Category Archives: Poverty

Break…More Like Breakdown

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Awe to be back at the keyboard feels sooo good!! My break was very seriously more like a breakdown!! This summer has been one of the hardest I have ever experienced aside from the one after the murder of my dear friend Kay. I gave my heart and soul to the company I was working for I put in more hours at work in the last 4 months than I have in the last year. This summer Peanut girl spent her days with our family while I was away from home 12-13 hours a day. The emotional and mental toll it took on my was immeasurable. I had guilt for being away from Peanut that much as I had never been away from her that much in her entire life.

It all struck me very hard one day as we were driving down the road about 6 weeks ago, she said…we never go to the park anymore or do anything fun. I was like a shot to the heart and tears streamed down my face. Was my sacrifice all in the effort to “move up” really worth it?? The truth is I just kept getting more and more behind. For the first bit at the job I felt blessed I felt like every thing was inline and with that thought came peace. And then all the sudden nothing was what it seemed. I quickly lost my house, moved home to my parents house for what I thought would be a very short stent and then my world started crumbling around me. The job that I felt would pull me out of poverty was breaking me and ripping away my emotional and mental health.

The stress began to increase and though I loved the children and did greatly enjoy that part of my job but, the drama and gossip came to the forefront and started disintegrating my peace of mind at work. Granted I have to admit as much as I tried to stay away from the trap of it I found myself knee-deep. Then shoulder deep and in the end so deep that I was drowned by it and the people who I put my trust and friendship in. I admitted my wrong and for my part made a decision to no longer participate in the small bit that I was involved in but it was already too late. I do have to say this, never did I let the co-worker drama interrupt my dedication to the children yet somehow that didn’t matter. All the time sacrificed, hard work and love that I poured into my job became a liability for me.  And 2 weeks ago I received a text from my boss saying that she didn’t need me the next morning and that we NEEDED TO TALK. Wow, those 3 little words where like a blow and weighed so heavily on me. I had no idea why or what could have prompted such an ominous message as well as being confused as to why the message was not relayed in person. I was told that we would speak the next morning. I waited all day and all night with no call, text or email. That day my anxiety came on full force I paced I tried to distract myself I made several attempts to call her to then be told by a coworker that she was ignoring me on purpose. Not until nearly 10 o’clock that night did I even get a word or hint as to what was going on. She finally emailed me and as I was reading her words I was applaud. To tie it into a neat little bow I will say this, the situation was handled in the most unprofessional manner I have ever encountered. I have yet to even be informed of the details as to why I was released from my position. The things I do know are flat-out false. And I will always and forever stand on the fact that in my position I never did anything that would constitute the treatment I received, and I rely on the  fact that I have peace knowing that with God as my judge if there was a wrong on my part He will bring it to light. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the organization calls themselves a faith-based organization and how they dealt with me and the issues pertaining to this situation the use of integrity, grace or understanding were plainly absent. That should not be how a faith-based organization conducts themselves. My prayer is that their errors bring them an opportunity to learn how to do things better.

Before and while dealing with all of this my ex-landlord literally single-handily took my housing voucher and figuratively tore it to shreds which made it impossible for me to use it because of his unwillingness to be fair and to have open communication about the remainder of what was owed from the repairs conducted after my move out. The details are arbitrary and unnecessary, but as a result of this I am right back where I was back in the depths of poverty, no home to call my own with my mental health all but intact.

