The Effects of the Great Recession on Young Adults

I don’t currently have a bad life. I’m married to a wonderful man who provides the majority of our household income because he has a better job than I.

I have an okay job. It’s full-time, 40 hours a week during business hours only, easy, great coworkers, and I don’t take my work home with me. It doesn’t require a college degree, though I have one. The downsides of this job are that the pay is pretty low ( a few dollars over federal minimum wage) and no health insurance is offered. I’ve been at this job about 1.5 years and it’s been suggested to me that I dip my toes in the job hunting water and see what else is out there.

In theory, I would love to do this. I would love to see what else is out there. I’m certain I am well-qualified for other jobs that would pay better and offer health insurance. However, my job-hunting experience after graduating from college has essentially killed my ambition and drive to be successful and try to get a better job.

I graduated from high school in 2009 and from college in 2013. Luckily I was not applying for full-time jobs at the height of the Great Recession when I graduated from high school. The recession had long ended when I graduated from college, but the job market had not caught up.  It was still an employer’s market. People older and more experienced than I were applying for the same entry-level jobs I was. How could I compete with real adults who had been laid off from mid-tier jobs with 10+ years more of experience than me? It was brutal out there for me and for many of my friends and peers who had graduated in 2013. Some went to grad school to stave off job searching for a couple more years or who knew what they wanted to do and needed a Masters for it. Others, like me, tried for months to get a good job in their field that paid enough to share an apartment with a couple roommates, only to get desperate and take whatever they could get.

From May 2013 until September 2015, I strung together fast food and retail work with random part-time office jobs to make some money and get some experience while applying for dozens of jobs each week in an effort to get something better that suck. Draining customer service jobs that didn’t require a high school degree combined with rejection after rejection really took its toll on me. I was rarely called for an interview for jobs that required a bachelors. I signed up with three different temp agencies, only one of which placed me in a position, and that position was cut from the client company after I had worked there a week. In a four-month period where I kept records of my job-hunting activities, I applied for 150 jobs, had a couple dozen interviews (including phone, in-person, and second interviews), and received no job offers. It truly crushed my spirit and made me feel like I would always be a failure and live with my parents working a part-time minimum wage job.

Finally, in September 2015, I was offered a full-time office job. I breathed a colossal sigh of relief and was overjoyed that I would not have to think about job-hunting for a while. I’m in a pretty good place in my life right now and as much as I’d like to continue to grow in my career, I just don’t think I can take the rejection, resume retooling, cover letter writing, and tedious online applications again. I know I can do better than where I am right now, and I know that I should, because I know that I have talents and skills that the world needs and I just plain old need more money to live a comfortable life. I know that in another economic climate I would have a better job and maybe a better life, but it still stings that I’m where I am right now.

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I’m pro-choice AND pro-abortion

I hate that with so many social issues in politics there’s no way of compromising between the different viewpoints.

Take abortion for example. Yes, a lot of pro-lifers are misogynistic, have no idea of how women’s bodies work, and consider themselves “pro-life” in a thinly veiled attempt to keep women subservient and shame them for having sex. But there are some genuinely pro-life individuals, some of whom aren’t even religious, who genuinely believe that a pregnancy is a life that holds just as much value as people who have already been born. There are some people who truly, truly believe that a fetus/embryo/zygote being aborted is equivalent to shooting a toddler. And there’s no compromising or changing their minds. It’s not like economic issues where politicians can haggle over numbers and come to a semi-mutually agreeable number for taxes, for instance. Pro-life and pro-choice can never be on the same page because they essentially have arguments supporting their stance in completely different books. The pro-choice argument essentially doesn’t take into consideration the stance of “this pregnancy is a life that you can’t take much like you can’t shoot a toddler.” The pro-choice argument is that a woman should be able to decide what she does with her body, and that includes deciding whether or not to continue with a pregnancy. When you put the sides against each other they don’t really make sense. Pro-lifers call pro-choicers “anti-life” or “pro-abortion.” Pro-choicers call pro-lifers “anti-choice.” Interestingly (ironically?) both sides call the other “anti-women.” Is there any room for them to get along?

I think it depends on each individual person, because I guarantee there are not two people in the world with the exact same views on abortion and what they think should be legal.

Some pro-lifers, while their intentions may be good, have a poor understanding of some or many aspects of human and female anatomy and the basic workings of pregnancy. Some underestimate the toll pregnancy takes on a woman’s body, the accuracy of contraception, the desire of some women to never have children, and the horrible burden it puts on women when they advocate for not allowing them to plan their own families.

