Truthiness Day 15: I want money

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

This may sound shallow, but I’m going with money.  Let me explain…

It’s not that I want a lot of things or like to shop a ton (I do like a good deal but that is not the same as liking shopping).  I grew up poor, some years at the poverty level.  We got those blocks of government cheese.  We had boxes of powdered milk that we used when we ran out of the regular stuff in between paydays.  My grandmother mixed water with the “cream of” soups…

None of that stuff is that bad, though.  I mean, I didn’t really care at the time although I was much less excited about food back then.  The thing is that because of my family’s circumstances, we were left vulnerable to bad situations.  Examples include:

  • We lived in an area where housing was cheap, so I went to a school that was in disrepair – they constantly had issues with asbestos-filled ceilings caving in…I went to a school in which race riots occurred.  My vice-principal was fired for sexually harassing a student.  A student was murdered by the janitor.
  • I didn’t see a dentist until I was at least 8.  By the time I was 12 I had two crowns because 70% of those two molars were cavities.
  • My mom couldn’t afford daycare, so she relied on my grandmother because her care was a fraction of the cost.  You can read about my grandmother if you go back to Day 8.
  • To make ends meet and pay the mortgage, we had various unsavory people living in our house at various times.  This included my mom’s abusive boyfriend, her drug addict cousin, and some friends who couldn’t afford their own place.  Due to the combination of these people in our house all at the same time, we had at least one occurrence of fist fights in our living room which resulted in holes in the wall and a near smashing of my siblings.

I don’t believe that the lack of money caused any of this, but I know it put my mom in situations where she had to accept circumstances out of necessity that she might not have otherwise in order to keep a roof over our heads.

When Joe and I moved to Humboldt for him to go to school, we had trouble finding work.  When we finally did, it didn’t pay well at all.  Not to mention that Joe worked seasonally.  When we had Jack, we qualified for subsidized childcare.  That was nice, except it was hell trying to find a decent provider (my long time readers will remember all the crap we dealt with in seeking good and reliable childcare back then!).  We also racked up quite a bit of debt (even while eating a diet of macaroni & cheese with canned chicken mixed in).  We took out minimal school loans because even once Joe’s degree was acquired, there was no guarantee that he would get a job (in fact, his advisor told him he would likely NOT get hired any time soon – and he still works seasonally to this day).  Those years in Humboldt were some of the most stressful of my adult life.  Again, the lack of money didn’t cause it but we did get stuck for a while there and it sucked big time.

I could physically live without money but mentally?  I have way too much trauma associated with being poor as shit.

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