In this day and age, everyone has a bank account, and usually a few credit cards to go along with that. You rarely see anyone pay for anything with cash, it’s about as common as having a home phone. Usually, when you open an account, they provide you with a check registry, online banking and even text messages to advise you of your balance. With all these options for banking, how could anyone ever over draft?? The answer is simple, you put more money out then you get in.
I was noticing that every month my account was ending in the red. Besides the occasional eating of happy meals, I wasn’t really spending money on anything other than household necessities. I would beat myself up all the time trying to figure out where all my money was going. How could I be so broke and have NOTHING to show for it? It got so bad sometimes, that I would have to “visit” my mother’s house just to make sure Tony got a hot plate of food in his belly. We even had a few nights where we played finger puppets by candle light; Tony thought it was a blast, but he had no idea it was because I couldn’t pay the light bill that month.
I tried for months to push the envelope, I took up a second job, did some freelance work in between shifts and I was even attempting to go to school. All the while, it was just Tony and me, and my family was mostly oblivious to what was going on. I would put smiles on my face and some pep in my step when they were around. I didn’t think it was fair to worry them about something that no one could fix. I spent many nights alone, crying in my bed, wondering how to climb out of this hole. No bright ideas came my way.
One morning when I woke up and was heading out the door to work, I looked at my parking spot to see an empty space. I knew right away what happened and I just stared at the emptiness of that space for a long while. My car was repossessed and I had no way of getting it back. I told myself I couldn’t change it and I had to move on. Luckily I worked close to home, so I took a nice stroll to and from each shift. I was dealing.
As if I wasn’t going through enough, I was unexpectedly laid off from my job. It came as a total shock to me and caused more stress than I could handle at that moment. Between losing the car and losing my job, I was near a nervous breakdown, but “breakdowns” are a luxury and there was no room for luxuries in my life at that point. So I put my game face on and told myself I WILL get through this!
Then…I hit rock bottom. We were evicted. I lost my sons home. I felt worthless as a woman and even less as a mother. I accepted the eviction with dignity, as I had no grounds for fighting it. I packed all my stuff up in boxes, at least the stuff I didn’t sell to get the cash to rent the storage room. I could literately hear my heart breaking as I stuffed all those boxes into the storage room. It might not have been much, didn’t even fill the 7×10 space, but it was everything I owned, it was my life, all packed up and locked away.
I ended up having to temporarily move in with my parents. It was my first time back home since I was 17, which seemed like a life time ago! Needless to say, it was uncomfortable at first. I love my parents, and we get along great, it was just the matter of readjusting my life style. And let’s not forget to mention the lack of privacy! My parents live in a two bedroom apartment, and my younger brother lives with them also, which meant me and Tony got the air mattress in the living room. As much as I missed my bed and all my other belongings, I was happy to have a roof over my son’s head; that’s what mattered most.
I was searching for work like a mad woman. I applied to every available position I could find, I had no standards at that point, I just needed money in my pocket to get back on my feet. With everything that was going on, I had to drop school; I just couldn’t focus and was failing. I went to countless interviews all across Miami and was offered quite a few positions. I was fired from some after only a week, quit others for various reasons. It just seemed as if every time I took 2 steps forward, I ended up taking 5 steps back. I couldn’t get ahead; I was drowning in self pity and blamed everything and everyone around me but myself.
Finally, I found a job that was a decent fit for me. It was close to the area that I wanted to live in and paid decent, not what I was used to, but beggars can’t really be choosers now can they? After a few weeks I put enough money aside to start looking for a place. Everyone told me to wait a little longer, save some more money…but I wouldn’t listen, I never did. I needed my independence back. After seeing about 5 different places, I found the ONE. It was the perfect size, reasonable rent, and available right away! I was so excited! I quickly signed all the papers that I needed to, wrote some checks and headed straight to my parents house to tell them the good news. In their own way they were excited, but I think they were mostly scared for me, scared I would fail again, and who could blame them?
I got all my stuff out of storage and started moving into my new home. It didn’t take long since I didn’t have too much stuff. When all the boxes were unpacked, I took a look around at the empty apartment (I had no furniture at the time), and I smiled, I was home.
Things get hard, and sometimes you feel like there is no way out, but the truth is, when you feel that desperation and hit “rock bottom”, the ONLY place to go is up. YOU just have to believe in yourself and make it happen. It will take dedication, time, tears, anger and a whole bunch of other stuff, but in the end, it’s all worth it. Strength is not calculated by how many pounds you can lift or how many abs muscles you have, but rather by how many worries you carry on your shoulders, how many scraped knees you kiss, how many times you nurse your sick children back to health, and all the while doing so with a smile on your face and love in your heart. We are all stronger then we know, just don’t wait until you’re backed into a corner to figure that out.
Written by Veronica Diaz