To Whom It Doesn’t Fucking Concern:
In recent months my character has come under attack. I did not respond for two reasons: mind your business and you should know who I am. However, the criticism and judgement that has been heaped on my and mine is out of control. I will not name names and I will not “go low.”
But I think a little transparency will clarify why I have made decisions in my life that have brought me here today to my present situation.
Who the fuck do you think you are? Have you walked a mile in my shoes? No, but I will still respond to the critics because I am done being depicted as the monster in this story.
Growing up I had tremendous responsibilities at a very young age. Responsibilities that directly affected the lives of young children. This not only took away my innocence it also forced me to develop coping skills for very difficult situations every day. I learned how to put out fires with whatever means I had. This taught me that I could be in scary situations and survive by myself. I learned early not to ask for or rely on anyone but myself, and so that it is the prescription that has governed my life and affected my decision making until today.
In 1998 I found myself in my first long-term relationship. I was pregnant, working full-time and excited about creating a family. Very quickly that excitement turned into fear. He was abusive. I choose to stay on and off for six years to give our daughter a family. In that time, I would spend a night or two at my mother’s when things got really bad. She was not thrilled each time I showed up, but I only did when I felt my child was not safe. Could I have made a different choice?
In 2005 I had one semester and one summer course to go to complete my teaching certification. Things had deteriorated so badly that my mother let me live with her while I completed my degree and obtain my first teaching position. Could I have made a different choice?
In 2006 after my first half-time teaching position not renewed, I found myself evicted and repossessed. With no job, no house and no car, I was in the scariest place I had ever been. My sister and brother-in-law stepped in with a vehicle to borrow and my other sister allowed my daughter and I to stay with her family. The irony was that I had the money to get a car and buy a trailer weeks after. It had not been a money issue as so much as a timing issue. But, we had security for seven years after this. Could I have made different choices?
In 2011 I had not completed my required Master’s degree and my school district was restructuring so I was out of a job. I sold my trailer and was substitute teaching. When my sister in SC asked me to move to help her, I did. We had discussed this possibility months prior and I had obtained my SC teacher certification and was excited to obtain a teaching position down there. I was there for nine months and did teach in an alternative school for one semester, not making enough and looking for a position the following year. I did obtain one and had an apartment lined up, so I came home to teach my summer school position here. We stayed with my mother in here one-bedroom apartment that summer. It turned into almost a year, when she saw that working in that difficult situation and going back to a very unknown situation with no support system had me emotionally, spiritually, and financially depleted. So I stayed and found employment selling cars. Could I have made a different choice?
In 2014 I found myself again in a position of a failed relationship and defunct career. I had to rebuild again. I took the NYS Accident, Health and Life Insurance test. I tried with three companies to make a go of it. I was moderately successful, but the hours were to long for the money that I was making affecting my living situation and my relationship with my daughter. Through these next four years her and I’s relationship would be one of the most difficult periods of my life, going back to life threatening situations. She and I made it through, but all of that time and attention and emotional pain took a very serious toll on my ability to provide for us. I was once again evicted and jobless. Could I have made different choices?
We are in 2018 and I have bought another trailer and have been trying to make it as an entrepreneur working from home. I do work with a company and I do work for myself; it is twofold so that I would have different streams of money. My goal has been to give my daughter a sense of security and find some peace for myself. I have learned a lot from my trials and tribulations. The biggest being that in all of my situations if I had reached out earlier, I would have avoided most of them. One of my biggest life lessons has been learning how to ask for help and to whom to ask. In my early life, I had no recourse…no one to ask that would help. So, I learned not to ask. Finding my voice has been a long and difficult process.
Could I have made different choices? Of course. Hindsight is 20/20. I made the best choices I could at the time that I was making them. I have been so grateful for my family for supporting me in my need: going back to school, moving to SC, and supporting my daughter. Have a made the best financial choices? I don’t have a favorable credit score and I don’t currently have a car, so there are still challenges. However, I don’t have any credit card debt, I own my own home, and I make my own money. Have I needed financial help on occasion throughout? Yes. Have I made money throughout all of my life? Yes. Have I worked hard to get to today? Yes.
Have I lived up to everyone’s expectations? NO.
And there is where the criticism and judgement are coming from. I have not stolen. I have given when I could and helped each and every member of my family with my skills, my love, my money and always being what they needed from me. Until now. Now I have to use my voice as I see fit, and if you don’t agree with me or how I live my life, then STEP OFF.
There is so much more to my story and as there always is…all I can do is try to come from a space of love in each interaction and surround myself with supportive and loving people. We only have so much time and energy and I am no longer wasting mine. I am living with intention and I hope that I can be a benefit to those around me.