The Pledge

 

thepledge2

I watch the struggle and am fearful, for
the human psyche and ego are fragile,
the soul so easily tricked and betrayed that
the most recent blow can feel so much
like the last to be taken.

Powerless to do more than listen, I stress
this will be not be the last you face.
As we move through our world many, many
more are to come and continuing to go through
is the only path.

I cannot help you more, this is when I
have to have faith that strength
will be found, and peace will come.
I can only throw out my own strength
and my own faith for you to borrow.

And so I give these to you, along with my ears
and my mind to help try and reason through
these many things that break and rip,
these things that bite and poison so that
there is no sense to make of them, not in this world.

Dear Fellow Poor Families: We Don’t Have To Let Them Win

 

strongHello. You there: with the benefit card that looks very much like mine. This letter is for you. This letter is for us.

The way we care for our loved ones has been a hot topic lately.

The proposed changes to our country’s budget have the potential to impact many areas of our families’ lives, and it’s looking like it won’t be in a good way. In the wake of these discussions, we’ve heard a very large part of our country say many, many negative things about us as they show their support for these changes. We’ve also heard many important people talk about who we are and tell us what we need to do.

We need to be better parents, raise our children better and teach them to be successful at life. We need to stop being so lazy. We need to stop our drug use. We need to get educated. We need to get jobs. We need to feed our children healthier. We need to stop abusing the system. After all, poverty is only a “state of mind.”

Trump would like to see 6 million of us get full time jobs. Full time jobs we already have, mind you. And a large number of our fellow countrymen and women believe he’s right on the mark, and they view us lacking.

I understand that our president thinks this makes him look good. It makes it seem like he’s going to wave his magic fairy wand and create these jobs for us to fill. It sounds like he’s going to pull wider access to education out of the butts of the American people, and somehow make us more qualified for the “millions” of jobs that are already available. It sounds like affordable childcare, to care for our children while we take on these jobs, is just going to suddenly be there when we need it.

Yet it is we unemployed, underemployed, uneducated, and lazy drains on society- an argument made by Joe Republic that is seen frequently in these discussions- who are already smart enough to know the chances of this happening are slim. How is it even supposed to happen when the other talk is in harming our health, a fate we are routinely saved from by far too narrow a margin. Limiting our access to healthy food, transportation, doctors, mental health/addiction services and birth control is somehow going to help us become better people? It’s going to help us raise better and more productive children? It’s going to help us break our cycle of poverty?

It’s touted as the change that needs to happen to better the lives of all our United States citizens. It’s touted as change that is long overdue. It’s been said that we’ve brought this on ourselves, that our inability or unwillingness to work hard is now reaping what we’ve sowed.

I say that it’s important to not let those attitudes define our families.

These things are not who we are.

We are the farmers who grow nutritious food for our nation. We are the sales clerks who help provide those goods for our neighbors. We are the customer service representatives who give help, guidance, and solutions- with a smile- for our customers. We are the hospital staff who provide care, hope, and clean environments for our patients. We are the caretakers to the elderly. And we are the parents and childcare providers for the future of this country.

We are the armed services men and women who PROTECT this great country. And we are the elders, veterans, and immigrants who have already contributed all those things.

These things are who we really are. These are the things that are important to not forget.

So as you go about your day today, tomorrow, and all of your days in the future, keep these things in mind when you hear how awful you are. Don’t lose sight of who you are and what you contribute. Don’t let them win your self-esteem and your pride.

Yes, right now others who don’t know are deciding our lives and the lives of our families. Right now, people who hold all the power are making all the choices. It’s important to not forget the power WE hold over our lives. The power to continue working to make our best lives. The power to be our best selves and our best workers. To be champions for our children.

We can lean on each other for support. We can lean on our supporters, and not forget that they are there. Just because the people who are in power have louder voices, doesn’t mean that our voices make no sound.

This is a call to arms, so to speak.

A call to open our arms to others, and lend our support. To wrap those arms around one another and lift each other up. A reminder to raise our voices in support of each other, to take every opportunity available to remind us of our worth and to teach our children of theirs.

This is a call to educate the “winners,” and morph the stereotype of families on welfare.

We don’t have to let them win our open hearts and hardworking minds. We don’t have to let them win US.

We are the only ones with that power. We are the families of America, too.

It’s important to remember that we don’t have to let them win.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”—Maya Angelou

 

Diligence

golfcoursegreen     Part 2: Domestic violence, leaves you alone; with less resources, under a microscope of scrutiny, becoming an at-risk family with at-risk kids; as viewed by society. Feels like,

look sharp!

every move, every thought, every prayer
take care, you’re being watched
it’s in the night, it’s in the air
just one slip!

and

the green you are raising
will no longer be there
ripped out of the ground

and tossed into the wind
another’s who doesn’t know
responsibility to tend

devastation, so sad
you weren’t quick enough
some small thing was missed!

and

your green turns to rough

 

Part 3 on how it feels to get over it, to be finally free and true to yourself, next week!

