This post was fairly challenging for me to put together, because it admits the truth about my situation. It's still very hard for me to know that 18 months ago I was living a happily middle class life. The bills were paid, money was in savings, I lived in a nice neighborhood, drove a nice car, and went on vacations. I was not rich, but I was comfortable in my life as a suburban stay at home mom.
Had you of told me that such a short time later I would be where I am now, I would not have believed you. Don't misunderstand, I've been poor before, but as a hustler and a go-getter, I've always been okay. There were always ways for me to figure out a way to bring in extra cash or get what I needed.
I could have NEVER imagined that I would be unable to work in pretty much any fashion, that I would be unable to go back to school, or that I would be painfully (as in, physically in pain) standing in line at a food pantry because I was literally out of food.
Here I am, though, so I guess it's time to share the truth about living this way.
Due to my worsening health issues, I am in pain every single day. You can't see the pain that I'm in, and with exception of seeing me with my walker or in a motorized scooter at the store, I have what is called an "invisible disability". You can't see my pain. You can't see my bones and joints and muscles and the many things causing me pain.
Add to the fact that I am young, at only 29 years old, many people don't understand my poverty. I think there's this assumption by some that I am just trying to get a hand out or that I'm exaggerating my problems.
I can absolutely promise you that if I could go work at McDonald's right now, I would.
I currently have no income, which puts me into the extreme poverty category.
I am hoping to apply for disability, but because my divorce is not finalized, I'm not even able to do that yet because they will count my ex's income and he will be able to get my benefits upon my death even if we divorced a month later. (Isn't that the most absurd thing you've ever heard?)
I have just gotten accepted into the SNAP program (also known as food stamps) which will give me $190 on my EBT card for purchasing food. I was also just accepted into the general relief program, which will issue me a $90 check for the next 3 months with the hope that I will be accepted for disability at the end of those 3 months.
I am so beyond grateful for these two programs, but they unfortunately do not scratch the surface of my existing needs. Here are my current necessary monthly expenses:
Car Payment- $270
Car Insurance- $250
Cell Phone- $60
This doesn't include credit card payments (which are currently in default), student loan payments (which are thankfully on a no income repayment right now), gas, food, toiletries, household supplies, dog food, vetting for Jaxson, lab work fees (which I currently owe about $1,500 for), or anything else.
I was beyond blessed that Boyfriend paid my rent and utilities this month, and is paying a majority of them for me next month. My roommate also just got a job and is going to be helping to contribute starting next month as well. Were it not for him, I would be disabled AND homeless right now.
I don't say any of this for anyone to feel sorry for me, I'm sharing this openly because I want people to understand the truth about poverty. It's fucking hard. This is NOT the life I want for myself. This is NOT the life I imagined for myself. And if I could fix my health problems and go back to working and being a contributing member of society again instead of begging any service agency who will listen for help, you can guarantee I would do that.
Another reason I shared all of this is because I want to be able to openly and freely share about the things I've learned and am doing to try and live a little bit better despite my circumstances.
It was extremely hard for me to be told that I'm living in poverty. Like I said, I've been poor plenty of times, but never so bad that I felt like I was literally on the edge of losing everything. This is where I am though, whether I want it or not. (And for the record, I don't know ANYONE who would WANT this.)
So, I hope this can shed light on what it's really like living this way, and lift some of the stigma that if you are poor you must be lazy too. I am HARDLY "entitled" and am grateful for every single thing that comes my way. This is not life forever, this is life for now.
As always, leave me some comment love.