A Collective of memoirs by J.S. about Trauma + Mental Health + Abuse + Healing.
#christmas #joy #worthy #selfesteem #selflove #breakingbarriers
So this is what it feels like.
To pour into my own cup.
To slip on a silky dress that hugs my body and makes me feel held together like a warm hug.
This is what it feels like to wipe my face clean of the stress and the tears and the disappointments.
To paint on elegant eyes and vicious red lips.
To comb my hair out and feel my fingers through my scalp all the way out to the tips of my curls.
To look in the mirror and see a woman with star struck eyes and a million hopes stretched across a galaxy like bright burning motivation.
To feel a deep desire and passion for creation and new things.
To meet myself at my present day.
Its therapeutic to put on makeup.
To gaze into my own eyes and focus only on building lashes and shadows around the right angles.
I contour the parts out that I no longer feel anger towards but soft and gentle understanding.
And graze my hands across my skin as I exfoliate and lotion every inch.
I play music in the background of this tiny little closet spaced bathroom and I feel home here.
As I locked the door, I knew this was redemption time.
Time to reclaim the bathroom space.
Time to release tears of gratitude and appreciation for myself.
I usually hide here in these walls, caved around my sorrow as I hold myself through the aftermath of anxiety triggers.
The bathroom had become a place to get away from everyone and everything.
As a child, I had no where to really hide away. Every room had false windows that did not actually lead to help.
As an adult, when parenthood or work or just a bad day got to me, I ran refuge to the avocado green walls and purple shower curtain for some deep breathing.
Today I applied makeup and hair care and skincare as I told myself out loud "I deserve this."
And no, I did not earn it from a promotion or a contest or a very special gift bestowed by someone else.
I gave this time to myself.
And better yet, I did not time myself.
No clock or alarms. No places to be.
Just here to give myself love and joy.
And it feels DAMN good.
This year, Christmas has brought me the ability to see myself beyond my trauma.
To see a woman break free from a cage she kept herself in, as she was struggling too much with all the burdens of the past to see that the door had been wide open all along.
This year has been a year of great reflection and self awareness.
I have learned so much about my own identity and experiences through reliving them under my own control and methods.
By writing out my emotions and stories, I have taken the wheel back from a young girl who was too scared and too tired to let me live.
I now feel so ready to pour into myself.
To feed the woman I've grown up into.
Feed her heart.
Feed her spirit.
Feed her soul.
As I look up and around the walls that cage me, all turns monochromatic and cracks.
And I do not brace myself or hold my breathe as I hear the shatter.
It is the sound of a new beginning.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #thirdeye #spirituality #mentalhealth #trauma #healing #poverty
Reflecting on my trauma has made me realize that I am the entire "package".
I'm a freaking gift set.
Better yet, I'm the gift that keeps on giving.
My DNA is unique in that I have not one but 2 bipolar parents with drug addictions and alcoholism. A mom with Wenicke-Korsakoff syndrome. A dad with Schizophrenia.
Both dropouts from high school [9th and 10th grade].
Both dropouts from rehab.
Both dropouts from parenthood.
I was an only child, who got pregnant at 16 and became a single mother before even graduating senior year. 2008, walking in my white robe and tassel, my baby being held by my Aunt in the sea of proud parents on the football field.
Most of the mental health issues my parents had came to existence in their teens. But other demons came out to play in their late twenties and thirties. Coinciding parenthood to me and their inevitable divorce.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving because I did not give my husband a mother or father in law.
No one to badger or judge or overbear him.
No need to split holidays or do visits.
We don't have to send our kids off on trips or weekends or spoiled afternoons with junk food and total annihilation of moms' and dads' rules.
I don't even cry about their absence. I don't want them to be around my children or in my life. Not when I never really had parents at all.
I have also disassociated with the awareness of these things.
Quite often I am steel faced and stone cold.
An appealing trait for the suffering and needy is silent resilience.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving when I am quiet about my problems.
Because who wants to read about problems on the internet?
Who wants to learn about rape or abuse?
I have always known the answer to that.
-----> Other survivors do.
Those who have also scored the perfect DNA recipe for disaster.
Those who were born into domestic violence, like me.
Those who were born into poverty, like me.
Those who were born into drug addiction and alcoholism, like me.
Those who were born into broken families, like me.
It does not feel like a gift to be different.
To only have known trauma growing up.
To have compared yourself to "normal people" and wished for a fighting chance to get out of the $hit you had come into this world with.
But it is a blessing to know your truths.
To intuitively know "right from wrong".
To sense and feel and have "knowing" prematurely.
To have hypervigilance or what I like to phrase as "seeing the needle in the haystack".
You can sense a prick, always.
It is a big gift to know how to survive.
But it does not mean much if we do not speak it.
If we do not take our knowing and strengths into the light to help others through their own struggles.
So if you are gift set of mental health issues + toxic relationships + saturated struggles, then use it to better the world.
When you talk about it from the point of view of knowing you are a warrior and not a victim, when you gain control of your situation and use your weaknesses as strengths ----> everything changes.
This year, turn your pain into power by knowing exactly how you were made for this world.
Know yourself entirely.
And then expand those gifts out into the world.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #boundaries #holidays #trauma
This holiday season, you might be thinking:
"God. This year I need to set boundaries" as you catch your breathe and grip for another panic attack.
Maybe you just got off the phone with a parent or someone in the family. You have confirmed plans that make you feel uneasy.
That punch the wind out of you.
Maybe you will have to see an Aunt or Uncle who growing up always made you feel pathetic or like a problem.
Maybe there will be too many people drinking and being unfiltered or just one drunk relative who pushes everyones buttons but especially pushes yours.
Maybe you feel unwelcome and like a stranger even though it's a place you have known most of your life.
Or maybe it will all just be hard.
-----> The holiday season.
It brings anxiety and depression in my stocking.
Worried I wont be able to play santa because I dont have enough to give.
Worried I will disappoint people or my own kids.
Worried when I leave the house because god so much can go wrong.
My anxiety goes through the roof when we get in the car and travel through icy roads. As I clutch the passenger seat and close my eyes, I feel sick from the motions and the noises.
I feel anxious about being in other peoples houses.
I have panicky thoughts like:
■ Did I dress ok?
■ Will my kids behave?
■ Will anyone get drunk?
■ Do I pass as happy?
■ Will anyone notice we couldn't bring much?
■ Will we be able to sneak out early?
Of course I hide during the holiday season. I want nothing more than to be in my little room back home.
Because so many things trigger me.
The loud screams and laughter.
Loud bangs or noises from the busy road outside.
People swinging their hands around and animated as they speak.
Sharp carving knives at the table for the big turkey or brisket.
The big, heavy tree filled with glass keepsakes that the kids keep running right up against.
The cat that bites and is not afraid to beat someone up on christmas ;)
Should I wear shoes or take them off?
Will my kids break anything or make too much noise?
Will the families clash?
Will anyone ask me what I do for a living?
Worse...will no one ask me a gosh darn thing?
So many things will inevitably trigger me and I will need to visit the bathroom at least 4 times to calm down.
