisible light which penetrates the skin without damaging it. At the hair follicle, the laser light absorbed by the pigments is converted into heat. This heat will damage the follicle.
  15. Start a nonprofit

    foundations_a_sm1
    http://boardsthatexcel.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/foundations_a_sm1.gif
  16. Take horseback riding lessons

    Horse_riding_in_coca_cola_arena_-_melbourne_show_2005
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Horse_riding_in_coca_cola_arena_-_melbourne_show_2005.jpg
  17. Have friends

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    http://www.newlovetimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/friends-for-life.gif
  18. Become more flexible

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    http://lh3.ggpht.com/-M1Of3Z1Vg_U/UHaxA469Y3I/AAAAAAAC6Bo/4isPqvUU9F4/extreme-flexibility-people-32_thumb.jpg?imgmax=800
  19. Fly first class

    Etihad_first_class_bed
    http://www.first-class-flight.com/images/first-class-insights/Etihad_first_class_bed.jpg
  20. Make someone’s wish come true d760991e995d83172de94452f2319e06
  21. Go cliff jumping Woman_cliffjumping_3307605b
  22. Hang out by a serene waterfall

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    http://7-themes.com/data_images/out/71/7014890-beautiful-waterfall-hd-pics.jpg
  23. Name a star dCVnPp3
  24. Have my own private plane and/or helicopter

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    http://site.privatejetdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Private-Jet1.jpg
  25. Be in the fashion industry

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  26. Learn to dive

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  27. Go scuba diving

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    http://d236bkdxj385sg.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Scubadiving.png
  28. Befriend an elephant

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  29. Have one of my plays produced

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    http://www.elegantstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/william-chang-cheongsam-designs-for-theater-play-2.jpeg
  30. Have someone illustrate a comic book based off of one of my stories

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  31. Have one of my stories turned into a film

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  32. Learn to draw

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    http://orig04.deviantart.net/587b/f/2012/247/2/d/hand_drawing_hand_by_kenpjones-d5dl8kw.jpg
  33. Live in a castle

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  34. Learn to sew

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  35. Go Ziplining zipline-adventure-in-whistler-photo_7325314-fit468x296
  36. Publish a cookbook

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  37. Own a car

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  38. Dance in the rain

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  39. Hang glide

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  40. Go to a haunted house

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  41. Throw a themed party mall-birthday-party-1
  42. Go through a corn maze cornmaze2009
  43. Witness a miracle

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  44. Take singing lessons

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    http://vocalartsstudios.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/how-to-sing-higher-notes1.jpg
  45. Take kickboxing lessons

    train
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  46. Learn to knit

    shaun-knitting1-copy-1
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ryd7cNqmrOo/UBqBFijS2lI/AAAAAAAAAFE/e2jGlVXKl44/s1600/shaun-knitting1-copy-1.gif
  47. Learn to ride a bike

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    http://www.todayifoundout.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/bike-riding.jpg
  48. Go parachuting

    canstock6172634
    http://cdn.xl.thumbs.canstockphoto.com/canstock6172634.jpg
  49. Swim with dolphins

    Megan-Dolphin
    http://havebabywilltravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Megan-Dolphin.jpg
  50. Meet Harry Styles, cut off some of his hair and sell it on ebay for millions so I can afford to fund my bucket list.  harry-styles-loud-shirt-coffee-los-angeles

 

https://www.paypal.me/hebavsreason

Wish List

 

#LoveMe Challenge: Day 15

Day 15

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Something you have done right:

In the summer of 2006 the Middle East was ravaged with war between politicians and factions in which innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians paid the deadliest price. The images of maimed children, dying youth and pain stricken eyes not only moved me, but it shook me. It quaked my soul and threw my body into a spiral of grief that I refused to allow to continue. A group of students who were as stubborn as I was to make a change came together to try and plan a benefit concert at NYU. The concert wasn’t the most successful, but I couldn’t accept failure. Failure wasn’t an option— I manifested my guilt in failing and used all my energy to organize a fundraiser of sorts through the help of Life for Relief and Development. I asked my local ISCJ to provide a room to collect donations. ISCJ made announcements to its congregation asking for non-perishable foods, new or like new clothes, first aid supplies, diapers, feminine products and other necessary needs refugees and the wounded could use to rebuild their everyday lives.  I also advertised online and emailed local houses of worship from every religion. We received so many donations in the room we were storing them in that the piles were taller than any of us. I enlisted some 20 volunteers to organize, label and load the products onto a 18-wheeler flatbed tractor trailer container. We filled the entire container. The boxes that Life for Relief and Development weren’t enough. My family went out and bought more boxes out of pocket. We even had products that we couldn’t fit in the container because the container was at capacity. Those products we then chose to donate to local charity bodies suggested by the ISCJ.

