Recently I met Cheryl, a member of my adopted community here in the Middle of Nowhere, Cannabis Central, USA. Cheryl is a bit older than I am, used to be a writer of religious texts. Even had one published before self-publishing was a thing. A bona fide published writer. Writers are a weird bunch (obviously) and Cheryl is certainly weird, and was probably a bit (way) off even before she got sick — like me, Cheryl is seriously chronically ill. I haven’t asked about her diagnoses but like many chronically ill people and especially chronically ill women, she likely has more than one illness, and it is likely that at least one of her afflictions is an autoimmune disease. As I am learning, these illnesses, for whatever reason, tend to travel in packs. I personally only have one that I know of — Crohn’s disease — but since moving residences 2 weeks ago and finding myself unable to get out of bed much and wracked with head-to-toe pain and crippling fatigue ever since, I am once again wondering if I have another one although I have learned through reading other Crohn’s patients’ testimonies online that Crohn’s all by itself is enough to render anyone the barely-walking dead and that is indeed how I feel. Cheryl, on the other hand, has been buried under her particular prison for years.
This is Ruby. Ruby is a mommy vlogger with over a million subscribers, is the sister of Bonnie and Ellie, and like her sisters is also a generational member of the LDS religious cult (Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons). Ruby has a family including 6 young children and a husband. Ruby and her husband have spent their entire relationship getting Mr. Ruby educated with a Master’s and a Ph.D and Mr. Ruby has used his education to get a teaching job which he has held for the last several years. Mr. Ruby just found out he got tenure which means he can never be fired* from his job. According to Ruby’s understanding of the situation, this means that they will always have money and therefore that they will always have security. That they will always have necessary and discretionary income. That they will always have a home. Ruby is so, so, so very happy about that.
Judging by her life and lifestyle as a married middle class woman with children, Ruby has clearly bought into one myth, the myth of the middle class mother and wife who thinks that having a successful husband is a guarantee of current and future security. She assumes that he will never leave, or decide to spend his money recklessly or on other people or in ways of which Ruby herself does not approve. It is possible that their shared religion and community as LDS may function as a social glue that holds this couple together and keeps Mr. Ruby’s money in the shared account (and his dick in his pants) so it’s possible that Ruby is a bit smarter than most women who do the same thing but who don’t have anything holding their marriage together besides “attraction” or “love” or shared interests or shared parenting or other such fleeting things. And to be fair, Ruby might be right about Mr. Ruby and Mr. Ruby might be the greatest guy or even the greatest person in the entire world and their plan to be secure for the rest of their life based on his job might be reasonable under certain circumstances.
But how realistic is it really, when the future security they have both worked so hard for is completely dependent on Mr. Ruby’s physical and mental ability to work, especially now where we are experiencing the collapse of our ecosystem and where so many people are becoming seriously chronically ill? What if Mr. Ruby already has a latent condition of which he is not yet aware including the increasing likelihood that any of us has a confounding autoimmune disease that will be resistant to treatment, both incurable and progressive, and where the conventional treatments are known to make autoimmune patients worse and even more disabled than they were before?
*Tenure can be revoked y’all. And not just because of disability either.