FACT: I wear outfits that are super easy/practical to maneuver and I bring an extra outfit in my purse.
I'm too afraid il spill something or need to use the bathroom or have a kid RIP my stockings.
I'm too afraid the outfit on my body will let me down in some way.
Anxiety wraps my body round like a warm, itchy sweater.
And I keep saying to myself, "gosh darn, M F boundaries. Make em. Keep em."
But then I don't.
I let my imploding party of 1 hang tight in my head.
I make sure I don't inconvenience anyone else.
I make sure I barely eat or touch anything of someone else's.
And I've wondered where all of this has come from.
Why I'm so "crazy" during this season especially.
To be honest, it took until recently to "remember", even though as a woman with PTSD from abuse ---> I'm a walking shutterfly album of my worst times in history.
I realized that every year as a CHILD since I could remember, I was made to be seen and not heard.
I was made to feel grateful someone even wanted to be around me. Welcome me.
My mother made sure I never felt welcome, but instead a burden.
If I took a full plate, she would say that could have fed someone else.
If I dressed any way, she would tell me things like "you gained a little weight, I see" or "I wish I was as full as you and not so skinny." [I was less than 100 lbs until age 16].
My father did not have much money or anything to give. He made sure to give me experience gifts.
Like hanging out late nights at Starbucks or 711 with HIS friends. Til one or two am.
Like going to get toys at the hobby store. "You don't mind picking things out now right?" And then pushing me to pick out what he desired to play with or show people he got for me "on Christmas".
When I became emancipated from my parents and was staying with family, I felt so out of place and not because of anything ANYONE else did.
Everyone was loving and happy to have myself and my daughter around.
As a single mom of 17, I felt awkward wherever I went.
I didnt want anyone to ask me anything.
Not where the dad was....
Not what my plans were...
Not what I "do now"...
Not any small talk about the weather because they don't actually care what I am up to or how I am getting by.
And then there was the year that no one invited me anywhere. At last, I was just on my own. So I took my 6 year old to NYC on Christmas Day but train and we spent the entire day walking in matching red peacoats and fuzzy hats.
Being alone for Christmas was the most simple and beautiful experience I ever had.
Even though I was in a giant city, in the cold, with little money and no one familiar around me ----> I had zero anxiety that day.
I felt in charge and in control. I felt safe while abandoned.
All this time, through rediscovering my insecurities and pain points..
I thought I needed to just set boundaries.
The real conversation that had to be had was with myself and all about self worth.
I never felt worthy enough to make demands.
I HAVE ALWAYS VIEWED ME HAVING PREFERENCES AS ME BEING DEMANDING.
What a sad thing, to blow out your own desires because you think needing something sets fire to the lessons you learned as a child.
That quiet means humble.
That subtle means poised.
That starving means manners.
That uncomfortable means polite.
I've had to REPARENT myself as the solution.
Boundaries are now looking like LOVING MYSELF.
Finding out what makes me feel GOOD and what makes me feel BAD.
Then copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
This holiday season, we ironically are not going anywhere.
Due to unexpected events [and nothing bad happened] our usual annual plans are canceled.
So this time I am going to be sitting with myself, doing some intentional journaling and processing.
Im going to flip through my memories and rewrite them.
I'm going to redefine myself, honoring my needs.
But I'm also going to do the harder thing.
I'm going to take anxiety off.
And examine what needs to be done by me in order to not wear it so willingly.
I'm going to set boundaries with myself and also have open conversations with my partner.
For the first time ever actually.
Because anxiety is anything but silent.
And I've sat quiet for far too long. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #trauma #gifts #guilt #anxiety #healing
Receiving gifts has always been a huge source of ANXIETY for me, wrapped up neatly in a bow made of satin ribbon.
I grew up around abuse. Abusive parents. Abusive family members. Abusive lovers.
Every time I got a gift growing up, from my parents, it was a GUILT gift.
My mother would get me a designer bag or clothing when she had a drunk episode that she actually remembered. It was put on a credit card because we couldn't afford things like that.
I knew we were in debt and struggling so that GUILT was really multiplied every time a coach or baby phat tag appeared beneath the tissue paper. And my heart would sink.
When I started dating, my boyfriend did the same thing. For every girl he slyly flirted with or did something with, I'd get a cute little gift.
For our first Valentine's Day, I walked into his living room after school to find a heart balloon and statue for me. I remember as I unwrapped it, he looked awkward and nearly as surprised as I was when I took my gift out.
His mom had gotten it for me. From him. Because he asked her to. Because he did not care to.
I knew this much later, once he threw every task at her infront of me because those were the things he did not feel like doing. And he would say things like "she doesn't mind and she is so much better at it".
The thing was, he was emotionally abusive and lied constantly about everything. He manipulated people into doing things for him because he did not want to do them.
Shopping for me and showing me affection were the same in his mind. Both were too minuscule for his attention or time.
I had many boyfriends not ever get me anything because they were "too broke" but would get themselves specifically expensive items for holidays or just whenever.
Specifically my ex of a few years, whom I dated as a single mother of a little girl, would have me pay for most things even though I was on my own paying for my rent/tuition/books/food/child and he lived at home with his parents. When it came time for gifts, he would also ask his mother for assistance.
One holiday i got something so special from him. Something i still have and cherish. The one item I did not smash or sell after he broke my heart. A trinity irish necklace. One I had picked out and PUSHED for months for him to get me. Something I wanted so badly to be done on his will but was finally done because of mine.
Gifts and money were never something I idolized also because I was poor. As a baby born into poverty and then a teen mom who went off into poverty while raising a kid myself, I often could not afford to get people things.
For my own child, I made gifts. I would even put some birthday gifts into the closet before being opened and give them to her for christmas to spread out the stash from what people got her.
But we got by.
I got by many years without having to spend a lot.
Whenever people I knew, like a boss or a friend, got me gifts I felt SO MUCH GUILT.
I would immediately be scanning the things and calculating in my head a guess of what they spent to question if I DESERVED IT.
I felt the same exact way about hand me downs though. Anything given to me that was of worth to someone, made me feel like I was not worth receiving it.
Mostly I'd end up thinking "now what can I sell or do to equal that value for them?" Or "how can I pay them back."
I felt like I owed everyone who gave me anything at all, especially because they really had no idea how much I needed it.
I was so afraid to ask for help or tell anyone my needs for so long. I felt that way as a single mother and I still feel that way.
I feel shame in needing but I feel even more shame when I get provided for.
This is a HUGE BLOCK in my ability to attract money and success. In my ability to be approached by things I need. But I am now only gaining that awareness of how my self worth and anxiety deprived me of so much.
I would be at a loss of words too when I got handed an item or food or money by someone.
Fumbling over my words in thank yous and trying to hide my embarrassment.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, really.
Sometimes I would blurt it out. "Now what can I do for you?"
I'd like to say it was out of consideration and kindness as most people took it.
But that was anxiety speaking.
PLEASE, LET ME MAKE IT EVEN.
My nervous brow would wrinkle up and my heart would be pounding.