You care about the future, Save The Children- 2014 Annual Report

http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.9284701/k.9353/Annual_Report.htm?smtrctid=AABVXt&msource=emecures1115&utm_source=undes&utm_medium=email-sc&utm_campaign=annual-report-email4

In 2014, Save the Children worked in 120 countries, including the United States, and helped more than 166 million children — including more than 55 million children directly. Together with the tremendous support of our donors and partners, we transformed children’s lives and the future we share. Thank you!

A Celebration of Childhood

Together; we invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. It’s by far the most important investment we can make. One that changes the course of children’s lives, as well as the future we all share.

Now, we invite you to celebrate the results for children made possible by your investment. These results are reflected in the numbers — the millions of children we’ve reached — as well as in children’s eyes, their smile and their stories of success.

Please enjoy our celebration of childhood, a special expression of gratitude for your life-changing investment. Join us in our dedication to transforming even more lives and futures in 2016.

Save the Children President & CEO
Carolyn Miles

A Healthy Start

In the United States and around the world, Save the Children is dedicated to ensuring every child has a healthy start. We improve the health and nutrition of newborn babies, children and their mothers by targeting the major causes of death and providing access to high-impact, low-cost care that save lives. We help train and equip frontline health workers to deliver care in some of the world’s most challenging places.

The Opportunity to Learn

In the United States and around the world, Save the Children is dedicated to ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn.

We support quality education and learning for all children, in the classroom and at home. We help children prepare to start and succeed in school. We train teachers in more effective practices. And we offer ways to get kids learning outside of school hours.

We also help school-age kids stay healthy, so they don’t fall behind our drop out of school. And we make sure children don’t stop learning during a crisis.

In addition, we provide youth with skills to succeed — like learning a trade or building a business.

Readiness. Relief. Recovery

No one knows when or where the next crisis will hit. But we do know that children are disproportionally affected in times of crisis — and often suffer the most. That’s why Save the Children is dedicated to providing child-focused emergency readiness, relief and recovery in the United States and around the world.

Policy. Advocacy. Action.

In the United States and around the world, Save the Children is dedicated to ensuring children’s voices are heard and their needs addressed — giving them the best chance for a healthy, productive life. Through the power of policy analysis and advocacy.

A Charity You Can Trust

We are grateful for the support of our individual donors, foundation, corporate and venture partners — who know that an investment in childhood is an investment worth making. Download the Annual Report

Through the power of policy analysis and advocacy, we leverage the success of our programs to achieve lasting, large-scale results for children.

Thanks to your continued support, we are able to speak on behalf of children to some of the world’s most powerful entities – from the U.S. government to the United Nations Security Council. We advance policy change and secure financial investments that benefit millions of children around the world.

View our 2014 Annual Report to read how we work to ensure that our policy and advocacy expertise, combined with decades of on-the-ground experience, translates into lasting change for generations of children to come.

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Save the Children’s innovative global strategy aims to ensure countries invest effectively to fulfill all children’s rights. We do this by campaigning with children and other organizations, working with governments at the federal, state and local levels, and elevating the voices of children themselves.

Children are born ready to grow, learn and succeed. But without our help, those in need don’t have a chance. That’s why we invest in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future.

table issue

Photo: Susan Warner, 2014

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An organization you can trust

In fiscal year 2014, 89%* of all

expenditures went to program

services. Find out more.

 

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Photos by: Jonathan Hyams, Liberia and Susan Warner, 2014.

Save the Children Federation, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) organization.

The Scholarship Blues

I earned a place for Doctoral studies at some of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the world, but it all goes to waste if I can’t fund my studies. I deferred my place last year because I couldn’t get the funds together or at all for that matter. I figured, I’d take a year and hopefully things will come together.

