I need help. I can’t keep living like this. I don’t want this to be the end.
My story is long, a near 2 decade disaster from childhood.
Currently I am living in the house I grew up in. I am on food stamps. My house has holes and fire damage, my vehicle is falling apart, and it the last thing holding my life together.
My mother made a range of bad decisions when I was growing up, leading to a terrible childhood. Drugs, mental and physical violence, etc. My step dad treated me somewhere between gold and dirt, depending on the day. I was able to shrug most of it off thankfully. I spent my teenage years trying to hold a job for a small amount of life and freedom and simultaneously juggle my grades. I managed to acquire a truck for 500$ during this time, which I still have today. Sadly, it no longer has a floorboard, or a reverse, water comes in through the roof, and is quite loud. My stepdad was sent to prison during this time, which put my mom into a state of depression, despite the levels of abuse. He later got out, and wanted to get custody of his 3 year old from another state. Through a strange set of circumstances, they moved out (although not very far) and left me the house. Meanwhile, my friend and I started college. He moved to the town, but having my own house at this point I stayed. I kept my grades up, going for engineering, but failed miserably towards the end of the semester with no sympathy from the professors. I was a commuter, and kept being snowed in. I couldn’t stay with my friend, there was no room. The truck wouldn’t make it that far and there were no vehicles to borrow. When I retook the the failed classes that Spring, both February and March hit with more snow. Failed again. One of my professors actually told me to give up, another told me the pictures of snow and ice I sent to him “were fake.” I switched plans and went to a community college that was local, to get general classes out of the way that Fall. I took a few local classes and online classes. I didn’t receive my books until October. “They’re on back order” was all they would tell me. I had already begun to fail classes, and was losing steam being nearly two years into college. I took the exact classes again that Spring since I already had the books now. This time, because of my GPA, I no longer had financial aid and had to pull out loans to pay for classes. Believe it or not I failed again because the online classes came with a serial number that was expired, and could only be used the previous semester. It took over 2 months to receive a new set for completely new unopened books. No explanation, apology, or ownership was ever given from either college after these events. I decided I was through with college for now, I had had enough, and set out into job territory to pay back my debts and get my life back on track.
During all of this, the drugs and issues with neighbors and family never ceased. My mother and step dad still fought. My grandma began to have liver problems, but thankfully my mom lived close enough to take care of her. My mom lost her job. The step dad never had one. My cousin actually began stealing insulin needles from my grandma, and would rob her of medications at times. I didn’t know this at that time, we thought she was misplacing them because she was developing dementia. My grandpa eventually caught him unlocking the deadbolt on the backdoor so he could slip in when my grandpa was gone.
I did manage to get a job and began paying off my debts. I decided I would have to rebuild my savings account to go back to engineering school. I had made plans to take my house off the grid, whether by hiring someone for a grid-tie system or building my own solar panels. I even purchased and expensive amount of materials and equipment over the course of 3 years, deciding that off grid would be a better choice. But when things were finally starting to look up, disaster began to rain again.
My grandma passed away. Everyone in the family had lost a piece of the glue that was holding it together. Then, a few months after, I lost my job.
Savings was beginning to dry up searching for another. Thankfully during this time period I did have some small scale off grid equipment set up, and had put in a wood cook stove my grandma had left to me. It’s firebox is small and has to be loaded about every 2 hours, but you’ll survive if you have wood. The moment Spring came around, my second car that I had bought blew a head gasket and now has a warped head.
I went with my mom and only my mom that summer to visit family living in another town (military family) not too long after that, being as I had nothing else to do, hadn’t found a job yet, was near broke, no car, and it was nice place to stay and visit for a few days. We stayed over the weekend. We came home and arrived at night. My little brother wanted me to stay overnight and play video games with him, him being about 9 at the time. I decided to walk back to my home that morning since it wasn’t too far, and upon arrival terror struck.
A nasty smell crossed my nose on the way up, something terrible had happened. I opened the front door, and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It had burned.
Upon inspection through the overbearing heat inside, I thought to myself that my equipment had caught fire. To my surprise, it wasn’t there. It was missing. Gone. Stolen. It was arson.
To spoil an overbearing heart wrenching story, my family and the neighbors were the ones who had done it. Not only that, they actually went back for more AFTER they had been interviewed and signed a statement of being guilty, two more times!!! The family who did this was my cousin who robbed my grandma, and my step dad. My cousin took the wrap for everyone, signed a statement, and refused to say anything else, but the step dad and the neighbors were nowhere to be found despite no proof of them being guilty. Word around town said otherwise, everyone knew the story of what happened. But no one knew why. I still don’t. They didn’t take anything worth anything, and everything worth something burned. It didn’t make any sense. To this day I still wonder why.
I had to move in with my mom, penniless. The truck no longer works. The car I had purchased blew and head gasket and now has a warped head. Coolant pours out quicker than you can get to water. My stepdad, as I had said was gone, he had left mom for another woman and was nowhere around. He actually went to prison for burning his new girlfriends garage, and was so high that he told the firemen that he did it for insurance money, and that if they didn’t say anything he would cut them a check. The police were beside the firemen. He didn’t go to prison for my arson case, but life works it’s ways. My cousin was now in prison as well. The neighbor who helped apparently pack up and left town, and has not been seen to this day which is fine by me. My mom had officially checked out mentally, and was now on disability. I’m stuck taking care of her. I found another job, began to save money, and managed to purchase a new used car to get back and forth. While working at my new job, my friend that had went to college with passed away from a drug overdose.
At this time my half sister turned 18 and needed a way out of a bad situation as well. I began to drive her back and forth to work and college, she is doing well there with a 4.0 GPA. Despite pulling four 12 hour night shifts a week, I was driving her during the day to both work and school. I began to break down from no sleep, with sometimes as much as four extra trips to town during my 12 hours off during the daytime. Mind numbing and back breaking, but anything to get her out of the situations I’ve dealt with for years. We both pulled out loans, she got a cheap car and I began to repair my house. At least the structure was still there, but it had to be gutted. I managed to buy a few cheap appliances between paychecks. Just when things were looking up again, her mom’s car broke down. So she let her mom borrow her car for a few weeks. Shortly after, I lost my job. I’ve now went back to driving her around full time, because her mom drove the car with no oil. The car was ruined.
I am stuck on food stamps, my last car is failing, and I am driving the wheels off to get her back and forth to work and school. Worse, she took her cat to the vet recently and now owes another $400 that she had to put on a credit card. There isn’t enough to pay more than the occasional oil change, because she pays the bills to keep my lights on at home. The struts are out, the sway bar is broke, it has oil leaks, and the tires are going bald. My house is still in poor shape, there are still areas covered in soot, it has roof leaks left over from before I owned it that my step dad knew about and never repaired, but also failed to inform me about until the leak had already caused massive damage behind the wall and floor. The rest of the house is still unfinished. There are holes in the floor and in the walls that didn’t burn from fights when they lived here. My mother is disabled. My sister is being worked to death, and between her extra work to pick up hours for bills and school there is no room for me to work. It is nearly an hour into town for both. If I find a job, one of us will be without a car. If my car gives out both of us are out of luck. She will not be able to go to work or school, I will be in the dark. I need help. I can’t keep doing this. I have never been able to get ahead since becoming an adult, I’ve had multiple times of barely scraping by and once again I am at rock bottom. I’ve fell in a hole and fell through the floor of that hole. Please help me. I am intelligent. I am a decent and good person. We both are good at managing money. There are few jobs, and fewer with a flexible schedule. I’m trying to make ends meet. I’ve only ever been given bad hands of cards my entire life. If you can find it in your heart, please help…I can’t even leave this place.