Until I got a response that changed everything.
"Be happy in receiving. I just want you to feel joy".
Happy? They wanted me to just feel happy?
No exchange? No guilt? No shame?
No "Sorry I fucked up, here's a gift I didnt even pick out with thought" ----
No "you thought I forgot didn't you? (Because I did but someone else rescued me)."
No "I know what I did but I'd rather you picture me as a good person so here is this thing."
I realized of course that good people could give me things out of just kindness but I still felt indebted or guilty because of those triggers.
Until I pictured someone feeling JOY because they provided me with JOY.
And suddenly it made me feel so good. So loved. So cared for.
I realized that THIS was what we were supposed to feel when we gave something out to someone.
This year I have learned I should express my emotions and gratitude back to the person. That I should let them know when they gave me something what it made me FEEL.
NO MATTER WHAT I WAS GIVEN, I JUST FELT PURE JOY AND LOVE.
And when I would let them know how I feel, it would be bringing them joy that they did that for someone.
That was the exchange.
The magic of giving and receiving.
I have been trying to do some things different around the holidays since figuring out the problems my anxiety caused.
☆ Instead of worrying I won't have the money to GIVE someone something, I think to myself "I will find a way to give them joy".
☆ Instead of jumping to "this was given out of guilt" I quickly remember how I've set boundaries and removed the people from my life who did bad things. So it is no longer even a rational thought that someone could be treating me wrong.
☆Instead of calculating the value of the thing, to see if I can give back in equal or fair measure ----> I think, "what would bring that person joy?" It no longer matters what the price tag is, if it is an action or experience, or even a hand me down. If it is something someone needed or wanted in their life and it would bring them joy, then it is priceless.
☆Instead of spitting out thank yous like a broken toy, I purposefully say why I am thankful and what the giving has brought to me. What it has made me feel. I want them to know what I am experiencing from their generosity and heart.
☆Instead of allowing frustration and panic into my heart, I allow myself to cry tears of joy and thank the universe out loud for my blessed friends/family.
☆Instead of keeping my needs a secret out of shame, I tell the universe what I need out loud with excitement. I am in need of many things but that should not bring me guilt or shame. People need things. Heck. People want things.
☆Instead of trying to calculate my worth, I tell myself I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy of love and joy. I am worthy of the things I want. I am worthy of the things I need. I am worthy of receiving.
☆Instead of worrying about what people will think of me for telling my truths, I remember that silent sufferers around me feel SEEN when I speak up.
So I speak up. I share my feelings, my fears and my desires.
And the concept of gifts/giving has grown.
From materials and money to emotions and states of mind.
I now want to gift out people LOVE AND JOY through my words. Through my validations of experiences they have.
I also think it is a gift to have REAL friends who care. Friends who want to give and receive out of love and not status or to show off.
It is a gift to have REAL, RAW, AUTHENTIC people in our lives to share our ups and downs with. Our dreams and goals with. Just being in relationships like that are enough without giving anything between one another to show we care.
I've made this discovery now that I have beautiful friendships in my life that bring me so much joy. I want nothing more than their friendships. So I cannot believe when I receive gifts or support or help with something. To be so lucky and so cared for by other people is something I am trying to get used to.
I am relearning how to give and receive because I was raised in trauma but that does not mean it is all I will ever know.
I am replacing anxiety with JOY, as a healing tool for all areas of my life.
I realize that abundance is a state of mind and I wish to gift everyone the ability to tap into it through believing they are worthy of whatever their heart desires.
YOU are worthy of receiving.
It does not have to be an uncomfortable thing.
In fact, you do not need to search for what to do for them beyond just thinking of how you can pass on the concept of giving JOY to their lives.
And you can do something anonymously this Holiday season just to send some joy out into the world. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #joy #breakthecycle #catalyst #triggers #abuse
As the year draws to an end and the holidays come in like a rush of excitement and celebration, many families will enjoy abundance of all different means.
From comfort food and presents, to comforting family moments and fun traditions made once more.
Whether you have a large family or small one, are a single mom or a huge, loving family of 10 including your spouse ----> no matter how filled up your heart and home are this season, you will cherish most the love and joy you feel with one another.
That is what kids are to remember most as they grow.
18 Christmases with us until they are grown.
I've seen all sorts of ways people have celebrated. From over the TOP cheer to minimalist experience gifts and leisure.
From hosting the annual, traditional Christmas party to going away on vacation somewhere fun and sunny during the holiday week.
Some people have chosen to skip Christmas all together. Some have gone extremely minimalist. And that is great.
Whatever you choose to do during the holiday season, for all the holidays there are, do it with love.
Love. Gratitude. Joy. Appreciation.
Stripped of all the fluff, the core of celebrations are to celebrate the people in our lives. And the achievements we have.
I'd love to change the narrative of holiday celebrations.
I'd love to see families sit around talking about their goals in a positive way.
Feed positivity and encouragement into one another.
Hear about each others experiences and dreams.
One thing I have learned as a bystander in other peoples family celebrations for the past decade plus is that families do a whole lot of planning and fluff aligns the holiday but very little interaction with one another.
People go all out with food and activities, gifts and decor ---> and the aesthetic of the holidays can be quite spectacular.
Holiday movies depict heart warming moments of joy and laughter, in the same whimsical and magical setting of holiday decor and traditions.
But as dinner is getting prepared and everyone sits around the home, the small talk passed around is so empty of encouragement for the new year.
If your family DOES have deep, emotional, inspirational talks when getting together---> I would love to hear about it in the comments.
But what I'm referring to are the many families who's traditions are to numb through dinner, nod and smile through small talk and then make the focal point of the day on gifts.
For me, all of your bonds with your families are your gifts.
I would have done anything growing up to have REAL parents. Healthy parents. A family void of trauma.
In my childhood and adolescent years, I was convinced abuse and trauma were the norms for all.
My mission as an adult is to provide my own kids with toxic free holidays and a trauma free lifestyle.
Breaking the cycle is the gift that keeps on giving.
And many people wonder how they can break the cycle. Break a mold without shattering their relationships.
But how does it feel when year after year you feel bullied or discouraged by family?
When holidays feel stressful and getting together with family means preparing to be eye rolled and belittled by the people who brought you into this world....
When trauma seeps into the holidays, it looks something like "the drunk uncle", "the overworked mother", "the sit and do nothing father", "the not out and afraid sibling", "the college drop out", "the racist grandpa", "the overbearing and boundary slaying grandma".
And we break bread with, laugh with, comply with it all.
For the sake of the holidays.
For the sake of family.
For those of us who experience this, we grit and deal with it right? Just a few hours a year... just a few days a year...
The thing is, we are not sure how to change the tone of conversations or the way the evening goes.
We have not been taught how to dismantle trauma.
I want future generations as well as mine [90s baby] to learn how to and then actively do something during stressful, abusive situations.
Beyond that, I want us all to take the power we have and make the holidays something meaningful.
To introduce new traditions. New conversations.
To sit with our relatives and ask them intriguing questions. To encourage new reading and education. To open up their eyes. Inspire them.
