Friday, October 26, 2007

Overcoming Obstacles

In my bio, I refer to the fact that I have overcome many obstacles in my past. I recognize that I am again relying on those tools I relied on when I was in an incredibly difficult situation as a young woman.

When I was in high school my father used to kick me out of the house quite often. I would then try to find a safe place to stay. I often stayed at a friends house whose parents didn't seem to mind that I was sleeping in their sons bedroom. I'd stay at girlfriends houses, in my boyfriends car, strangers houses, etc. Now when I think of this I realize that the stress and fear I was living with was incredible.

One of my most memorable places was in a tent, squatting on someone's land, staying with my boyfriend and his friends. I remember one evening his friends coming to our campsite, getting high and drunk, and driving their mothers car into the lake! It was the dumbest thing I think I have ever witnessed.

Another time one of his friends sister came over, she and I went swimming, we were over 1/2 way across the lake when she decided she couldn't swim any farther. I ended up dragging her and swimming the remainder of the way because we were closer to the other side of the lake than the side we were staying on. In order to get us back to the campsite, I temporarily stole a boat, got her back to the tent, and had my boyfriend and his buddies return the boat.

As an adult, what sticks with me the most though, is that while everyone was out at the campfire partying, I was in the tent, with a flashlight, studying for my government exam!

I don't know what possessed me to be so determined to continue with high school. With the conditions I was working under most kids would have given up, but, I seemed to have a gift of survival that was beyond anything reasonable.

I graduated, certainly not with honors, but I made it through. Following graduation I was again told I had to leave home, and my parents set a deadline for when I needed to be out. I searched everywhere and couldn't find a place to live, primarily because I was only 17, and unable to sign a contract, and nobody wanted a tenant my age.

My mother and father began searching with me. My father even offered the landlords to cosign the lease for me, but, nobody would rent to me.

On the deadline day my parents drove me to the YWCA in downtown Detroit. All I knew about Detroit was the riots, that there was extreme racial tension, and that it wasn't a safe place to walk around, let alone live.

We walked into the lobby, were the only white people in the building, and I waited on a bench with my suitcase in hand, while my father went to the front desk to check me in. I sat looking around, feeling frightened, despised, and hopeless.

Fortunately, they must not have had room there for me to stay because my father came back and told me to get in the car. Even though I still didn't know what was going to happen to me, I remember feeling relief that I wouldn't be sleeping there that night.

Had my boyfriend been around, he would have helped me, but, he went into the service with the hopes of me joining him when I turned 18. I believe he was stationed in Texas at the time, and I'm surprised now when I think of it that I didn't run away to be with him.

I was actually relieved when my parents dropped me off at the Red Roof Inn. I remember the price of the room at that time was $55 though! They didn't have any single, less expensive rooms available until the following week. I didn't know how many nights I was going to be able to afford to stay at a hotel, but, it was a roof over my head and it was warm.

I didn't have a working automobile, my engine had blown a few weeks prior, so I called a friend and arranged a ride to work.

After I unpacked, I sat down on the bed and cried my heart out. I was in shock that my parents could be so callous, I'm still shocked that they could be, and I was scared for my life.

Being put into these types of situations repeatedly as I was, I was becoming incredibly self sufficient - although there were many, many, problems I have had to overcome to pay for this type of self sufficiency.

An unhealthy, seat of pants, self sufficiency is not what I want or need anymore. I obviously wasn't shown what it was to be responsible and respectful towards myself and I've recreated many dramatic situations in my adult life to reenact the treatment I received as a young adult. Not because I wanted to reenact it, but, because its all I knew to do at the time.

One of those situations I've created that isn't my healthiest, is to purchase a second home. I currently own two homes while I should only be affording one. This is not the first time I've done this. For some odd reason one home is not enough for me. Even though each time I've owned a second home, I have rarely been able to use it. Its as if I'm saying, "I will never be homeless again," yet, if my financial picture does not get into some reasonable order, it is very possible that I could find myself homeless one day.

I continue to recreate stressful financial situations that put me back into the position of feeling/being powerless. For example, I've over purchased on my home. I chose to purchase a home that was over twice the mortgage payment of my first home. I stretch myself to the breaking point financially - then work to prove that I can overcome the problem.

Its time I recognized that I'm not that young woman anymore. I didn't deserve to be treated so inhumanly by my parents, I don't know all the reasons they chose to act like that. I didn't deserve to have to live on the street at such a young age. I didn't have control over their actions at that time, but, I have control over my actions now.

I need to realize that its okay for me to be financially safe. I don't know it feels like not to be afraid, thus, I create situations of fear. Why? Because that's what I know. I've been sticking with what is comfortable to me - not comfortable in that it feels good, but comfortable in that I know what I need to do to create these feelings of fear and chaos.

Sometimes, I refer to Maslows hierachy of needs to see where I'm at in my life. Maslow himself said that poverty results from one of these needs being denied or neglected. As I look today, I find that I am still on step one and that I'm struggling on getting to the safety step. Each time I've achieved safety in the past, I've quickly created a new situation that has insured that I dropped back down to the first step.

I'm ready to do whatever it takes to accept safety into my life - even if I'm uncomfortable with it. I know I need it and I finally know I deserve it.

1 comment:

Faith said...

I just found your blog--I'm working on getting out of debt--and I can't tell you how moved I was by this post. No one should be treated the way you were by your parents. I'm so sorry that you had to grow up with that.

The things that we learn when we are young definitely affect us when we grow up. It takes a conscious and determined effort to overcome those things. Your need for having two houses illustrates that perfectly--logically you know you don't need two, but that part of yourself deep inside is so reluctant to let go. You can do it, I know you can.