Growing up, I was always taught to put the needs of others above my own. When my brother moved in to my home after his wife left him with a 2 year old and a 4 year old, I dropped everything I was doing to help raise his 2 kids, including dropping out of school to get my degree. All of my money went to helping buy food and clothing, fulfilling their basic needs. They are both now adults, but the state of my current financial situation has a lot to do with making the choice to help with their situation. I would never tell them that, but it is the harsh truth.
Four years later, when my sister went to jail for drug possession (she was using crack cocaine) and her baby of 8 months was left without a mother, I took the baby in and raised her as my own, doing everything I could to stay afloat with a 6 year old, an 8 year old and an infant. My sister was in and out of jail for 5 years, and as far as that little girl knew, I was her mother. When she was taken away from me after 5 years, it broke my heart, but taking care of her was one of the greatest joys of my life.
I have been struggling financially for a long time, and now, many, many years later, I have no savings. I have no 401(k). And I have ruined my credit. I have nothing. I broke my leg 2 years ago (I have a titanium rod in my lower right leg, screws and a metal plate over my right ankle). Healing took much longer than expected, and I was out of work for quite some time. Prior to that, I had maxed out my credit cards and had taken out several personal loans to try to juggle all of my bills, which (I know now) was not the right way to try to fix my financial problems. I should have gotten help. I should have gone to a financial advisor or gotten educated somehow. I was just so afraid of being judged. And I had no idea I was going to break my leg. Now, everything is coming to a head and I am being threatened to be sued by my creditors. I lost my job 3 months ago, and I feel like the world is crumbling down over my shoulders.
I. NEED. HELP.
Total Credit Card Debt: $12,600
Total Personal Loans Past Due: $11,000 and $7,500
Other bills monthly (car, insurance, utilities): Approx. Total $800
It is so difficult for me to reach out and ask for help. Writing this is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. I know how hard it is to work for your money, and I know that many of you have worked so hard to earn what you have, so for me to ask you to give me your money is unfair, I know. But I ask that if you are fortunate to be able to afford to help others, that you please consider my story. All I can do is promise to pay it forward. When I am able to find a job, I promise to help someone else financially with whatever I am able to afford. If I cannot help someone financially, then I promise to help as many people as I can in other ways – donations of clothing, my time, whatever I can. It’s people who are open and nonjudgemental and give to others of themselves, that make humanity truly special.
If you cannot help me financially, I thank you for reading my story and ask only that you pray for me to find a way out of this hole and this darkness that feels like will never end. I hope that you all are at a place in your lives where you are happy and healthy, and if you are not and are struggling like me, please know that you are not alone. Hopefully things will get better for us. We just have to keep faith that we will all find the help that we need, whatever that may be.