Being Positive During Difficult Times

Light streaming through forest

I swear one of the most difficult things to do is get over hard times. Everyone has them and although they create character, it’s rough to get through. It’s like trying to see the forest apart from the trees. It’s difficult because it seems like you have to focus more on the trees than the forest. In other words, it’s better to focus on one thing at a time instead of all of the things around you.

Today, I definitely had to focus on one thing at a time. First I had to go to Downtown Sacramento and deal with the bureaucracies of the county. I’ve been having trouble with collecting unemployment insurance and Food Stamps. Once there, I found out that the problem was so bad that the staff had a difficult time trying explaining to me what went wrong. In the end, I had to fill out another form called the Semi-Annual report and turn in my proof of income (which is my unemployment). After that, they gave me a meeting on Wednesday morning, but until then, I have no food. Thank God I moved in with my mom.

Since I haven’t been able to get an assignment from the temp agencies, I had to go to the unemployment office and try to obtain my unemployment insurance so I can pay for my personal bills. However, because of Federal cuts in unemployment funding, the only way to get a hold of an EDD person is to call the 1-800 number. Unfortunately for me, the call center is only open from 8 am – 12 pm and if they have too many calls in the queue, they hang up on me and I have to call again. Which I did.  I called the EDD 200 times in that four hour window–I didn’t talk to an operator. I’m hoping using the phones at the EDD office will improve my chances of getting this handled.

With me moving back to my parents house and the above events happening, things have been stressful to say the least. However, I try not to worry about the stressful stuff. I focus on the fact that now I have time to solidify my routine and rehearsal schedule. I also have a chance to focus on writing my blogs on a daily basis. I’m totally blessed that my parents have my back and I have time to work out these issues.

One technique I’ve been working on is to only focus on what I can control. That’s how I got through prison camp. I didn’t focus on things like what if count came earlier than usual, or what if the library didn’t open on time. I focused on getting as much writing done as I could because that’s what I could control. I could write anywhere at camp to be honest, so it didn’t matter that the library wasn’t opened because the CO was having a bad day and didn’t want to open it. I couldn’t control that, so I didn’t care about it. I wouldn’t even think about it.

Learning lessons like the one above was one of the greatest blessings I learned in prison. Although, I am having trouble applying all those lessons in the real world, but I’m still thankful I was able to apply this one. It is just a matter of maintaining the mindset.