I want YOU TO BE THE ONE to open your mouth and say "this is my big dream and I'd like to tell you about it".
Not a timid "if you'd listen, I'd like to..." or "I was hoping to tell you something".
Not a question.
Holidays are meant for gathering around and celebrating the year. The love in retrospect.
The joy of being together.
And while you may feel beaten down by past defeats, know that you always have the chance to step in. To take some control and make some new traditions that your younger family members will follow suit in after you have led.
Even more so, if you have an abusive or shitty relative, do not be quiet about it.
That does not mean you should:
●MAKE A SCENE
●SHOUT OR FLIP OUT
What it does mean is having a firm statement passed onto them.
About their behavior. About how uncool it is.
If you need to ask another adult to do so, then do that.
But make it known.
Trauma survivors often feel TRAPPED during the holidays.
Surrounded by people who are borderline or blatantly abusive ---> we tend to FREEZE.
Lastly, if you are unfortunately surrounded by abusive family and you have tried or believe it is impossible to make change happen...if you think speaking up will be a danger..
There is a new tradition you need to make.
Celebrate your own way.
Do something new.
Stop showing up.
It feels hard and like a betrayal because maybe they are all you have. Or maybe you feel like blood means never giving up.
It feels hard because you have tolerated it until now so why quit? It's one day right? Measly hours...
The thing is.. healing is a commitment.
Leading a healthy and happy life is a commitment.
So if you could trade a few hours of painful encounters for doing something that brings you joy ---> DO IT.
This is your reminder that HOLIDAYS are not synonymous with abuse.
You do not have to be a part of something you don't feel comfortable or safe in.
Next, if your family is just "used to" not being very deep or open ----> YOU can change that.
If you find yourself being a highly sensitive person or highly emotional person, then you are NOT AN OUTCAST.
In many ways, YOU ARE THE CATALYST.
You can start with games or conversations that you start with them. And you can teach them how to become open. Comfortable. safe.
You would be shocked to know how many of your family members have survived abuse and never told anyone.
How many were raised to tolerate things silently.
They are not silent to punish you.
They are silent to punish themselves.
That is what trauma looks like.
This holiday season, take control of tradition.
Integrate healthy things into the home.
Into each others hearts.
Teach the children how to have deeper conversation and play games of mindfulness.
Teach the children how to engage with the adults on a deeper level.
Use your awareness and emotional senses to make impact.
Or take It elsewhere for your own well being.
You do not have to suffer in your own story.
And you can define Merry in a whole new way.
♡ J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #joy #beauty #worth #selfesteem
This week I was given makeup, skincare products, a foot bath, and clothing that fits me perfectly.
I cannot tell you how much I have "needed" these things.
As a mom of 3 who stays home out of necessity, to raise my kids and cannot work because I'd have to way to get around [no car and no transportation], and would spend my whole check on daycare [for 2 toddlers].
So many women are struggling in the ways I am and i want to make these issues VISIBILE.
I AM IN NEED OF SELF WORTH AND APPRECIATION.
That is the Root of it.
Thank goodness we have a roof. And can just manage food expenses.
Without the support we have, we would have nothing at all.
And this "wont last forever" is the mantra I repeat as I cry in the shower, rocking myself and swirling around in defeat.
I used to stay silent about it all.
Don't tell anyone you struggle.
It is shameful.
It is "not classy to complain".
I am worthless.
Because everyone will ask me what I did to get this way.
I had a baby at 16 and was thrown out on my ass by my parents and ex, everyone but an Aunt I was close with were too shitty to step up.
My Aunt and Uncle were amazing to me and helped me for almost 4 yrs until I left to get my own apartment on campus of the 4 year college I got into after graduating at Community College.
I felt like a burden to her and her family. I still feel like I burdened anyone ever helped me.
Saying thank you is easy but calculating in my head what I'd have to do to pay people back is crippling.
I owe people my survival.
I owe people my life for saving it.
When I get help, it means I owe someone.
That is always how I saw it.
So when people complimented me for my work or my talents, i felt like I owed them.
It was uncomfortable to receive anything positive from anyone.
I was abused from birth til 16. Leaving my parents while pregnant DID NOT solve that. I stayed surrounded surrounded by trauma for years.
Because I was unaware of what it did to me, I gave my heart and trust to people who hurt me. Repeatedly. And without remorse.
As I worked hard in college and in a job to barely afford raising my daughter, I was also fighting depression and anxiety but had no idea.
I was so disassociated from my abuse and past that I had gaps in my memory and did not know the word "trigger" yet.
So i gravitated towards the things that kept me broken.
Having very little became habitual. I was not taught anything good about money, investing, or saving.
I was only taught, through experience, how to survive.
That mantra of survival of course stained my decisions and my goals. It stayed with me after marrying and having more kids.
It seeped into my marriage. My parenting.
My self esteem.
Devastatingly unaware, I made "the best" of everything.
I chronically thought small. Chose small.
I only convinced myself I was going big.
Just to keep my mind and body safe from a breakdown, small felt like a cozy hole to make a home in.
This week I realized that bigger feels better.
That going big and sharing my soul feels so freeing.
This year I am chasing JOY.
Joy of playing it big. Of putting myself out there.
I am poor.
And in the three months I have been writing about it, I have been releasing all shame.
The shame of being a stay at home mom ---> which is the hardest work I have ever done, sans paycheck.
The shame of taking time to heal ---> to bartering my way to affording it and using my talents in exchange for services.
The shame of being a "single mom" again because I said yes to supporting my husband working long distance --->when I'm lonely and sad dealing with my mental health and being mom alone.
I've said yes to things that don't bring me joy and I am tired of that.
As it turns out, I've just had a poor attitude.
Now I know I am whatever I choose to be.
And when someone tells me how low and broken they feel, I can tell them it is a choice.
But that is not all.
We have to change ourselves.
The things we want, we need to speak them.
Make them happen.
Do small tasks daily to work towards them.
This week I have been able to get dressed up in new items and put makeup on my face.
I have cried more times than I can count.
Not because makeup and sweaters were the answer.
But because I feel worthy as I slip into a sleek black sweater and put primer on before painting a face that looks new to me.
J.S. JADED SAVIOR
#christmas #poverty #trauma #equations #joy
Your worth is not a mathematical equation to figure out.
Yet here I am, a hypocrite with a calculator and a bag of snotty tissues.
Just crunching away the numbers.
I have been low income since I was born.
Born into a marriage of domestic violence, addictions, bad decisions, and poverty.
Every year for Christmas, god I have no idea what I ever received.
A knocked over tree by Godzilla herself after a wild night of undercooked meat for dinner, the stove top left unattended and my preteen self trying to figure out now to test for carbon monoxide poisoning.
A barren womb after the violent loss of 2 babies she had tried for and was unsuccessful in hosting after months of bed rest and nurse visits. Iv drips, barely eating, writhing from the pain of sobriety while carrying children.
Christmas meant uncomfortable visits with family and sly remarks about how she had a kid already from the inlaws.
About how she used the cleaners obsessively and that's why she suffered a loss.
I grew up around trauma.
