Sunday, October 13, 2013
The Fear of Poverty
The almighty dollar. Some people say we live too attached to it and others will say, "Things will work out," being optimistic. The truth is it is easy to forget about the importance of the dollar when you have a dollar. Poverty statistics are something on the news and just income guidelines and we forget about the people behind it. Even volunteering you can't really understand the pain that the lack of 'green' can have on many people.
I have been homeless, I have slept on the streets, I have picked through garbage and begged and done jobs that later in life I am questionable about what it was I was actually doing but in search of the dollar you don't ask many questions.
I have starved and collapsed while flipping burgers trying to support a young family all because of the almighty dollar.
What brings up this topic? Well I was digging through the laundry room trying to put things away after installing the new cabinet and I came across a barely used finger paint set. It was a very nice set and the girls used it a few times but I didn't let them use it a lot because even after we started doing better in life I was scared. I was scared of never having the chance to purchase something so nice again for them so I wanted to make it last as long as possible. I decided I should give it to a friends daughter whose family was recently displaced out of their home because of the lack of a the almighty dollar. It is actually tearing me up a little inside and always does when I let things go because a holdover from poverty is to hoard things. I save bread ties, bags, gift paper and several other things. It sounds frugal and hip but the truth is it is not because I'm a master mind at saving but because the fear is so deeply rooted in me of us once again being poor.
We weren't just 'poor' we were bottom of the barrel poor and I have gone through more than one period of my life in that position.
My husband and I both have good jobs now and we have educations so that does help us but the fear is there.
My husband chides me because I am so tight with the money that I patch the kids clothes. I wear the same few outfits over and over again for at least 5 years (one sweatshirt I've had for 20 years thankfully in the 80's the style was 'baggy').
It means over the years I've learned how to tinker and do many things which folks think is neat but much of it is fear driven. I didn't learn to sew because it was 'hip' I learned because $1 patch kit was better than $12 for jeans.
It has gotten to such an unhealthy point that now letting go of items emotionally tears me to pieces though I still force myself to do it (I've seen enough episodes of Hoarders).
Poverty isn't just numbers and it's not just the lack of money but it is psychologically damaging.
I could write more.. I thought about it and deleted it. It's hard to organize thoughts. I just pray that one day this fear does not plague me as it does because it has held me back in so many ways all these years later. I also pray that those that may have already started to lose hope find it again and can be so blessed as to leave the violent cycle that poverty is.