The pro-choice community often tries to steer the conversation away from abortion anyway and try to soften their views, which I think is horribly unfortunate. You can see this in people talking about what a great organization Planned Parenthood is, while at the same time diminishing the abortion services it provides. “Only 3% of PP’s activities is abortion and yet those whakcos still hate PP, jeez,” or “well we should really be trying to reduce the number of abortions by making contraception more easily accessible,” or even “I’m pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I don’t think anyone is pro-abortion. Women who have abortions make such a painful decision and no one actually wants one, sometimes it’s just a necessity.”

I think all those arguments and downplaying of abortion is a bunch of bullshit. I consider myself pro-choice but also pro-abortion. Abortion is a hard-earned right that women have, and it should not be hush-hush and we should not be ashamed to talk about it. If I were to summarize my beliefs on abortion in a nutshell, it would be in two words: Contraception Fails. Yes, we can do whatever we can to attempt to prevent pregnancy through contraception. But, contraception can fail. It is not 100% reliable. If a woman does not want to become pregnant, she should not have to be pregnant and should not be forced to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth. Humans having sex is a normal, healthy activity and it should be no one’s business but the people doing it. No adult or teenager with a same-age partner should ever be shamed for having consensual sex. Yes, sex can result in pregnancy but women have every right to decide if they wish to continue the pregnancy or not. Why? Because CONTRACEPTION FAILS.

Another of my favorite sayings is: “adoption is an alternative to parenting, not to pregnancy.” In other words, the options a woman has when she is pregnant are not: keeping the baby, adoption, or abortion. The choices are: continuing the pregnancy, or not continuing the pregnancy. Only if she chooses continuing the pregnancy does she then have the choice of: parenting or adoption. This is something the pro-life community doesn’t understand. A woman may agree with adoption in theory but decide against pregnancy for her situation.

To put this in perspective, not that it matters to me, but to show the pro-life community things they don’t understand and to tell my personal story: I am a married mid-20’s childfree woman. I do not ever want to have children; biological, adopted, or step. I never want to give birth or engage in any parenting activities. I would like to be sterilized by the age of 30. However, most doctors will not sterilize women below the age of 30 or even 35, especially if the woman in question has never had any children. There is no way of really getting around this. If a doctor will not sterilize you, that’s that, you must remain fertile. But that’s a discussion for another time.

So, until I can be sterilized, my husband and I must use contraception so that we don’t fall pregnant. We do whatever we can to not become pregnant. However, as I have stated, contraception fails and is not 100% reliable. You can bet your ass if I become pregnant I will get an abortion faster than you can say “Mike Pence.” Why? Because I don’t want to be pregnant or have a child! It’s my decision! I become physically ill when imagining myself pregnant with a little parasite inside me. Giving birth is in fact more dangerous to a woman’s life than getting an abortion. Pregnancy causes permanent, gross changes to a woman’s body that I want no part of. What would the alternative be, according to the pro-life community? I shouldn’t have sex with my husband? Ok, no. I should just get sterilized? Well, I want to, but as stated above, no one will sterilize a mid-20’s childless(free) woman. Do they not understand how ridiculous they sound? It’s equally ridiculous to any woman no matter their situation. Who are they to tell a woman not to have consensual sex with any partner or partners of her choosing whenever she wants? Who are they to tell a woman that she can’t decide when the right time to have children is for her own situation? Pro-lifers are the truly out of touch ones here. And the pro-choice community that tries to diminish abortion does the whole community a disservice by not acknowledging women who are not just pro-choice but also pro-abortion.

And if I ever had to get an abortion, it would not be a “painful” or “difficult” or “agonizing” decision. It would be a happy and joyous occasion. I might even have a party for it. It would be a relief to me, to not be forced to continue a pregnancy. The only agonizing part, for me, would be the 24-hour waiting period and ultrasound. And I’m sure I’m not the only woman who feels this way.

I don’t get along with my mother-in-law

I started this blog because I have a lot of things to say that I don’t want attached to my real name and identity. Many of them involve me being a recovering alcoholic. All involve profanity.

In some ways I have a traditional or typical relationship with my mother-in-law and in-laws at large, and in some ways I don’t. Typical in that they hate my guts. Atypical in that we are essentially no contact and have been for almost a year.

Leading up to and since my wedding, I have committed four egregious crimes against them.

