And I want everyone to know it.
Because I know my truths will set me free.
I write about it on social media because this might resonate with some of you and validate your life experiences.
Since I was born, I was in the poverty line. It did not help that my parents were 20-something undiagnosed mental drug addicts who dropped out in high school [both in 10th]. So we lived in section 8 housing and could barely afford to survive in it.
My mom remarried not too long after the divorce, marrying "up" as she put it which meant sort of middle class? Because he had enough with his parents help to buy us a house to live in. But we lived with very little and have to behave like we were poor. That is because my mother did not function well since she was always on something and spiraling.
I left my house at 16, after becoming pregnant with a h.s. boyfriend. No one wanted to be in the picture, as a baby could ruin their lives. I retreated to a relatives house to live with them senior year of h.s. in a new place and for the first time learned what it meant to be cared for, both in shelter/needs and emotionally.
I moved 3 years later when I finished community college, to move to a University campus. There I was able to get a job and go to classes full time. I qualified for some scholarships and student loans. I spent 4 years total which ended up being $75,000 ish not including those scholarships and such.
A debt I still owe but need to defer every year.
I met my husband senior year of college and began a relationship that turned into my now little family of 5.
Together we ran a business for 4 years that needed tons of upfront investment and left us BROKE. Even after leaping in 100% together, spending my pregnancies working + no maternity breaks. Even after no holidays off besides Thanksgiving and Christmas day [though we still replied to emails]. In the end, for all sorts of reasons, we failed. It failed.
This year, we each got into new ventures. We have been living with his family all this time, pleading with the universe for a miracle in our success. Begging for a life purpose + our goals to be achieved.
We have adopted all the successful habits, the ones we learned off YouTube. We have become obsessed with our new passions, at the expense of not spending a lot of time together. We talk daily still about our dreams and goals. And we keep ourselves accountable.
But still we struggle with debts. No time or money to date. To shop. We can barely cover food but are thankful for that. In the moment, meaning real time, we have NO money to move. But we want to and need to desperately. To have our own space as a family, with our 3 kids. To not have to rely on or live with someone else.
Because that is HEALTHY. NORMAL. TRADITION.
To meet, fall in love, move in /get engaged, get a pet, get married, get a home, get pregnant, get amazing careers ---> somewhere in that mix to discover what we love to do.
I have never made it to the tradition line.
My life was chaos from the moment I entered it and I am just lucky to even be alive now. I am lucky my kids were ever born and that I met the great husband I have now.
But if we did not have the family we stay with, we would have nothing right now but a few outfits and ...well that is it. No wifi or service so our computers would mean nothing. Our phones would be gone. We would have to apply for social services programs and hope something helps while we find the most available jobs. Most likely just him, so I can be with our kids.
You get the picture right?
We have money trauma, poverty trauma, are both first generation to attend a college or start a business from scratch.
And it is hard each day we know we have to live this way even though our dreams are so big.
I do not want to ask my husband to spend any money we do not absolutely need to spend. Any time I can sell old clothes or any belongings, I jar the money.
When we go grocery shopping I have tunnel vision to stick to the very cheap and healthiest basics possible to make sure my kids are fed nutritiously. We do not do snacks or juices or water bottles. We literally cannot afford it.
We tried to give ourselves each a tiny little allowance just to buy something we like once in a while. A coffee. Or an item we have wanted. Our date time is holding hands on the couch at midnight to watch Netflix.
But my kids, they are so happy. In the tiny bedroom they all share, in the small area we have ----> they have no clue what it means to be poor. We do say NO alot. But more in like an "ok, put it on your holiday list" as we both look at each other with a knod.
Right now I'm home with our toddlers while my girl attends public school. We are AGAIN starting up business opportunities after some research, but now in our passions. We know that means our dreams will take a little longer to be achieved. But that is ok...for now.
I tell you this because we do not have the Instagram lifestyle so many people see. We do not attend events or go away. No vacations. No fancy parties. No splurges.
But life still goes on.
We still make do. And teach our kids other values besides owning objects. Like making friends, playing outside, reading free books we get from the library etc.
We find ourselves craving things because we feel like everyone has things.
