This is neither easy to read nor easy to write about, but it is important to acknowledge the voices of those who are in such low places that they would rather be dead than alive. They see their lives as ruined. They have little energy. They have no hope. We need to remind them that there are groups fighting for them, and if they have the strength they too can join with others in this battle.
I'm receiving more desperate notes again, and I want them to be heard loud and clear. They should not be hidden in the comments - they deserve to have full light and total exposure, because people need to be aware of how punishment in the form of debt bondage destroys a person's soul and will to live.
Check out the Occupy Student Loan Debt Campaign
This woman's voice moved me deeply. In a response to questions I asked in an earlier post, here's what she had to say:
(Author's note: I have reformatted and omitted some of her remarks - she answered numerical questions)
[I owe] almost $200,000.00 and my husband owes almost $200,000.00. Together, [it's] almost $400,000.00. If we were in full repayment, this would cost us almost $4,000 a month in minimum payments. This exceeds our take-home pay. And no, we are not doctors.
I have a B.A. in Sociology and an M.A. in Educational Psychology. My husband has a B.S. and an M.S. Both schools that I attended were state universities, in-state. One of which was Arizona State, whose in-state tuition rivals that of for-profit schools and is rising. I am not employed. I'm looking for work. We live off of my husband's salary. So no, I am not employed and no, we are not able to pay on our student loans with one salary.
We rent an apartment on the other side of the country from our family. We're trying to move back home so that we can at least try to make our minimum payments, but despite aggressive attempts to find jobs in their area for the last 10 months, we've been unable to and are still stuck paying about $1,700 a month for our one-bedroom apartment on the east coast. And this is a 'good deal.'The question about what the world has come to is a good one. It's completely out of whack, isn't it? We have been left to our own devices, and yet we're still buried in debt, so self-reliance is damned hard, if not impossible, to truly achieve. Think about this - you might be a self-sufficient person. When there are economic downturns of this nature, you learn quickly how to make due with less, save things, strengthen support networks, and so forth. This makes you feel stronger and proud of your self-reliance. But when you stop to think about all the debt hanging over your head, and if one thing goes wrong, you're suddenly on a fast track to defaulter's hell, you realize that that self-sufficiency has been stolen from you too. Well, just as I said yesterday, we don't like the fact that our futures have been stolen from us, and we don't like that we can't feel entirely self-sufficient. We're here to get that back too. Oh, and did I mention that we want our damned dignity back as well?
I've developed insomnia, anxiety and depression. I cannot get out of bed in the morning without physical pain because I'm so depressed. I am on medication that only slightly helps take the edge off, but that has been difficult to afford. Even when it's sunny outside, I have such a dark cloud over me that it feels like it's dark. I don't enjoy anything anymore. Even good news is painful to me because I'm sad that I can't enjoy it. I feel like I've lost all hope. I have been suicidal for a while now. The only thing that keeps me living is that I don't want my poor husband to have to face his debt without my emotional support.
I feel like a failure. I just turned 30 today and I don't see having children as an option at any point in my life. My husband is 40 - he's never had children or a house, either. I'm afraid to answer the door, check the mail or look at my E-mail because I'm panicked that there will be bad news. I feel like I'm developing agoraphobia. I fear for my future - if I default and the banks can go after my retirement, bank accounts and social security, what will happen to me when I'm an elderly person? Will I have to live on the streets?
I am often angry. I'm angry I was scammed, angry that I've lost control of my life and angry that I'm a modern-day slave. There are a whole lot of people who do bad things - they steal, kill and spend irresponsibly. They all get second chances, but I do not because I went to college. I am angry because evil people have been allowed to lobby Congress and evil leaders of this country allowed themselves to be tempted and failed to protect students. Everything I went to school for is now out of my reach because I went to school.
Oh, and before you judge me, I got stuck with my ex-husband's loans, so my debt includes student debt for two people... not to mention the usurous [sic] interest that can quickly double, triple, or quadruple a loan in no time. My husband also went to flight school which is why his are so high. He graduated only to find out that major airlines in today's world hire pilots at $25,000 a year.
What has this world come to? Why even try anymore?
We're here to collect a lot of things that rightfully belong to us.
|Cesare Ripa's Allegory of Dignity