Journey from hero to villain:
With our unemployment numbers higher than Snoop Dogg before a live performance, it makes sense that we, as a country, would have a lot of young blood idling and loitering, not knowing what to do with themselves. The youth makes up a healthy portion of those numbers and our own (youth) unemployment stats are even higher. Of course, it is common knowledge that idling is not the first phase, but an in-between one. But what I want to zero-in on today is a factor much deeper, the pressure from home, family politics.
The chronological journey of an unemployed individual is thusly.
* The Sack:
You get fired (if you were fortunate enough to have had a job, to begin with)
* The Resistance 1:
You try by any means necessary to fight back. You use up your last salary to go from pillar to post in an attempt to get back in the employment “game” just to receive zero call-backs.
* The Resistance 2:
Still harnessing that fighting spirit, you tap into your UIF (if you were fortunate enough to have had one, to begin with), consequently depleting the funds.
* The Resistance 3:
Nothing to Lose!
You encroach into your savings (again, if you were fortunate enough to have had any, to begin with). You realize that there would not be any savings if it were not for you, so you devour without mercy.
You start panicking.
Frustration sets in.
* Idling & Loitering!
THERE IT IS… THAT IS HOW WE GOT THERE!
* Desperation/Irrational Decision Making_
This is where morals and values get distorted. Where starvation and lack are a decibel or two louder than doing the right thing. This is where we morph into grifters, carjackers and heist-artist. We consequently get killed or incarcerated, swiftly. (But we never get assistance with preventative measures which virtually eradicate this path, but anyway…)
The journey is excruciating and lonely. Having said that, there is another invisible layer we are faced with. A layer that does not make part of the journey because it started long before you were born, Family Politics. The usual suspect when a family implodes. They are particularly cumbersome to deal with because they never show up when you are financially capable. They conveniently surface when you are down broken and broke.
We, guys, are the favourite victims, as it were, of this diabolical game. We are practically lauded when we can cover DSTV, fill the fridge, make sure the matriarch holds something in her hand, cover the nephew’s day-care fees, all of this and more, with the politics nowhere in sight. But, when you get knocked down, even for a time so short, you could not finish a cup of coffee, it resurfaces. Nigger just cannot catch a break!
It has been a couple of years since I have had a work address, so I know first-hand the transition from being able to afford to become so financially deficient, you can hear the echo in your pocket. Believe me, it takes some getting used to. But, that is nothing in comparison to the corner of the eye (that can puncture the soul) you get just for breathing, the once instrumental son has become a waste of space or the condescending tone with-which things are said to you, or passive-aggressive speech that was non-existent during the “fat years”, or my personal favourite, walking into a room and to silence so awkward, it gives you all the details about the topical gossip that is you. A careless whisper.
I am currently living off of friends, who themselves have a lot to deal with, and going on (an average of) two meals a day. At times I feel like I do not belong. I am by no means suicidal, neither do I advocate for it, but I certainly understand where people that give in to it, come from. It’s that classic case of the last straw that broke the Camel’s back. ‘Society does not deserve a fully grown, able-bodied man who cannot fend for himself’. “My family deserves better; I have failed them”. That is the only thing you can brood over. One barely does a good job grappling with the daily struggle of a vegetative state, the access layer of family shenanigans can send him spiralling into capitulation.
In 1947, The USSR and America were locked in what was referred to as the Cold War. The reason it was “cold” was because it was not fully blown, and it was not direct. They fought through allies. Virtually, a game of chess on steroids. A war of propaganda and espionage, as it was sub-referenced. It was a fight about culture, ideas, sports, they fought about everything. But what is interesting is that they were once friends, they joined forces to fight against Germany. Officially, the war ended in 1987 when Gorbachev (USSR) and REAGAN (USA) signed the INT treaty. But the war itself lasted till 1991 (maybe someone was not told). Did that mean that they were friends again?
Fast forward to 2015… Donald Trump beats Hillary Clinton to the most powerful seat in America, and consequently the world. There were clamours and murmurs of Russian interference in the election. Subtle remnants of the cold war and that has been the main ingredient of their war, subtlety. The tension between the two superpowers has been brewing beneath the surface like lava for a while, inspiring talks (or fears) of a second cold war, but my question is, was the first one really over? That is what family politics is like. It is a chess game of poker. The rules of engagement are not clear but drop your guard and you will be pounced upon.