Friday, September 19, 2014

Poverty in the Mind

Often times the term "welfare dependency" carries derogatory connotations that the recipient is unwilling to work. As a single mother, I do understand the impact of struggling through poverty.  Struggling through poverty is the exhausting and time-consuming fight to make ends meet with no end in sight. It is the daily stress of having to choose between whether to pay the rent, pay the electric bill, or pay for food. It is the daily worry about whether the car will break down, someone will get ill, or your child will need a new pair of shoes. Then having to decide which necessity will have to be sacrificed to pay for the added expense of the unforeseen bill.  Some of us have truly fallen on hard times and are “deserving” of government assistance.  But are we all “deserving” of that support?  

 Too many single mothers, of age to work with no disability, devote their time and energy looking for loopholes within the system to stay dependent on it.  My theory as to why this seems to be, is most single mothers, thus they are moving forward with changes of time, have not completely transitioned to the new state of mind.  The new state of mind is we are living in a world of equal opportunity! There are no longer policemen, there are police officers.  There are no longer mailmen, but mail carriers.  There are no longer firemen, but firefighters.  In short it means employment is no longer limited to just men; employment is available to EVERYONE.  If you are an able body whether male or female, you have every right to gain employment and EARN an income.  Unfortunately there are more women that possess the drive to “getting a man” to provide for them in additon to the goverment support they collect, than those with the desire to become self-reliant.  As a single mother, I ask, how can we, as women, DEMAND to be treated equally to men if we still cling on to the mentality that we need to be provided for?  How can we expect men to view us in the same respect if we do not make changes to get off the “system”?  Furthermore, how can we go on celebrating the women before us that fought for our rights to equal opportunity, when we are still living in the "old state of mind"? 

I understand in most cases we are left to pick up the pieces of a broken family; or left to do the best we can for our children without a father in the picture. Government assistance is there to aid us put the pieces back together.  It is there to help us move forward towards self-reliance.  It was never meant to be a permanent source of income.  Let us focus less on who are next “perfect guy” is going to be and focus more on cultivating and refining ourselves.  These days, men would prefer a woman that is self-sufficient to a woman that believes she is entitled to a HANDOUT.  We prefer men that are resourceful, and because we wanted equal opportunity, why should they expect any less from us?  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Unforgettable Firsts

There are first times for everything. As a female I have had my share of “firsts;” my first boyfriend, my first kiss, and my first heartbreak.   “Firsts” are all memorable parts of life and growing up, but my first time being homeless with my nine-year-old daughter is a memory filled of intense fear and uncertainty impossible to forget.  The disappointment is almost paralyzing.  You just go through the motions, but at the same time you are beating yourself up for being in this situation.

As a veteran I found I had many resources for homelessness available to me.  But like many places I called my name and information was taken down and put on a waiting list.  If anything it felt like a slap in the face having served this country nine years, been sent to war four times and the best the government can do for me and my child was to be put on a waiting list.  I came across the name Wonderfully Made Foundation through 2-1-1, called it and was in the home the very same day.

I have been here for a month now, living among other women and their children from different corners of the United States.  We all have our own individual stories, we all have our own demons we fight each day, but we have all been transformed by Wonderfully Made Foundation.  My story is Wonderfully Made has reminded me of the values that I work hard to instill in my daughter: humility, openness, the power of prayer, and gratitude.  I was so caught up in surviving from one situation to another that I lost sight of my principles and morals that was taught to me as a child.  I have constantly survived so that my daughter can live.  And although I am a strong and confident that I can survive any circumstance I no longer wish to survive another day.  I want to LIVE.