It's official: I'm on the dole.
I am not proud. Rather, I am humbled. I am also thankful. And I am sad.
I have never accessed welfare benefits before, and I must admit it has been difficult to admit that I have to resort to it. But nine months of continued unemployment tend to hack away at the confidence in one's ability to self sustain. Fuck the stigma.
Ever since Mark ended our relationship a few weeks ago, a few folks have asked why I don't just pack up and move back to the US. There are a number of reasons for that, some simple and some complex. Unless they have been through it, I don't think anyone understands what it means to move to another country for a partner--especially during middle age and after just receiving a doctorate, (thereby charting a professional path that would ultimately lead nowhere in the new hemisphere). It wasn't easy to get here. Why the hell should it be easy to leave?
Anyway, being on welfare won't be forever. It may not even be for a month. But for however long it lasts, I am thankful. I wouldn't receive the same benefits in the US. Not at all.
I am optimistic regarding my chances of finding work in Sydney. I like Melbourne, but obviously my shingle wasn't welcome to hang there. So be it.