Environment and Wellness

It is very difficult for me to “rate my environment” from my neighborhood or surrounding cities.  I live in what I call a “city” suburb close to Philadelphia, PA. I do not have any friends that are close to me. My closest friend lives about an hour or two away by public transportation (since I have no license or a car). I do not really watch the news anymore, because all they talk about is the negative things going on in the “bad parts” of Philadelphia and sports. I feel as though I do not belong in this environment which is why I never go out. (Not to mention no money to do so) Everyone around is either very Catholic or Christian and the fact I am neither turns me off even more. There are far too many people and not enough jobs that give people like me a chance. All people care about out there is a degree (Bachelors because apparently, the Associates doesn’t matter anymore) and have experience in the field. There is no “or” in that deal. My question here though is always “if I don’t have experience how am I supposed to get a job?” The older generation always tells me to go for retail. Not only can I not physically or mentally handle retail *and* school, but I have tried doing that for many years before I went back to school. I was never able to obtain full time because I was unable to use a cash register, and even 20 hours of work became far too much strain on my body physically. I apply for so many office jobs. I had a small influx of interviews, but they were mostly sales and those that were not decided to “seek other candidates.” Mostly with “more experience in phone customer service” as if face to face customer service meant nothing.

I do know, that when I visit my friend in Connecticut, I feel the happiest. She is surrounded by trees and forests and I just love it there. However, I also know that it is very expensive to live there so I would never be able to live there. Besides, the only job she was able to get was a job at a liquor store. I doubt there would be anything that I could do there. I also know that when I visited London back in January, I did not feel as though I was in a cramped city like Philadelphia is. I felt more “at home.” The problem with that obviously, is that London is one of the notorious EXPENSIVE cities to live. Besides, moving to another country is the hardest thing to do. I have always felt happier when I left my home environment. I even spent two months of the summer last year at my old school’s dorms while I did work study and classes. I was happy and did not want to ever go home.

I wanted to add to this discussion, that I believe that “environment” does not mean just the place you live. It also means how you live at home. What the home is like, if you even have a home, what things trigger stress and other things like that. I currently live in an old house with my parents and my grandmother. My grandmother is a very negative person and always wants to be “right” even when she is obviously wrong. Especially when it comes to common issues out now such as sexuality, faith, gender identity, etc. As a pansexual, non-binary person, many of the things that she says really offends me, yet I am unable to speak my mind or I will offend her. I trap myself in my room to avoid saying anything wrong. Even my own spirituality offends her (Pagan). I respect all religions and faiths so I feel hurt that I cannot even speak my mind without offending her. I am big on the idea of interfaith communication, which is one of the reasons I think I may try getting into advocacy. I understand that she is Catholic and is raised in the “older” times, but I feel that I am emotionally and mentally abused all the time and she has no idea because I am unable to really speak my mind.  My mother helps me in the background along with my therapist, but my dad tends to take her side at times because she is his mother. Once I move, hopefully in late January or early February of next year, I will finally be able to live in an environment that is good for me. I will be paying my part with SNAP and using the little money I have for each month to pay for smaller bills.

I also find that the cold causes my pain to flare up from Fibromyalgia symptoms. My room is very cold because of holes in an old air conditioner that I have not been able to get taken out and a hole in the ceiling because of leaks from the roof. I feel that that is yet another reason I need to move next year. I can only get healthier when I am out of my environment. Even my Therapist agrees.