The first: I *gasp* didn’t have a traditional wedding and pushed back on their ridiculous demands to have a bigger wedding with all their stupid relatives in attendance, traditional white dress, traditional stupid elaborate decorations, etc. Multiple times during the engagement my mother-in-law (abbreviated MIL) made me want to cancel the god damn thing because she was being so ridiculous. “You’re not inviting great-aunt Mabel and her 800 dogs and grandchildren??? I’m sure she would love to come out of her trailer in the holler and eat your free food, I mean celebrate your union.” – “No, MIL, fuck off and don’t come if you don’t want to come, I couldn’t give fewer fucks if you’re happy or not.”

The second: I *gasp* didn’t shed my last name, my identity of 25 years, and take on my husband’s in an archaic gesture symbolizing that ownership of me had transferred from my father to him with our union. How dare I not want to take on a last name that not only clashed horribly with my first name but would also cost me countless hours and possibly funds trying to change my name across bank accounts, online accounts, work, everything. Not to mention, I just don’t want to. Why should I do something I don’t want to do, just because everybody else does or that’s the way society works? And I’m not keeping my name just to be a rebel or to be different, or to say fuck you to society for the fun of it. I like my name and just because I bound myself legally to someone I live with and have sex with doesn’t mean I have to change my identity.

The third: I have declared, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will be partaking of neither pregnancy nor parenting for the duration of my life. I don’t know if I could possibly rank my transgressions against my husband’s family in order of severity, but his mother sure has been passive aggressive about this one. “Oh look at our new house! This bedroom would be perfect for the GRAAAANDCHILDREN to sleep in. Oh, [son’s name with a rarely-used diminutive -y at the end] are you two working on making babies so I can have some GRAAAAANDCHILDREN? All my friends have some, why can’t I have some GRAAAANDCHILDREN?” And every time I would tell her that we were not having any. I used to give her my well-thought out and well-researched reasoning as to why we were declining to breed, and each time she would dismiss me as though I was a child telling my mother that I don’t want to do my homework. So eventually I stopped justifying and simply stated. “You having kids soon?” – “No.” – “Why?” – “I don’t want to, simple as that.” But it was never as simple as that for my husband’s mother. I know she would never say it, but to her I was the evil, liberal, childfree temptress who brainwashed her precious baby boy into letting his wife not bless him with crotch spawn. But of course my perfect son wants to bless the world with fuck trophies that I can show off like fat pigs at a state fair, she reasoned. It’s that devil wife of his that’s the problem. His first wife, the crazy adulteress, SHE wanted to breed with him and he with her, so this second wife must have BRAINWASHED the poor thing. How dare she and my son have a rational, adult conversation about their hopes and dreams for the future and children not be part of them.

The fourth: I didn’t let his mother walk all over me. She, like most mothers-in-law, is loud, overbearing, and bitchy. She knew my political views were farther left than Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders’ love child, and she knew I knew she was as conservative as any 50-year-old male in the Deep South, minus the religious fanaticism. But would she shut her trap around me? No. Everyone knows that to keep the peace in the family, you shouldn’t discuss politics, especially if political views vary wildly. She knew we agreed on next to nothing politically, yet she still ran her mouth and expected me to smile and nod. Too bad I don’t work that way, and on one instance I asked her to kindly shut her trap about whatever bullshit GOP issue of the day she was rambling on about. I didn’t even tell her how stupid and wrong she was, I just told her not to discuss such matters around me. But the bitch didn’t listen. So we stopped speaking, she blocked me on Facebook, and nothing has changed since. That was nine months ago.

We weren’t always enemies. The first time I met my husband’s mother and father, I found them enjoyable and I considered this a contributing factor to mine and my husband’s relationship working and being solid. I remember very clearly meeting my husband’s father first, and then a few minutes later, his mother. I arrived at  the party where we were to meet smack dab in the middle of the festivities.

The then-guy-I-was-casually-seeing-for-a-month (who I will call Casual for this anecdote) brought me over to the beer pong table, his face lit up and his palm holding the small of my back.

“[Casual Girlfriend], this is my dad, [Dad’s Name],” he said, grinning broadly.

“Hi, [Casual Girlfriend], I’m drunk,” Dad’s Name replied. I thought I loved him already.

His mother greeted me with equal vigor.

“You must be [Casual Girlfriend],” she said warmly.

The booze was flowing freely all around. His parents were past tipsy but not shitfaced and seemed happy, a little outrageous, drunk. I had a good feeling about them.

As it turned out, I should have never met them for the first time while they were drunk. They acted after six drinks how I act after two. His father, sober, was silent virtually all the time. His mother, sober, was disdainful, holier-than-thou, and Reagan-worshipping. It obviously didn’t end up working out.