I just haven’t felt like writing.
Life continues along it’s bumpy road. While I invest hours looking for balance and learning about enlightened ways in which to live my life, when it comes down to it, I’m still just as prone to giant swerves off course as the next person.
After two weeks of hanging out with my mum, the quiet of being home, of epic days alone with April, has made me feel a little off. The weather and my friends’ combination of not here or busy also adds to my funkiness. The worst part about this little blip I’m in is that I objectively understand that it’s just me feeling off. I won’t go so far as saying that it’s silly, because I’m not about to discount my feelings based of rational observation. But part of me feels like I’m watching myself from afar, and sort of shaking my head with a knowing smile as I fall into old ways — thinking too much about unsolvable issues and worrying too much about future imponderables.
I went to the employment office on Monday to pick up a form that I need to hand in with my Young Volunteers package. Young Volunteers is the program I am applying for which will hopefully fund my book project for the next year. The way it works is that if you’re between 18 and 29, and are unemployed or having trouble getting work in your field, then you can get funding from the government in order to complete a project under the guidance of a mentor. My friend Adam, an established and may I even say successful writer here in Montreal, told me about the program and offered to mentor me.
So, when I went to the employment office when I got back to Montreal in April, the woman I spoke with checked on the government website to see if I was eligible for the program. I was. She then told me to apply for EI because maybe I would get more money. I did (apply), and I didn’t (get more money). But all I had really wanted was the eligibility to participate in Young Volunteers, so I was happy. She gave me the phone number of the people to call about the program, and that was that. Or was it?
So, I spent the better part of a month calling the wrong number. I called my employment officer back to tell her that it was the wrong number, but she insisted it was correct and as a result I left dozens of messages in the incorrect government voice mailbox. Finally, she called me back with the correct number. I called the number and was up in the Plateau at an information session the very next day. This was extremely exciting. The meeting revealed to me that if you have received any kind of employment benefits (including parental), then you are eligible to receive $240 a week, if not, you only get $300 a month. Big difference. “This is great!” I thought to myself, I can get almost a grand a month from this and go back to PMA part time. Hooray! I can actually work as a writer for a little bit of money!
I have been thwarted. Or rather, I may soon be.
When I arrived at the employment office on Monday to pick up the form giving me permission to participate, I was given some thoroughly unexpected news. When she checked my eligibility again on July 27th, it said the I was not eligible. She had no reason for this, just a different answer from the last.
Now, I haven’t worked since April. I haven’t done anything that has brought any money into my hands. The only thing I have done since I last saw her was file for EI, which was rejected as I haven’t worked for the past year. Because I was on parental leave. So why on earth am I suddenly ineligible for something that a few months ago I was eligible for?
Oh, bureaucracy. How I despise you.
While all of this was going on, I was reading Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health. Sitting in her office, waiting for her to come back from talking with her supervisor, I read that a rapid heartbeat is a Vata imbalance. I sat and tried to breathe deeply, to remain positive and calm despite the wave of stress that was rapidly permeating my every cell.
All this to say, I hope that life is testing me. I hope that tomorrow or the next day I will get a call saying that it was all a mistake, and I am eligible. Nothing has changed. Why, oh government, why are decision rendered so entirely incomprehensibly? I thought you were supposed to help me?
Maybe I’m just not supposed to get my hopes up.