 

 

“Really? That’s really what you would do?”–When your kid goes rouge.

Going rogue:  exhibiting maverick-like behavior, or bucking the status quo—  Merriam-Webster

My 16 year old daughter is one smart cookie.  Maybe not your honor-roll, chemistry and math-loving type smart, but she is certainly up there in functional brain activity.

School is not for her, and she’s spent the past two years of her life proving that fact to me, social services, a therapy office, and the school district itself.

And has finally achieved her dream scenario—a two hour school day, beginning at 3:30pm and ending at 5:20.  So she can sleep in.  Perfection.

It has come at a cost.  We have a family therapist.  We have four individual counseling providers.  One mental health nurse practitioner and one social worker, from a program called “Persons In Need of Supervision”, or PINS.

That’s a lot of appointments every week or every other week.  Good thing that I don’t work.

Oh, wait.  I do.

So I juggle and squeeze and sleep about 5.5 hours a day, and work the night shift so everyone can get to these appointments.  Because her rogue behavior has affected her younger sisters and myself so much that we needed therapy, too.

Of course, all that attention from service providers is no picnic for her, either, although preferable to the normal 8:30-3:00 daily grind that most children suck up every day.  With less than 20 days of school left, I’m just grateful they let her into this program to end the year.  Now I don’t have to go to court.

Next year, when she is no longer “of compulsory” age, (meaning required by law to attend some sort of schooling) she will sign up for her GED, attend those afternoon classes, and graduate a year early— ready to start her adult life.

Which is all that she ever wanted.

My adult friends and co-workers have all watched my struggle with this, jaws dropping at her brilliance and tenacity to achieve what works for her.  They have listened to my constant worry about foster care, child protective services, and family court dates.  All because she didn’t want school, and was unable to function due to anxiety and depression, when we forced her to attend.  Thus, all the therapy to determine how we all can best meet her special needs, and it’s all still a work in progress.

In the meantime, the rest of the mommies out there are chiming in.  Mommies with 8, 9, 10 year olds, whose main struggles are juggling soccer and homework, dance and dentist appointments.

“I would beat my kid into next week if she ever did that to me.”

“My kid would be locked up in her room until college.”

“I’d slap the shit out of (my perfect angel) if she put me through all of this.”

I’ve simply started responding with “Would you?  Would you really?”  Because I don’t really think they would.  And if they did, they’d be looking at far worse than some therapy appointments and constant email updates to service providers.

Now I’m getting a lot more of “No, probably not.  I don’t know what I would do.”  And that’s a far more honest response.  When your child goes rogue, and you are the one paying the price, what do you do?

The end of this school year marks the end of two years of fear for me.  I’m starting to feel the relief and the lessening of the pressure, although my prayers have gone up a notch.  I pray that she is the only one out of my six children who picks this path.  My third oldest is graduating this year, and two other did before her.

I have two younger girls left to go, besides my rogue child.  I hope they are learning a few things, and stay the more traditional path.  But if they don’t, I will remember what I’ve learned these last two years.

Keep the lines of communication WIDE open, with your child and with any other service professional that you can find.  Don’t let them scare you that this is your fault, that there is something wrong at home.  I’ve been under a microscope, and I’ve proven myself.

Don’t let the other mommies make you feel bad.  Don’t let them make you believe they could have done better, or would be doing better.  Bucking the status quo is just that— trudging an individual path— and there ARE no rules.

My daughter will be fine.  She is smart and she knows what she wants.  She has also proven that she will do what it takes for her to be happy.

Life skills— going rogue.

And if looked at with the right perspective?  Something to be proud of her for.

 

Hideaway

hidingwoman2

Part 1. What domestic violence feels like when you are IN in. Part 2 about how society views you after discovery of DV, and Part 3 about recovery are forthcoming.

It starts as a spark,
as something someone said.
Or like a lightning bolt—
through your heart,
of something someone did.

A true revelation, a sad recognition,
it sets off that something in you.
You want to attack, to react,
anything,
just to follow through.

But the path to the right is unclear,
your feet slip and they slide in the dew.
For some cosmic, mystic trait…
that others have,
is sadly lacking in you.

So as the lightning flashes,
and surrounds everything that you know,
you sit impassive
and just let it happen,
and cannot escape the blow.

Listening to the thunder that follows,
and knowing all it destroys,
what do you do,
but hide your head,
and hope that no one knows.