The lesson of all this is still lost on me. I am grateful that I have a place to lay my head and that Peanut and I are safe but I feel as though at any minute I will just spontaneously combust and cease to exist. The glimmers of hope have grown weaker and all that I thought I was gaining was lost in such a short time it is shocking to me. Adding to the situation…3 Sunday’s ago as I was walking into church being that I was late the room was full and as I looked for a place to sit I was struck with my first public panic attack and it was frighteningly different from any I have ever experienced before. I promptly ran out of the sanctuary, I couldn’t breathe and I was shaking and then was immediately entrenched in shame, companioned with deep sorrow and panic. I found myself unable to move out from behind  the pillar I used to hide and support myself, as I felt I couldn’t trust my own legs. All I wanted to do was escape to the bathroom once I could move from my hiding spot behind the pillar, I took the 10 long steps to door. Once inside I saw myself in the mirror with makeup and  lipstick on and found myself screamed in my head…who do you think you are? Who are you kidding, as I roughly wiped the color from my lips. All the sudden I was no longer alone and had to retreat once again. I went outside tears washing off every bit of the makeup, I couldn’t gain control. I sat down outside as my walking was unsteady I made sure my back was to the church and just shook with sobbing hurt. I don’t know why but heavy deep seeded shame overwhelmed me and I could not shake the depth of the darkness that enveloped me. I don’t know how long I sat but it seemed like hours. I knew if I wanted to avoid the crowd I had to go get Peanut then and there. I collected myself best I could and went inside. I couldn’t speak and by the looks of me the children’s ministry workers knew what I needed with simple gestures. Once I collected Peanut I got outside as quickly as I could but I didn’t trust myself to leave with my own child. I sat and waited and tried to think rationally enough to make a decision that would be best for her. A friend then approached my car and I got out just enough to say that I wanted him to take Peanut to my parents who were inside the church.

She went in and was safely with my parents but I was still immobilized by my panic. The overwhelming shame was haunting me and I have yet to make any sense of it. While sitting in my car my mom rushed out to see what was going on with me she prayed for me and then went in to find one of the church pray warriors to also pray with me. I felt their sincerity and the depth of love as the tears of the prayer warrior Lanie wet my hand as she held it throughout the prayer. Still in the throes of it all I felt detached almost as if I didn’t deserve the love they were trying to pour into me.

I have talked recently about my seeming disconnect from my faith and God. But it has never been more prevalent or poignant than now. I am being frank in my prayers and trying to open the doors to understanding but I feel cold and like a barricade is standing in my way. I will say that I am trying to see past it and I have seen His hand on our lives. I made a promise to Mom and Lanie to try Celebrate Recovery (CR) as a means to figure this all out. I have been two times now, and though I feel like a foreigner in a strange land I do want to give it a chance. I want to see if I can start the process of unraveling the causation factors that have led to this last year being one of extreme lows and the instability that I feel has been a constant theme. I want to trust myself again and to come to a place of peace and mental wellness, so that I can once again stand on solid ground with some semblance of my sanity intact. Where to go from here is a mystery, one saving grace is the 5-year-old who calls me Mom…awe my little Peanut girl. She started kindergarten a few weeks ago and I have to get up every morning get her up ready for school and get her there on time. I have taken comfort in that routine. Her joy of learning brings a smile to my face and the stories she regaled to me daily about her teacher and school friends keep things interesting for sure. 🙂

One major thing that I find myself taking comfort in is that trouble and strife that have been an ever-present  thread in my life but, they have never been the end of me. I have never died from my panic attacks or the depression that has consumed my peace of mind. I think it’s a great thing that I can talk to God in a way that is real and honest and that the rawness of it isn’t judged. Other people seem to be overwhelmed by my intensity and pull away. But, my harsh feelings, angry words and cries in the depth of darkness are welcomed communication. He wants fellowship with me and it doesn’t have to be pretty words in a melodic tones. They just have to be words. I am asking Him to keep working on my hard heart, I am asking Him to show me what I can’t see and most of all I am asking Him to never let me go.

