INT. ROOM - DAY
I'm chillin' in a chair chattin' with some dope ladies. The discussion is heavy, and so are our spirits. The recession has been tough, combined with other life shiznit.
Woman 1: "I'm losing everything. My home, my job, my car, and maybe even my dogs. I can't believe this is my life. I am educated and have always had an amazing job."
She looks down. I wish there was something to say or do to make it better, but there isn't. Not at this moment.
Woman 1: "I'm already broke. My credit is ruined. I have nothing. I am so fu-king depressed I don't know what to do anymore. I started anti-depressants again, but they aren't helping that much...I'm at a loss for words."
Woman 2: "Isn't EDD going to extend your benefits? That won't save your house, but, I mean, at least it will keep you afloat, right?"
Woman 1: "EDD can kiss my ass."
The group laughs.
Woman 1: "I can't take being broke. I mean, I was at this point over 25 years ago as a young adult. I am not starting over in Los Angeles again. Hell no. I am going to move to Utah where I have family and try to regroup."
Me: "Will you be happy in Utah?"
Woman 1: "I can't think about happiness. All I can think about is how to keep the roof over my head and if I am going to lose my dogs. I am in constant panic mode. I am sick of it. I want to leave California and move on."
I go silent, left with my thoughts. It feels like she's running away. Like she doesn't want to face, as she would say, failure. The failure of looking at the house she used to own. The failure of driving past her former work. The failure of having to live in a small apartment paying over $700 dollars a month. And, frankly, I don't blame her.
Woman 1: "I'm devastated. I can't even get a $9 an hour job. Do you know how that feels for someone like me? Love hasn't worked. Jobs haven't worked. And, now life isn't working. I have to get away from this place and all that I've lost."
Me: "I hear ya. Sounds like the good thing is that you have an option. And, support. Even if you end up staying, which you may, now you're more aware of that."
Woman 1: "I still feel alone. Last week I felt like no one was there for me. Like how I felt when I was a kid. I don't like it. I need to be around my family. So yeah, you're right."
Me: "Feeling alone. I understand. And, that's all the more reason why you should consider going where there is love and support on a daily basis. Isolation can really turn out to be jacked up on our spirits."
Woman 1: "We'll see what happens. But yeah, happiness ain't on my agenda right now. I'm trying to figure out how to stop drowning."
The group goes silent, not knowing what to say. It's a tough time on many of us, some harder than most. I glance up at her and wonder if she sees how amazing and talented she is. And, if she sees that hope and happiness are closer than she thinks.
What do you say when someone is drowning?
What do you do?
Perhaps the best option is simply to be there for that person, emotionally. We all go through our ups and downs in life, including myself.
Who knows if my friend will bounce back, but at least she knows I am here for her. That we're all here. And sometimes, just being there is all the support we ever need.