We rate our worth often based on traditions. Based on what the neighbors have.
My husband doesnt really use social media but I dwell in it.
I window shop here, for a lifestyle I hope to someday have.
I'm caught between a rock and a hard place here.
If I want to have things, it is a bit materialistic, no?
If I WANT a modern country home with a rustic appeal. To decorate it head to toe... to be the entertainment home EVERYONE wants to come to. The game night house. The house all 3 kids have slumber parties in. The dream.
Its frivolous? Ridiculous?
I don't know all the things people say about it.
I just know that when a poor person gets told it is GOOD to live like a minimalist anyways, they are ignorantly missing the trauma that comes with NOT BEING ABLE TO have anything.
Because it is not a simple choice to become successful.
If you are poor, then you know it. The many pieces that move. Daycare. Bill's. Schedules. Hours.
I am so supportive of my friends having businesses.
But I literally cannot buy any mascara, candles, earrings, or sweaters.
I cannot spend that if it means I have to ask my husband to buy less chicken this week.
And I cannot join your team if it's a start up cost of 2 weeks groceries.
Some MLM reps come on facebook and say joining is the miracle a poor or struggling person needs.
And I am not about to question everyones speeches on success.
Maybe for some people, it is the answer.
But from my POV ----> it is triggering as all fuck to be messaged and provoked about joining teams or making money.
To be told it's the answer, when it might not be... its manipulative for me. I am not saying they are trying to be. I am letting you all know that my trauma and my triggers make me feel that way.
We are private about the new ventures we are in because of trauma too. Because we have thought somehow bragging or mentioning it will JINX us right back into poverty.
I feel it more than my spouse does.
That black cloud. That doomed to fail feeling.
As I adopt spiritual + manifesting ideas from my Facebook feed ---> I use them with caution. I want to study and predict outcomes.
Again, I am triggered and fear nothing will work.
"You have to believe it or it will not work."
----> k. Thanks.
Brb. I'm going to go let my trauma and anxiety know they need to sit tight and STFU so they do not become the debbie downers at my fullmoon circle.
The point is, being low income ---> being below the bracket ----> being unable to afford NY living [ $2000+ apartments, $300+ insurances, $400+ groceries per month....It is all hard.
We have to fight our own fears daily and keep trying. We cannot afford in any way to give up.
But we have also had to release the idea of tradition. We have had to let go of the idea of success we held so tight onto that it nearly suffocated our relationship.
We have had to adopt survival skills + keep our low levels of optimism appeased by having dream boards and enlightening conversations.
I realized lately, as I have gone deeper into my healing from trauma, that my biggest problem is I think Poverty is an antonym of Success.
I think that having nothing means being unsuccessful.
I also think I currently have nothing.
I have also realized how much I have.
An actual little family that I made with someone I love.
A lot of talent, skills, and ideas.
A partner who has the same dreams and goals.
A society that now makes it possible [with technology and modern tools] to become self employed, which then means self sufficient.
And we do already have freedom. Even though we feel stuck at the moment. What are we stuck in?
I have had stability in a partner and got to raise my babies from home in general. Now full time. Something I never had as a teen mom who's baby went into daycare at 5 months old.
I have the ability to have success in the "money" sector of this complicated talk.
But I already HAVE success in many personal aspects.
I have been so blinded and overwhelmed by what was around me ----> by what I was lacking <----- that I did not realize I have a pretty effen amazing list of great things.
So I leave you with this.
So many people are low class. Struggling. Fronting online. Acting like they have a lot. Showing images that are not even their own. Making websites and insta feeds full of backgrounds of perfection. Using backdrops in their messy home.
And shit ---> do what you gotta do.
I love aesthetic. I LOVE all the pretty lifestyle things I see every day.
BUT I no longer want to count my worth on dream boards.
I want to look in this tiny room, at my babies who are happier than ever.
I want to remember, after a childhood of abuse and teen years from hell ---> all of that led me to this abundance I have now.
And no mantra taught me more than "Love what you have, not what you want".
A lesson I hope to hold onto no matter what comes next in our lives.
J.S. Jaded Savior
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: email@example.com
EMPOWERING MINDS SINCE 2019