Invisible Blame

Tamara gets a lot of help from her parents. She’d become pregnant with Max in the summer after her senior year of high school, and she’d elected to put college off until the baby was born.

Funny thing was Max’s father sort of moved on and the job of raising a child was left to Tamara, who had no income and was of course living with her parents. She asked if she could live at home until “she got on her feet” and her parents complied.

While her mom watched Max, Tamara started classes at the community college, but wasn’t really that interested in any subject in particular. After a year of that, she quit and told her parents she needed to get a job to take care of her responsibilities.

With no real marketable skills, it took her six months to find that job, and it was merely data entry work; part time, no benefits, hardly enough to “take care of her responsibilities.”

But hey–at least she was working, right? Better than hanging out on the couch all day as she had been for the last six months. And anyway, Max would be five next year, and when he was off at school, things would be easier for everyone and maybe then she could go back to college to get a better job.

But for now this is good enough, and Tamara loves to go out with the girls from this job, they are so fun and they really understand her. As Tamara checks her make up before she and her friends head off to their favorite Friday restaurant, her father is on the other side of town withdrawing money from his savings account.

This money was going to be for the cruise he and his wife had been looking forward to, but Max was growing and needed clothes and the cost of his special asthma medicine was high, too, since Tamara did not have a health plan and the public assistance she got had some limitations.

As 7 p.m. rolls around, Tamara glances at her watch and rolls her eyes. “I gotta go,” she tells her friends. They protest and tell her to just call her mom and have her put Max to bed for her.

Tamara shakes her head: “No, no–I don’t want to get another lecture for blowing off MY kid. This is my life; see y’all Monday.”

She climbs in her car and starts the engine. Her dad filled the tank last night, but she never even looks at the gas; she just assumes it will be full. She adjusts the rear view mirror and looks herself in the eye.

A moment of truth? Of self-actualization? No.

She merely says:

“Why does this world always do this to me?”

“I never have any luck!”

“I don’t see other people having these problems. Why do I?”

See, folks, we should only believe in one invisible man; the same one we’ve been praying to since we were old enough to speak. That doesn’t make us extra virtuous or anything; it simply ensures that when our troubles test us and form our lives and relationships, we don’t suffer the misconception that there is something that is “due” to us simply because we were born.

The favors that others contribute, like parents, can create the illusion that only good things should come our way and any time we have trouble, someone should run interference and make it all better.

Fact is, we need to make our own lives better.

Fact is, it is usually only us who make our lives worse.

“Why does this world always do this to me?”

It doesn’t. You are simply unprepared when things go badly. Things happen to everyone–not just you.

“I never have any luck!”

Actually, you’ve had quite a bit of it so far. How about preparing for the worst once in awhile so you’re not so surprised next time “the luck” doesn’t tumble your way.

“I don’t see other people having these problems. Why do I?”

How about you figure that one out on your own.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at

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One comment on “Invisible Blame

  1. billy moore on said:

    I sent your article to 2 people who really needed to read it. One called me and said “thanks, I needed that”. Good message.

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