As an only child, I suffered greatly at the hands of abuse because I was the only kid.
No one else to blame or fall back on. Not even the dog. Trust me, I'd tried.
My company was a tiny square TV that took VHS tapes and a notebook I used to draw in.
I was grounded so often to stay in my room, I should have been named rapunzel.
I dont know if I ever believed in santa or magic or joy.
But I did know a lot of adults tried real hard each year to pull it off for their kids.
I knew one day I'd want that to be me.
After countless years of losing the battle with my birthday candles and wishing for adoption, I surrendered to the fact that that was my life.
We never talked about money and it always seemed like we were strapped for it.
No food. Tons of bills.
Holiday meant family time.
What I learned about love and joy were that they were meant to be had by the people who could afford it.
Besides ordering random items from QVC and stocking the bar accordingly each month, Cathy did things that served herself.
Whatever santa left under a tree, she wrapped it herself. Whatever her miserable husband left her, was either metaphorically or literally burned.
On the tv down stairs i'd see commercials and classic old movies about Christmas. My favorite was Santa Claus is coming to town.
I loved watching Chris give the Winter Warlock a toy and his icy heart melting because of the love and joy felt in receiving.
Every year, some how, I was able to give my mother some kind of gift.
Years later I would discover a box with everything I ever have her in it. Shoved away behind the steve madden's and baby photo albums in the back corner of the closet.
I was not sure if I was being treasured or just neatly tucked away, out of sight and out of mind like all her other problems.
I knew when I became a mother I would do whatever I can to make Christmas magical. To make holidays and anniversaries and achievements all feel joyful.
So when I had my first child at 16, and was shunned by my parents, I knew I had a bargain to keep up.
A life of joy and fun. Security and stability.
As it seemed, life did not go that way in my twenties. From 17 with a newborn to 25 finishing up college with my little girl by my side.
I learned from being out on my own that I had to keep my child away from toxic people and dysfunction. We had to chase joy because it was not free.
Sometimes I felt like a failure.
Like joy was just unattainable.
No matter how hard i worked or how much i saved, it felt like i was just meant to be poor.
To make it "worse", i gravitated towards careers and passions that would be rewarding in many ways but in the bank account.
Math, again, was not on my side.
And I felt torn between wanting a career to help people OR finding something stable just to pay the bills and get by.
Still, I knew my worth enough to go to college on my own and make something of myself.
My parents had both dropped out in high school. Barely 10th grade before getting into drugs and alcohol. Something that would rob them of their lives and almost mine.
When I met my husband, I was just finishing up 6 years total of college and the sum of 2 degrees. I felt so empowered and ready to take on life with my passions.
But depression and anxiety began to get the best of me. Everything started to come undone.
A horrible breakup. Loss of friends. Doubt in my career choice. The end of my college financial aid. Fear. Insecurities. Regret.
And then I met someone.
Someone who I felt in my gut was my soulmate.
So I took a leap.
And that leap turned into 5 years, 2 more babies and marriage.
Void of career or passion. The price I paid for changing directions.
Instead I learned how to coparent and be a partner. I learned how to have a safe night in bed with someone who wanted to protect me, not be the thing I hid away from.
I learned how to have holidays with peace. Calmness. Love.
I watched as my heart expanded with each child we welcomed into the world and my expectations grew threw the roof.
Now that I finally built a little family of my own, had a best friend to navigate adulthood and life with---> I wanted it to be my soul mission to give them the world.
To be their rock, their everything. Their person to call "home".
But out came the calculator every single occasion. Crunching numbers on our oh so tiny budget.
Now both wearing shackles of shame as we realized the math did not equal the kind of parents we wanted to be.
Every Christmas, the theme of giving goes around and everyone feels so thankful for what they have.
As low income people, we are so thankful for everything we do have.
But looming over our heads constantly are the things we go without.
We've been taught, as poor people, not to talk about the poverty. Not to ask for things. Not to go for help.
It is not in the words but in the thoughts people have when we speak up.
The suffering always do so in silence.
As the social media bombardment of photos come in with Christmas wishes, Holiday decor and family photos, we stay scrolling for joy.
I scroll for joy.
I love to see photography sessions and milestone photos, santa photos and Christmas cards. It may seem silly to people but I feel envious of those.
An unhumble trait I picked up in my years of having less.
Then there is the comparison cold.
As I see and I know and I remember all the commercials for Christmas time shopping.
Big trees filled with presents and toys underneath so that Christmas morning the kids feel loved and like their wishes were received.
As a single mom I was always so terrified of doing santa letters because I may not be able to give what my kid hoped for. Many years I "helped give ideas" for her list after already shopping. .I was so scared to disappoint her.
In movies, Santa came to poor children with oranges in the stockings and toys by the tree.
I was so frozen with fear year after year at the chance my kid would feel like the math wasnt adding up and she was not worthy enough for santa.
Now that I am married with 3 and we struggle to feed the family + cannot afford to save, that fear has grown.
Into the size of an abominable snowman.
But recently I remembered something that carried me away in tears as a child.
That damn cheechoo train and the winter warlock.
His tears brought the resounding message of joy that I clung to for years.
Give joy. And hearts will be full.
So this year and the last 4 years prior, I have focused on joy.
How I could make every season, not just the date, feel GOOD.
I wanted to give my kids the excitement of each season because it meant all year felt good and mindful and purposeful.
Unlike when I would anticipate the 3 holi - days we left the house to see extended family and my parents would try to pass as normal.
Every year I still made the samemistake.
I took out income and replaced it with the measure of joy, just to reassemble the equation.
To finally have a shot at making myself worthy as a mother.
And I felt like I failed each time.
With each gift or craft or idea, I felt empty and sad after.
Like my kids just KNEW it was not enough.
Like I knew I was not enough.
This year I gained a beautiful gift.
The gift of an awakening.
A journey into my own healing from trauma.
Now I am discovering why I always reached for the calculator.
I always felt I needed tools to become more.
Being me never felt "enough".
That affected every single holiday or celebration.
Every single birthday wish.
Every single absent gift I thought I was too unworthy to receive.
I was taught that worth was measured by people who felt unworthy.
Sick, addicted, traumatized, irrational people taught me by example that worth is bought.
That self love is bought.
And that joy is bought.
That is just not true.
Money does mean something.
Being able to give my kids a dream Christmas, like a scene out of Miracle on 34th Street is THE GOAL.
I cannot seem to shake that childlike, tear struck face of wonder at the idea of driving up to a dream house that is wrapped in lights and festive decor. That has a wide staircase and open living room with 10 ft tall ceilings and a huge Christmas tree illuminating the house.
But this time, I am learning that should have actually written those wish lists. I should have talked out loud about my desires.
I should honor them and honor myself.
I want my kids to see a brave, strong woman who is not afraid to ask for what she wants. And happily receive it.
I want my kids to know joy, feel joy, give joy.
Because their childhood was not traumatic.
It was filled with magic and spirit and hope.
So now instead of just Santa, invoke my spirit and my soul to feel worthy.
To be the joy.
