(found this lurking in my drafts from about 3 years ago…)
I have lived at and under the Poverty level my entire adult life. I am one of those shady worthless poor people that some politicians have liked to dismiss and denigrate, or I have been. It has been hard, but partly with help from my family I have always been able to JUST make rent and bills. It’s been a path of fear and frustration as I made just barely enough to not quite qualify for things like food assistance, and Gods know there were times it would have been a blessing.
The frustration of looking at the pantry and asking ones self ‘Do I buy groceries or go to the low cost health clinic for this hacking cough and fever?”
The paralyzing fear and frustration of knowing things in your workplace are not being run to the company standard, and wanting to either report it to your company or to look for work elsewhere…BUT…what if you get fired…or what if you get hired and your bills are late because your waiting for the new pay periods to kick in…what if ‘something’ happen?
When my father fell ill, and then a week later died, I thought about trying to get time off and my brother’s help to fly across country to see Dad one last time..but it was the busy season and I did not want to inconvenience the business that I basically depended on for everything. (The fact that I did not want to face Dad’s mortality or my own is also floating in the background there, but is not my focus for today…)
Dad was always there for me to help me through the rough times and help financially and even give me a monthly bit of help to make my rent and bills. I felt a lot of guilt about that, but did not know what else to do.
That’s one of the things about poverty, it leaves you feeling helpless and leads to a scarcity though process that helps keep you poor, or it can.
Dad had some money.
It’s now being split into some trust accounts for my brother and I, and so now I am in the very new place. Relative financial security. I have money. Pay the bills without worrying about what I have to short change to do so, kind of money. Able to buy a house of my own, outright, money.
With this sudden change of finances, I am exhilerated and afraid. I have my brother riding herd on things as he is the Trustee; and I have a few close friends riding herd on me with advice on how NOT to spend all my money and how do I find a CPA and all sorts of other things that I had really thought would NEVER apply to me in this lifetime!
I have, for the first time in my adult life it feel like, CHOICES!
I could go back to school, get a bachelor’s, pursue some dreams, find a career that feeds my pocketbook and more importantly my soul. I may someday be able to actually retire and not have to struggle and work every day until I die.
This is a strange cross-roads for me to be standing in, one I really had lost hope of finding in my life’s journey this lifetime.