I have gone back and forth a bit if I should be posting things on this blog not related to Genesis. I have a private blog that I have had for quite some time that I use as a journal. And then I have this one that is Genesis' special spot in the universe. I had planned to separate the two but they overlap with certain issues. Also you can get a better idea of what I really going through if I include extra things here, but at the same time I didn't want to detract from Genesis.
So after much consideration I have decided to share extra thigs on this blog and then we will see how it goes. The first "extra" thing I wanted to share is my financial situation. First off let me say I am not looking for pity. I just hope for people to understand better what I deal with and how I feel.
After my husband left me, that was the beginning of what I consider to be my financial ruin. Together my husband and I made a very comfortable income. Especially for a couple of 22 year olds. We lived a comfortable lifestyle filled with beautiful vacations, nice jewelry and designer clothes. All these things we enjoyed, not to an extreme but more than a your typical family. Plus we were young and impulsive. We reasoned that we should put it on credit most of the time to build our credit score and then pay it off when the bills came. We had the money to do it. Great plan right? Wrong. I say "we" but it was mostly "I" because my husband had horrible credit so the cards we had were in my name alone. I had a little savings account with a few thousand in there for emergencies. When he left, he stole every penny in that savings account even though the account was in my name alone. Yes, he committed bank fraud. It's a long and complicated story, but even though I wanted to prosecute the bank would not allow me. That money was gone, never to be seen again.
The company I worked for at the time had just been sold to a new owner in November of 2007. I was so short on money since I just lost half of my household income so I picked up extra shifts and did lots of overtime at work, working all the holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years Eve and Day. Something happened with the new owner and he refused to pay any of us for our work. Long story short, the company went bankrupt, they owed me over $3,000.00 in unpaid wages and I have yet to see a dime to this day. All of my extra work was a struggle for me as I was pregnant with my first rainbow and so physically exhausted and in pain all the time. But all my hard work was done in vain.
I ended up having to sell my nice things on craigslist to be able to pay the bills and put food on the table. Food was tough... Though pregnant there were times I would only have one meal a day. Not only because money was tight but also because of the stress. If I'm super stressed I don't eat. I felt guilty about that but my doctor had no concerns about my weight or the baby.
I sold more and more things. I sold all of my exes things as well as he made it clear he didn't want anything. I did odd little jobs here and there to make an extra buck. One job was working for Edible Arrangements for Valentines Day. It was so depressing delivering these gifts of love when my own husband just left me while pregnant. I was sent running around 6 different cities to make these deliveries, used up my own gas, got lost several times and didn't get back till close to 10 pm with Braxton hicks contractions and swollen feet. I did all that for a measly $150.00 and spent $50 of my own money on gas so really it was only for $100.00. Live and learn I suppose.
In addition to that I wasn't able to afford toys for my baby. I actually found most of them in an ally by my house. They were old but still good. I cleaned them up and they were decent enough to use. Thrift stores became my best friend. Not that anything is wrong with shopping at thrift stores, but it was certainly a lifestyle adjustment from what I had been used to.
As I neared the end of my unemployed pregnancy I finally had to apply for government help. I got on a program called CalWorks. It's a cash aid, medi-cal and foodstamp program. I hated that I was on this program but I had no choice. I had payed taxes for years and now it was here to help me.
I'm so thankful for this program as it saved me in so many ways. I also got on the WIC program which was also a godsend. I was determined to get off the program as fast as possible. I am certainly not one of those people that abuse those programs.
All the while my ex left me with tens of thousands of debt. (Yes it was in my name but he helped spend it too) And he had not given me a dime since he left. No help with anything for the baby, no child support, no payment for the debt, no nothing.
Thankfully I had been living at home with my parents when this all happened. They actually were renting a back house to me. But after all this happened they allowed me to stay with free rent. I am eternally grateful for that.
I wasn't able to find a job again until my first rainbow was 7 months old. Things got a little better as I slowly got back on my feet. I was able to get off assistance relatively quickly. And little by little getting back on track.
Though I am much better than were I used to be, it's still a struggle especially in this economy. I hate going from paycheck to paycheck. I hate not knowing at the end of the month when my next meal will be. It always works out but I hate that uncertainty. And the fact that I am currently on unpaid maternity leave is adding to my financial stress.
Well today I was watching "The Pursuit of Happyness". My relative was here watching it as well and mentioned during the movie how it really puts things into perspective. Although life is nowhere near as tough for me right now as it was for the character in that movie, I still related to the struggles and was so thankful for the little I do have. My relative laughed at me and said "what do you mean? You live in a nice house and have nice things..." I had to correct her. Yes, I stay in my parents nice home but it is not mine. If it were not for them I would have had to file for bankruptcy and would be living in a homeless shelter with my kids. She laughed it off like it was a joke or something. This rubbed me the wrong way. Just because I'm not begging at a street corner or have dirt on my face or just cuz I'm not wearing rags or drive a piece of junk car doesn't mean I'm not going through tough times. I had to tell her how I sold all my nice things... She really didn't seem to care. Instead she replied with kinda a smart aleck remark saying "well if you want me to say your poor fine..." that wasn't the point at all. It's just no one knows my struggles and what I've been through and just cuz I'm smiling and still standing and keep going doesn't mean it's cuz everything is peachy. It just takes less energy to smile than to sit in a dark closet all day crying.
I just hate peoples assumptions. And don't get me wrong, I feel very blessed to have gone through all this as it taught me so much and I grew so much from it. I just want my struggles to be acknowledged, or perhaps I want my efforts to be acknowledged.
But I'm still one paycheck away from being in a homeless shelter and losing everything if anything were to happen to my income. And that's what most people don't know.