Jenness

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Pride, Passion, Pain

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When I finally got off my bum and started working I was elated at the thought of being able to get ahead. To finally feel like I had some freedom to not worry about how the bills were going to get paid. That is not how things have turned out. Shortly after beginning my job I was informed that I had 6 weeks until my landlord was terminating my month to month lease about the same time I was realizing that I couldn’t afford to keep my daughter in the Childcare any longer. I began grasping at straws to try and figure out a game plan. I contacted my sisters and asked if they could help luckily they were willing and it has been a blessing to me knowing she was safe and loved. I have greatly appreciated their help!!
To say that this summer has been long would be a serious understatement!! I have spent 10-12 hours away from home and Peanut almost everyday, (minus weekends of course) I have lost my home and have personally been struggling with feelings of unworthiness, stress and shame for past decisions that are preventing me from putting a roof over my little loves head. On paper it appears that I make enough to survive and pay all my bills but the truth is my bank account has been running dry more often than not. The sting and shame of poverty weigh heavily on my heart and mind. My pride is bruised and the pain of my current situation streams down my face. I am overwhelmed and though I know that an end will come into sight I still feel at a loss as to how to get ahead.
I am a passionate and stubborn person and though I can admit wrong when I’m on the defensive (as I have been a great deal as of late) all my common sense goes out the window and I shut down. The battle against depression and anxiety is raging and I can feel myself fighting against it but slowly sliding towards it at the same time…Vincent has been a voice of reason and helped me to see things more clearly and helped me to continue to manage the right now. I appreciate the growing role that Vincent has in my life he is responsible, generous, helpful and has a far more logical approach to life than I and it is helping me keep things in perspective. I also have been trying to lead with prayer and have an ongoing conversation with God going in my head. But, my spiritual life seems disconnected while I’m rejoicing that my sweet Peanut has asked The Lord to live in her heart and wants to be baptized I feel disconnected in my relationship with God. I don’t doubt my faith or salvation but the personal relationship with Him I once enjoyed seems to be missing as of late and my soul feels exhausted. I can see in the ways He is taking care of Peanut and I that is hand is still there but I can’t FEEL it!
One thing I know is I have always come out the other side of things and though I am spinning like a top toward a cliff I know I will land safely maybe not in one piece and I will for sure not escape without bruises and breaks. But, over time they will heal and fade. I think scars are like a road map to where you are going, and though the road may not be easy or pretty, it can lead to somewhere beautiful if you navigate through the rocky patches with grace, humility and determination.

Jenness

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Rising From The Ashes Of Poverty…

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Rising From The Ashes Of Poverty…

Thought are swirling and my excitement for my new job has me sitting with a smile in my face and joy in my heart. If everything pans out this will help my daughter and I rise from the ashes of poverty like the Phoenix.

I have had Medicaid for Peanut since she was born and I have been on food stamps from her birth until now. At the end of April I will no longer be receiving food stamps, I have been receiving the maximum amount since the closure of the child care center I worked at in August of last year. Food stamps have allowed me to feed my child healthy and high quality organic food and all natural food for 5 years now. And to tell the truth I am scared. I am scared that I will no longer be able to provide the organic and all natural product that we have been enjoying. I am nervous that I will not be able to afford all the things in my life that are a priority to me.

But, I am excited at the same time. I am trying hard to see this as an opportunity to rise out of my situation and to embrace the responsibility that comes with the extra income I have literally never made this much and had the opportunity as a parent to be comfortable financially where I don’t have to worry how I will pay the rent or put gas in the car. I have always had this idea that the money that I receive in child support should be saved and set aside as a rainy day/college, first car, start-up money for adult life fund for Peanut and I now with much more favorable circumstances I could actually do it. We shall see how it all works once I have a full month of paychecks under my belt and the bills are paid.

I have many times kept the thought in my mind that our situation was temporary and only for a time in my life that we needed assistance from the state. I have had this idea that I was working toward something of worth that would provide Peanut the best chance at success to begin her life through her education, artistic pursuits, musical ambitions or any other thing that her little heart wants to give a try not to the point of spoiling. My intention is to help her find her passions and to encourage her in them and I felt like these things were not options when we were living on less than $400 a month. Praise God for answers to prayer and for His provision for Peanut and I!! I feel blessed and happy to be in this position. Peace has found me and I pray that it continues and that I thrive in my position and keep moving in the direction of stability and in turn bringing more peace to my life. Like the Phoenix I am excited that we are rising from the ashes of poverty and move toward this new adventure.

Jenness

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“Our passion are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe