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How Donated Furniture Challenged My Sense of Worthlessness

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My life has been full of changes. I recently moved into my own apartment after living with my parents for the last five years due to my mental health and financial situation, and I just adopted a 2-month-old cat from the humane society named Achilles. It’s amazing how profound an impact a two-pound kitten can make even in just the course of a week, but I’ll save that for another time.

For so long, I’ve been fortunate to live a life where I didn’t have to worry about having enough to eat or paying more than rent and my portion of the phone bill. But, now I think about paying for electric, groceries, and internet in addition.

Because I lived with my parents for so long, I had no furniture of my own, and as someone whose sole income is Supplemental Security Income (around $900 a month) and has a limit of $2,000 in assets as set by the government, I was unable to save much to buy any of my own furniture.

By some miracle, my mom’s coworker was emptying the storage unit she packed her apartment up into at the start of COVID and was set on donating everything to the Salvation Army until she heard I could use a lot of it. So, she passed things on to me, and whatever I didn’t need was donated.

I received so much from this thoughtful woman. I got a mattress, a bed frame, a table, a dresser, a coffee table, and many other small items I use on a daily basis.

I’ve also received things from family that have been a huge help as well.

As someone who’s tried to be pretty self-sufficient my whole life, I feel uncomfortable receiving so much furniture when I feel I have no way to give back. I feel guilty and undeserving of such gifts because I haven’t “earned” it the way I feel I should.

But, I tell myself I don’t need to earn it because as a human being, that is itself inherent enough to deserve help when I am down. Humans need help, and right now I am the human that needs help.

One day, I will get to be the helper. Although I would feel guilty profiting off the items I was given, I can pass things along piece by piece as I am able to find things that better fit my personality and lifestyle. Right now, I don’t care whether or not the pieces are “me” or “good” because anything is better than an empty apartment.

Someone suggested to me possibly selling the furniture as I am ready and donating the profits to charity. While that thought sounds good in theory, the thought of selling any of the furniture leaves a bad taste in my mouth because even if I were to have gone to a thrift store to find all the furniture, I’m not sure I’d have sufficient funds to purchase everything that I have been given. Sometimes it’s better to forget about the monetary value of an item and focus on what each human deserves – dignity, no matter if they can afford a luxury sofa, or one passed on for its fourth or fifth life.

Going from someone who was cared for by her parents to someone relying on the government for help for even the most basic things has been a huge mind shift. It has opened my eyes to the many social problems that still exist in the community that have been swept under the rug as unimportant my whole life. But they are important.

As humans, we all deserve adequate housing, access to healthy food and clean water, healthcare, education, love, and kindness regardless of age, orientation, ability, religion, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, and more. With my move, I’m really learning how the people in my circle choose to show their kindness and whether or not it meshes with the ways I am comfortable receiving it.

Thinking about all humans being deserving of help has messed with my head because my depression constantly tells me I’m not worth it, so I know I have a lot of work ahead of me to reconcile what my depression shouts to me day and night to what I’m slowly learning to be true due to my move.

Getty image by Cavan Images

Originally published: January 20, 2022
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