The smile and the warmth and the love that made my kids' Christmas special every single year.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#poverty #christmas #joy #identity #giving
Poverty does a lot to our body, mind and spirit.
We get lost and confused about who we are. The sense of identity and self worth we once had diminishes.
For many, self worth is not even developed. It's a luxury to love yourself when you have so little.
As a mom of 3, with a lot of expenses and no income ---> I have learned to take what I can get.
As someone with a husband who works his @$$ off and is away from us a lot to accomplish that goal, I absolutely will never ask to use any money we obtain for things for myself.
I can have little to no underwear, broken bras, and all the hand me downs in the world.
For my birthday this year I had the opportunity to buy myself a sweater and a few leggings. That was a super duper painful trip, as I tried on tons of things at a local juniors sized shoppe filled with crop tops and belly shirts, plus the skinniest size 15s I ever saw in my life.
Still I was so grateful for the opportunity to buy a few things and try my body in different styles.
It forced me to look at myself and step out of my comfort zone. To spend a little without regret or worry on myself.
Today I received 7 bags of shirts, sweaters, jackets, blazers, pants and beautiful dresses. All my perfect size. Some never even worn.
I cried my eyes out, squinting through the burning mascara, at what will be my Christmas dress.
A lace cocktail dress. A black cashmere cardigan on top.
I cannot tell you how much gratitude I feel for these things.
These items that may just sit in someone else's closet, untouched or unnoticed.
Maybe even items that once brought them joy but now they have moved on from.
When I was in college, as a single young mother of a toddler, I applied and was accepted into an internship. This internship fit both my degree requirement and my passion for leadership.
I scowered the target clearance section 2 weeks before it started for on sale blazers and silk shirts. A black dress and a black shirt, all office wear and chic, professional styles.
When I showed up, I sat in the front by the advisors. I walked in, heels smacking the tiles, leather bag in hand. Black and splashes of colored silk. A pop of red lipstick and cat eyes. Sleek hair.
I wanted to fit a role.
Not a teen mom.
Not a college kid.
Not a Lit or WAGS major.
Someone who wanted to be there and own it all.
The leadership and the passion I had burning within me.
I loved that internship and in many ways I felt lost after college because I left behind more than a black and white striped pair of heels.
I left behind a strong, prepared character that I loved wearing the shoes of.
Today, as I ripped open garbage bags and dug my hands deep into the soft, black textiles I cried to release.
For every beautiful new piece I pulled out of the bag, 2 or 3 old shirts or leggings got tossed into a bag.
Acceptance and release.
I allowed myself to get rid of the things I told myself were me.
My lack of identity in wardrobe and emotions since becoming a wife and mom to two more babies.
The mismatched clothing that never fit my body and the items I'd collected along the way --> I wished them well.
I thanked them for serving me as they did.
And I thanked this new clothing for coming to me.
For reminding me of the time I felt my best.
Black silk and fierce leathers. Soft, comfy sweaters. Heels and tights that said:
I. Own. My. Look.
This is me.
It is so fitting that I feel like I've been through the flames this year.
And surprisingly, though I dove deep into the burning flames I rose again unburned.
And ready to become something new.
Whenever we think we are forging a new identity and path, it is actually more like we are uncovering foot steps down a road built just for us.
A familiarity with each foot step through the ash and into the light.
When you follow it, you will discover you are being led to yourself.
A 360, right back planted into the heels of who we once longed to be and now we realize we were all along.
This Christmas season I have been vocalizing my struggles for awareness and to release my emotions.
In return, I have casted stones out into the universe.
So many gifts, love, support and items we need have come back our way.
Some people dear to my heart have sent us items for our little family and I have been a pile of tears the last two weeks as I keep getting surprises at my door.
I have worn struggle for years, often afraid to speak up about it. Things like pride and shame kept me from wanting to ask for help. It was not until I felt scorned by life and cornered in my options that I would ask for assistance.
Now I realize that there is bravery in being honest.
And that receiving is not hard when you just trust the universe and tell yourself you are worthy of abundance.
Worthy of love and care.
Worthy of an identity and honoring truths.
Worthy of welcoming gifts in all shapes and sizes.
For the joy of giving and receiving this holiday season ----> do something new!
Go into your closets and through your material things and DONATE to people you actually know.
Do this by casting the offer into your spheres. Your family. Your friends. Your groups.
Gift and regift to those who would fall to their knees in gratitude and joy to receive what you no longer use or need.
Take it further.
Pick a skill, a talent or a passion and gift it.
Not for a sale. Not for a promotion.
To give joy. And to feel joy while doing it.
Stop crunching numbers and void the urge to keep score.
Give joy for Christmas.
And in return allow joy to come to you.
Make some wishes.
Ask for what you want. What you wish. What you hope for.
Without a "this is stupid", "this is materialistic" "this is frivolous".
Just allow yourself, with pureness and gratitude, to honor your desire.
And know you are worthy of it. ♡
Christmas and the holidays feel different now.
I will be wearing my new dress on Christmas as a reminder that I am worthy of all the things and take two steps closer towards my authentic self in the new year.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #identity #poverty #poormentality #trauma
I've written before about being poor and living in poverty, but consider this the Christmas edition.
For the past 3 days, my husband and I have stayed up in Utica in a place that he is renovating with his brother to turn into rental apartments. My husband has been learning all about real estate, flipping and renovation projects from scratch because we want to head down that path next after almost 5 years of struggling in previous businesses.
Today my husband and I had to treck to walmart, in the snow, with our kids so we could get more food + warm clothing for our two toddler boys. We packed for this trip with whatever groceries we had in the house before we left and what clothing fit the kids.
We left my inlaws and headed up here hoping to be alright and not need anymore. But, as all parents know, it happens.
Needing more outfits because the kids grow like weeds. Because hand me downs are starting to run low. Because kids get into everything and 7 outfits can run out in just a few days with these little whirlwinds.
So there we were, both feeling overwhelmed as we counted our budget and went over what 3 more days of food would cost + 4 more outfits. Seeing how far pasta can stretch and if the clearance section would be kind to us.
My husband stared at me as I picked out fleece pants for the boys, and asked "How can you stay so positive every day even though we are struggling?"
I saw love in his eyes as he watched me laugh at a joke I had just told. And I realized he was dead serious.
I also know what he partially meant was, "How can you love me even though we are poor?"
I thought about how triggering it is for him that we struggle. Because he wants to be the strength and the provider for our family. And he feels in so many ways like his hard work has still failed us. Meant nothing because we still struggle.
He does not realize what it means to me every time he feeds me and our kids. Every time he plays a board game with us. Every time we cuddle on the couch.
He does not realize that every single joke we have shared and the belly rolling laughing he has given me since the day we began talking [via dating app] that he has made me feel so rich and so full.
In that moment I do not "see" struggle, but an outing with my family. We look like every other family in walmart. 3 cheeky kids not using their indoor voices. A mom and dad asking what dinner should be. Dad shrugging and saying anything is fine.
We blend right in. And there is no need to feel triggered or sad.
