I have always put other people before me.
I thought they needed it more then me.
I was raised in a poverty family. My family!
Raised by poor, low self-esteem people. My family!
Raised by self-destructive people. My family!
Raised by physically abusive, drunk, drug addicts. My family!
Raised in an unhealthy, unsafe dirty environmentMy family!
I had no idea this was going to affect me for the rest of my life.
Suddenly, it all went away. I thought, when my mother moved me and my sisters to another state. I was so wrong!
I never understood as a child why I couldn’t and never would see my dad and grandpa and grandma again. Then I realized why when I got older.
I was left alone the majority of my childhood years. Always feeling scared and always hungry. I felt this fear that I was all alone and on my own. And I was on my own!
I often thought about my grandma. I remembered her chickens. I used to watch her gather the chicken eggs every morning. I remember the smile on her face when she came out of the chicken coop with her basket chuck full of eggs. I remembered her cleaning the eggs and dividing them up into different baskets. She would look at me and say, “never put all your eggs in one basket.” I never new what she meant. I was only 4! I also remembered her selling her chicken eggs to the neighbors. Because, I got to go with her to their houses. This was my favorite part. The neighbours fed me cookies and milk while I waited like a good girl. After she sold all her eggs, we went to the grocery store. There was that smile on her face again. She bought flour, butter, cheese and milk. I got to carry the milk. Back at home, when she left out the flour on the kitchen table, I knew grandma was getting ready to cook. Biscuits and gravy were my favorite. I will never forget this! I knew I was going to eat. So…,I stayed close to grandma in the kitchen and waited. Like a good girl! I never knew this was going to affect me for the rest of life!
Now, living in a big city, still all alone and hungry, feeling fear that I didn’t know if I was ever going to see my mother again, wondering how I was going to eat. I was only 7.
I use to walk to school everyday. On my way home I would stop at the stores, go in and get candy from the candy dish they left out on the counter for customers. Soon, they all knew my name.
I would notice in the winter time some of our neighbors pushing a cart through the snow. These carts were full of groceries. These people were older, like my grandma. That’s why I started talking to them. I asked them if they wanted some help pushing their cart. And this was the beginning of my delivery job! I started grocery shopping for our neighbors, mostly senior citizens. And winter time became my most busiest season. That smile I rememberedon my grandmas face, now was on my face. They would invite me in, feed me, listen to my stories and paid me money for helping them and being a good girl.
I never knew this was going to affect me for the rest of my life!
Years went by and I earned a lot of pennies.
Suddenly, it all went away. My mother moved me and my sisters away from the city and into the suburbs. The company she was working for moved their business out to the suburbs and asked her to come with them. Fear, sad and alone! I didn’t know if I was ever going to see those people again. I didn’t know who was going to feed me. I was only 9 going on 10. I rememberedmy mother asking me for my money and reminding me to save some for the church because they needed it more then me. After church, my mother would drive me to her work, give me a bucket full of cleaning supplies and explained to me on Sunday’s after church I was going to clean the back of the warehouse. She would leave me there and later would pick me up. Fear! It’s back! But, I did what I was told to do. Like a good girl! I never saw any money! I didn’t realize why until I was older. I rememberedthe holidays, because I was told by my mother to knock on neighbors doors and ask them if they wanted to buy the driftwood center pieces I was selling. When I sold them, I had to go back home and get some more. The money I received from the center pieces sold went to my mother and the church. They needed it more then me. So, I thought! Now, I can’t buy those dishes. So, I surrendered with no hope and knowing we still had the chipped plates and glasses in the cupboard. Giving away my money is what I was taught. Because I thought they needed it more then me. It became a way of life for me. I never knew this was going to affect me for the rest of my life.
School became fun! My gym teacher asked me to join the gymnastics team she coached after school. Yes! I didn’t even think about it. I said, “yes!” I was in 8th grade and didn’t stop until I graduated high school. It changed my whole life! I became a different person! A person who now has some good friends. A person other people cared about. A person that was invited into other people’s homes. A person who now felt loved, needed and respected! Feeling I never felt before! I only knew fear!! Not now, because I knew I was going to see those people again. Sports taught me how to trust, how to be a team player, how to set and achieve goals, how to discipline myself and develop confidence, how to build up my self-esteem and how to care about myself and others. All because I said, “yes!” All because my coach saw something in me that I couldn’t see. I didn’t have to sell door-to-door and I didn’t have to scrub floors. I didn’t have to give all money away, because I didn’t make any money in gymnastics. What I did make was ghost money. Money that can’t buy what gymnastics taught me. Values!! My coach knew I needed it more!! I couldn’t touch my ghost money, but I could touch how I felt and happiness! After high school, it was easy for me to get jobs. Being trained on-the-job made it easy to find other jobs where I was able to make more money. I never only work one job. I worked two! Living on your own meant paying more bills. And, yes I was still giving my money away. Sometimes to my oldest who couldn’t hold down a job and even to people I didn’t know. I thought they needed it more then me! By the time I was 26, the money I was earning just was not enough. I had become a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I went to the bank for the very first time. Fear! It was back! I needed money! It was only me taking care of me. Something I knew how to do very well! I needed money!! I received a large loan from the bank. And, instead of giving it away, I invested it. I bought a 3-flat apartment building. I had no idea this was going to change my life. I became self-employed for the next thirty years. And yes, still giving my money away. I thought they needed it more then me. Today, at the age of 61, I have stopped giving away my money. Now I need it more, not them! I still owe over 80,000 dollars for my home. And, I don’t have it! Jobs are not easy to come by, especially at my age. Fear! It’s back! I wish I knew then what I know now, I would have money. Now I’m asking for money! If you can, please send a donation! Thank you! I’m speechless with gratitude!! I can’t thank you enough