But no one wants to give me PhD funding because my grades weren’t the best in undergrad  due to my undiagnosed learning disabilities  which influenced my grades in areas like math and science which I had to take for my journalism degree. Math, science and classes like Amish culture were completely irrelevant to my degree, but prerequisites are prerequisites. I’m told that in order to get funding my grades need to be the best of the best, but this doesn’t take into account my mitigating circumstances. Surely had I had the financial opportunity to get diagnosed earlier, I would have gotten the opportunity to learn ways to study and learn what worked for me. But alas, I didn’t have those opportunities and there go my funding chances.

Another reason no one wants to fund me is because my academic papers are not published in peer reviewed journals or academic journals, but every time I try and publish, I get told “we only accept published academics,” or I get told that I need to pay in order to get published. So let me get this right: I need money to publish so I can be a recognized academic so I can get PhD funding, but I can’t publish until I’ve been published and have the money? Maybe things work differently when you are already an established academic, but realistically speaking, how am I supposed to get started out? I was a journalist, but when applying for PhD funding, no one seems to care about journalism publications. Or at least this is what the rejection emails tell me.

Next step was to contact charities with grant applications. A list of charities was provided by my prior university, so I used that as a starting point. These are charities that are known to give student grants. And the response there has been dismal. Charities have been rude, mean, have told me to stop soliciting them, told me I’m not Palestinian enough or Arab enough. They’ve told me I don’t meet residency requirements, I don’t display financial hardship, I can’t provide up-to-date information about my disabilities, my grades aren’t good enough, I’m not involved enough or not Muslim enough. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too this, I’m too that. I’m not enough of this and not enough of that. One person even told me that it was “illegal” for them to give grants, when I know other students who have for a fact received grants from them. One person even replied saying “We don’t have any money. You probably have more money than our charity does.” Really, Really?! You want to go there. Okay, let’s go there. If you have consistent working plumbing, you have consistent heating in your house, don’t have to choose between  paying your bills or buying food to eat, then trust me– you are way ahead of me.

Or what about the charity that tried to change my entire PhD topic of study, deeming my topic irrelevant and uninteresting. Firstly, I never asked for your advice on my topic of study, I asked for your sponsorship. Secondly, I have advising teams at each university that differ with you. Not only is my topic ever the  more relevant, as it makes headline news regularly, but the top academics in my field believe it to be interesting, important and relevant. Thirdly, you may not know how academia works. For example: I can’t enroll in a music doctoral degree, get there and ask my advising team to support me in studying cryptozoology. Fourthly, you changed my ENTIRE topic. Meaning I would have to reapply all over again with a different proposal. And lastly, by changing every little thing about my topic, you made it your project and no longer mine.

Keep in mind that I am not harassing these people, charities, organizations, entities, etc. I send one email: A grant proposal. A university approved grant proposal.  I don’t call, follow up, knock on their doors. I’m completely calm. And I’m not about to waste my life or time arguing with these ignoramuses.

Next, crowdfunding. Even though I have had limited success with crowdfunding. (By the way, I’m VERY grateful for the money I was able to raise. VERY!) Getting £1000 was not easy and almost impossible. I don’t know many people. The people that I do know don’t have money to spare. I’d even get emails in response to my crowdfunding that told me to give up, it was a waste of time, it’s never going to happen, that I need to not bother people, etc. I put myself out there. I tried. I got burned.

Tried the online scholarship search engines. I spend my life on those search engines. I qualify for nothing. Somehow, I don’t qualify for anything.

Even the Said scholarship set up for Palestinians won’t fund me unless I go to Oxford or Cambridge and even though there’s an academic at Cambridge who said he would take me on, I applied there twice and couldn’t get through the first round because my undergrad grades from 10 years ago in math and science were rubbish. I got rejected by Oxford three times for the same reason. (If you’re really polite, nice, desperate and willing to make contacts, lecturers/professor/staff will secretly tell you why you didn’t get in. Doesn’t work everytime, but you get lucky every so often.)

Bottom line-  no one cares that I have learning difficulties. No one cares that the American education system is different than the British, European and Australian systems. No one cares that my overall undergrad GPA was a 3.12, but my GPA for my major and minor was a 3.67. No one care that my first MA was on a pass/fail basis. No one care that during my 2nd MA I became registered disabled due to some serious problems in my back that can’t be fixed, but only coped with.