So we walk, me pushing the kart filled with 2 fleece pairs of pants, 2 long sleeve shirts, 2 boys leggings and 2 hoodies. 4t, 5t. Hip colors. Golden dinosaur head. Silver monster truck.
I know I took 15 minutes to sift through the same 3 tables of clothing. Looking for the cheapest, while feeling around like a mad woman for the right textures and designs.
"I want my kids to feel cool, not poor", I think to myself as I search and have a big smile as I land on cool dinosaur geometric pants that my 4 yr old will go wild in excitement for.
Laughing as I tell my husband that our little guy will ROAR when he puts them on. And instead of being met with laughter, watching my husband lock eyes with me and smile in such a deep way at me that it touches my soul.
We walk past the pjs and Women's section, my eyes following the tops of racks and flirting gently with the fur lined hoods of cheetah print and rose gold puffer jackets. Oh to be young, and in style. But I don't linger long.
My husbands thick XL jacket feels good on me. Good enough for winter. Good enough to not need anything else.
Now we are coming up to the home section, rows of wood decor and industrial farmhouse table settings. Plate and serving sets.
I grip the wheel. Intoxicating, I think as I close my eyes and breathe deeply in. It smells like a home. Like a home well decorated and cared for during the coming holiday season.
I see Christmas mits and towels, "If you need me, I'll be watching Hallmark and baking cookies" which usually makes me laugh and nod in agreement.
But now all I can do is choke, force down a hard swallow and then begin panting.
These carts, these people are just not moving. I want to go faster or ditch down an isle but instead I am locked here between baking Betty and decorate it Debbie who are trying to decide if they should just get 2 of each and maybe some for their grown kids.
These are my triggers, I suddenly realize as I try to fight off a panic attack.
Almost 5 years in with the man of my dreams, both of us feeling beat TF up from entrepreneurship and parenthood. Us both feeling defeated by the mistakes, mishaps, breakdowns, blunders, and headaches our last business gave us.
The ways it showed us our best and worst selves. The way we were at our best AND worst simultaneously as business partners and marriage partners.
The way we both learned to "make the best" of everything as we slid hard down that mountain right into mud. No. Quicksand.
I finally get to dodge down bedding and catch up to my husband who is looking for the last thing he needed. My child is having sensory overload in the top seat of the cart, spotting every. Single. Thing. He. Wants. Santa. To.bring.
Me too, buddy, me too.
This christmas I want to ask Santa for that BIG BREAK.
That one we see in movies and sitcoms.
You know it, don't you?
That turn of fate after struggle that FINALLY gives the lead character what they DESERVE in the end.
You see, being poor looks like many things.
And though no one knows us here in walmart and we pass as any other family, we know weeks of pasta and beans. And we are hiding out because we should be SO LUCKY we have a roof and my inlaws. We are.
We are not poor enough or struggling enough to come out about it socially. That is a trigger for everybody.
We are struggling "light". Kinda like a "lite icetea".
But we are not just struggling because we have less than many and we are not doing "well" just because we have more than some.
Our struggle is layered.
We both have unhealed trauma. We have little kids that are being raised by 2 people with so much love and good intentions but a HUGE responsibility to start fresh [after ending the cycles of abuse we knew].
We both have passion and hard work being put into outlets that do not pay well yet.
For me, not at all.
As everyone talked about black Friday and cyber Monday, I spent my time OFF social media.
I could not handle all the triggers.
Because I have been taught, through poverty, to not want things that I cannot afford.
I am not supposed to view websites or deals or sales when I know I cannot afford them.
I am not supposed to think about beauty or fashion or fitting in when it is just a fantasy.
I enjoy the little things and I window shop. I get panic attacks and cry a little when I stroll home sections of stores and I feel FUCKING WEIRD FOR IT.
But you see, tears do not come from poverty. They come from trauma.
I come from a broken home.
I spent years fearing being in my room and sleeping with furniture infront of my door because the only worse thing than being grounded to my room for years was possibly being attacked by what dwelled in the living room, drunk and hazy.
I then lived with family for a short time and wanted so badly to feel like I had parents + safety. I know my family did so much for me but after I moved out to spread my wings for college it no longer felt the same.
In fact, my relationships have mostly dissolved over the last 10 years. I feel alone mostly.
Self sufficiency is my fashion. My style. That thing I choose to invest in. It's a lonely shade of rouge.
All I used to ask "Santa" for every year was my own home. Like on Miracle on 34th street.
Gah that movie makes me bawl like no other.
I feel the same swell of tears and build up of emotions from that movie, precisely when the little girl says "mommy, mommy it IS our home".
I get that same rush running my fingers through a shag carpet and matching throw pillows while my kids cry out "PIIIIZZZAAAAAA please mom???" And my husband breaks my daydream to tell me it's time to go.
As everyone checks out their karts, filled to the brim with decorations and stocking fillers, I am calculating our stock before we ring it all up because I am sweating literally at the idea of going over budget.
Even though we calculated 3 times already.
We go $10 over and he hugs me.
"Its ok. We will do better this year."
And with his embrace I want to melt like a tiny child and pause time.
In this moment, I force myself to remember what this all feels like. What STUFF can do to a person.
What Christmas shopping does to people.
And how much people take for granted what they have already.
Their home. Their tree. Their belongings.
The wishlists their kids make that they can easily fill, maybe even twice.
But none of that is even the point.
I realize poverty teaches us about gratitude. Sure.
It teaches us about love. And kindness.
But it also teaches us longing. Despair. Fear.
It teaches us compliance and defeat sometimes.
When we clutch those things that trigger us most, the material desires we crave.
And we say things like "I can't" or "this isn't for me".
When we feel utterly defeated by the woman on the line who is buying her kids toys for that moment, because 23 days is still far away.
Not because we hate her. Because we want to be her.
I want to be her.
I want to pull up the driveway of a lit up home that is MINE, knowing it has all the trimmings and perfection inside that I put together myself. Out of love and appreciation for the walls. The carpets. The hard wood floors. The high rise ceilings.
I want a train running round the tree and a crystal star so bright it shines rainbows off the ceiling.
Some day, I want things.
And I still want to be the same girl who laughs with ease as my husband stares adoringly. Unchanged. Just secure.
Because being poor my whole life, it is the stability and peace I crave more than the dollar amount in my account.
But this year I am no longer asking Santa for a home with the trimmings.
I decided though I still believe in his magic, this year I just want the gift of believing in myself.
And seeing what it feels like to walk around knowing the gift was inside me all along.
I want to do the things that my heart feels called to do.
I'm tired of the poor mindset of "I am not enough to be better. To have better. To give better."
Of "this is just my lot in life."
It's not. It is no ones' lot in life to just suffer.
Sometimes we just need help.
Sometimes we need to change our course.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are capable AF and resourceful AF.
Let this be the last year we struggle.
And the first year ahead that we thrive.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#poverty #christmas #gratitude #joy
I've been writing a lot about my experience with poverty as well as my fear of joy.
I want people to understand the emotions that come with being "chronically needing".
Notice how I said NEEDING and not just POOR.
The first 5 years of my twenties, I spent as a very low income single mother in college. I raised a little baby for 7 years total alone while juggling full time college courses, living on campus in a small apartment [$1400/mo] and paying my own groceries/books + our needs.
We needed things. Not just the regular items a college kid needs but actual home items. All year round items. All year round groceries. Toiletries. Diapers + baby wipes + baby products. Shoes. Coats. All weather wear [here in NY].
I was out on my own very young, sans parents. Lived with family by the grace of goddess and then out on my own completely. I was always in need.
And that brought a ton of shame.
So much, I still wear it even in the last almost 5 years of my twenties.
I have bargain and clearance shopped at all times. Because I feared full price.
I have saved all my coins in jars. Because as people wrinkle their noses to pennies and dimes, I know those cover expenses when you add them up.
I have sold items, sometimes that I really loved. So I learned not to get attached.
Buying things for myself was hard but over time I made more money at my job, got nice tax credits back and finally decided to treat myself sometimes.
When I graduated school, I sold it all.
Every favorite dress. My favorite framed pinup photo. My pots and plans. My christmas tree. My little tv. Most of bellas toys.
And I felt really bad doing that.
I was about to enter a relationship with someone. To have a family with them. I'd met my soulmate and wanted to be married + have babies.
But my gut instinct was to burn bridges. Get rid of everything. Start fresh.
An epic rise out of the ashes, again.
Now I feel shame for those choices.
I didnt have to strip myself of the joy I'd mustered up the courage to give myself over the years.
I just did instinctively.
Then i spent 4 years working my butt off along side my hard working husband. And entrepreneurship handed our asses to us.
We also realized many things that were not a good fit for us.
We realized we needed to shed, strip, start fresh.
Again, burn bridges and then rise from the ash.
So this year we did just that. After 4 years of working hard instead of efficiently, we got rid of everything to try and pay off debts. Start from scratch. We are still paying it all off.
Only now, with very very tight income. Very very little wiggle room. Very very tight quarters to live in. And with other people, not on our own.
It brings a lot of shame.
If we did not have this roof over our heads because of someone else, we would not have a place right now.
We had 2 babies along this journey. We welcomed our first baby boy our first Christmas together and our second 18 mos later. Those babies came out of love.
But do you know what people say when you have kids and are poor?
"Why did you do that?"
Why did we do this?.....
We fell in love.
We had a plan.
And now, we are forming new plans.
Because shit does not always work out how you plan it to.
What gratitude and joy I have though when I look at my babies faces. All 3 of my kids are beautiful, smart, kind, creative, and best of all they SWEAR I am the best mom. Little ole me.
My husband is my best friend and my partner in everything. We have trusted eachother and held eachother through all the obstacles.
We feel in need.
But it is embarrassing to tell people we need anything.
Surely, we work.
Surely, we are capable adults.
The world is not built for people in need.
We are called "needy" if we ask. Or mocked. Or shamed. Or guilted. Or indebted.
So when someone gives to us out of the kindness of their hearts, I am a hot mess of tears and gratitude.
I have racing thoughts of how will I ever pay them back?
And it's funny, but when you are in need for so long you actually need things people do not even think of.
I am in desperate need of a little alone time.
The luxury of little breaks here and there. Friends to go out with or an errand to run.
Because I'm home in a little space with 2 toddlers all day + every day while I work on my blog. Then my 12 yr old with ASD comes home from school and needs me. I am needed.
But sometimes, I am needed by me.
It's a luxury to serve myself.
Next, even though I need clothing and a coat and socks and underwear like any other person ----> I want to feel fashionable. Sensual. Stylish.
A person is still a person.
When you are homeless or poor or low income, YOU STILL FEEL IN NEED OF BEAUTY AND FASHION.
And even if the most elegant top and trendy shoes cost a dollar, if you are seen looking good while being poor it is shamed.
Without even knowing where the items come from.
Without knowing my jewelry is from dollar stores or my coat was a hand me down.
You might shame me for looking or feeling good.
Money is a piece of paper and yet our worth is dyed right into the print of the serial numbers and letters across the bill.
Our very worth is mass printed and distributed ----> with people caring very little about what a prized possession money can be.
For someone who is poor, money feels like its everything.
THE END ALL.
You might not realize how hard the people around you work for money.
How they trade hours with their loved ones for it.
How they climb through mobs of people to spend it on gadgets and toys.
How a name brand or a label or a print or a color of an item can make someone seem rich for owning it.
And no one wants to look like they are in need.
They want to look like they have it all.
When you are in need, it is not just material but psychological.
You want comfort. You want happiness. You want fun. You want experiences. You want emotional connection. You want to feel like you are not stuck. Or lacking. Even if just for an hour.
When you gift someone something because they are in need, consider THEIR needs. Depending on the situation, a grocery gift card would be amazing. But also, things that bring joy. A fancy chocolate. A candle. An essential oil or a first aid kit. A gift card for coffee. A nail kit.
There are a lot of things people NEED but also want. Just to feel human. And loved.
I am teaching my kids something I find very important about giving and receiving.
Give with joy.
Give for joy.
Receive with joy.
Receive for joy.
For not the price tag but the transference of emotions and worth.
We feel worth it and we give worth to others when we show an act of compassion.
Compassion is giving a woman $100 for groceries and an extra $5 coffee card JUST FOR HER.
Because you know she feels like absolute poop while struggling. And a little trip for a coffee might be the ounce of human experience she is craving.
When you think about doing a secret santa or a white Christmas game with your family, also consider this.
PEOPLE WITHIN YOUR OWN FAMILY ARE IN NEED.
And if you could give someone close to you a CHIP IN towards their car battery, towards groceries, towards tree trimmings, towards home items, towards a human experience ....
Imagine with any amount or THING or EXPERIENCE you give, and with joy, that person feeling such a DEEP gratitude for it.
For exactly what they were in need of.
I get a bit frustrated every year at Thanksgiving because I hear mindless small talk and see posts even about Thanksgiving being the "family time holiday" --------> but many people do not truly engage with one another.
It's just "you'll never believe what suzie did last week " or "I hate my job. But you know, its work" or "Hows the family by you? ---> ehh you know same old".
NO TODD. WE DON'T KNOW.
I wish families and friends would gather around this time of year to be vulnerable and honest.
To say what they NEED. To say what they DREAM of doing next. To speak about their goals. To go around saying what they are thankful for and then ask what eachother could possibly use for the following year. Or the present time.
What could you use to end off this year well, Uncle Todd?
"To be honest with you hunny, my coat is so worn and it's so cold outside when I shovel."
What I would do is get uncle Todd a warm robe and slippers. And pay for shovel service for his house that year.
Because I want to give joy.
And I can only imagine the joy he will feel warm and wrapped up on the couch to relax while something he always does gets taken care of.
A little taste of being cared for.
This holiday season, I URGE YOU to care for someone else. Give joy. With joy.
And gain a new emotion you never felt before. While witnessing it first hand on someone else's face. Caused by you.
That is love.
That is compassion.
That, my friend, is the poor mans' Christmas.
J.S. Jaded Savior
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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