No one cares that I went to the 4th most overpopulated high school in my state, or that my high school teachers told me I wouldn’t succeed to my face or that 9/11 happened during my sophomore year or that the devastation of 9/11 turned our sophomore curriculum upside down or that some of my classes didn’t have classrooms, books, set curriculums or that so many times our teachers gave up, walked out of class and stopped teaching, or that there were 50 students in my classroom or that my high school suffered from riots, bomb threats and at least one major fight a day or that I got bullied mercilessly or that all of these problems affected my learning experience.

When I got to my first year of undergrad I had no confidence, I thought I was dumb, I didn’t know how to study, I had never had to sit through a class longer than 40 minutes, I never had to write an assignment longer than two pages, I never had to use citations, I had never done a research paper, I never had to memorize information, I didn’t know I could get tested for learning disabilities, I didn’t know so many things. I spent most of the first two years of undergrad crying because undergrad hit me like a brick. High school in no way prepared me for undergrad and in comparison to the students in my class that had better academic upbringings, I could tell I was behind.  No one cares that I can play a mean game of catch up. But catch up can’t change the past.

I worked my nerves to its ends and got into an Ivy League MA program, where again, I felt I had to play catch up because I was no longer studying journalism and entered into the wonderful world of Liberal Studies. I competed against students who had formal training in studying gender, culture and globalization. It was all new to me. I struggled, a lot. But I’m proud of what I accomplished there. And again I had to play catch up for my second MA as I competed against students who had their first degree is Middle Eastern Studies. Middle Eastern studies was  a topic I read about in my spare time. I never studied it intensely or formally, I dabbled, but everyone else was way ahead of the game. I worked day and night, in spite of my medical difficulties and hardship to reach a level in which I finally felt my peers were finally my intellectual peers. I stumbled, A LOT, but no one gets points for most improved on their transcript. If only their were a module in which there were marks for effort, motivation, time spent, passion, determination and promise. If only I could get graded against myself as opposed to against my classmates. Or get a mark for moving my life across the planet by myself to another country, to a completely different educationally structured system and succeeding.

My motivation and ambition doesn’t count for anything on paper because there will always be someone with a perfect GPA or academic standing that gets ahead of me. These things will never show up on a transcript. And if there is anything I’ve learned it’s that transcripts are more important than letters of purpose.

I can’t provide up-to-date information on my disabilities because I haven’t seen a doctor since being back in America. I signed up for that whole Obamacare business and my application for health insurance keeps getting bounced around from office to office and no one seems to know when I will finally have health insurance or if I ever will. Whenever I ask what I should do if I’m sick, they say go to this and this doctor, but you’ll have to play out of pocket. Yup, can’t do that. I have no money. No income.

That no income part, my loan servicers don’t seem to believe that. Seeing as they are federal loans, you’d think they can check and see if I am employed or not via paying taxes, but maybe that’s asking too much.  I have to pay back $130,000 in student loans starting in March because that is when my deferment period ends. I applied for unemployment deferment, got rejected and told to apply for income based repayment. Yeah, that’s going to be tough to do because there is no income to speak of.

Not because I don’t want an income. I  have been applying for every type of job under the sun since May 2014. Even physical labor jobs which I know will only cause my disability to worsen. And guess what? I still can’t get a job. Signed up with recruitment and temp agencies, LinkedIn profile, Craigslist, Indeed, Simplyhired, Idealist– I get maybe 20 emails a day from different websites listing all these job opportunities. I apply and apply and apply and nothing. When I finally do get the chance at an interview, I set it up, date and time. I’m dressed and ready and pumped and every time they cancel on me with no prior notice.

Even though I have no job and I’m living off of my maxed out credit cards, I still somehow don’t qualify for food stamps, unemployment benefits or any other kinds of benefits. How did I manage that? How? Beats me!

Despite it all, I’m not bitter. I’m not angry. I’m upset, sure. I don’t expect a handout or pity. I’m not going to sit here and toot my own horn about how I’m an amazing human being or list all my good karma points. I’m far from perfect and I’m not entitled to anything in this world. But I want a fair fighting chance. I want more than what’s on paper to count. I want to live and not simply get by, but to really live.

I still remain optimistic that things will work out. I won’t stop trying and neither should you.

Opportunity: Look out, I’m coming for you!