Tuesday, February 21, 2012

GTOC Blog 16....the Courage to Step Forward

More days than not....I am terrified within my own skin.....it actually took my error in the unexpected judgements of my fellow mates, that unwittingly pushed me forward as an Aspiring woman through GTOC.

For many years, I hid the fact that my situation necessitated my need for social assistance to feed and house my family.  I had evolved from employment that paid me far beyond most people's expected salaries, through to a devastating entrance into the social system, because I was starving to death and I would not allow my children to go without food as I had.

The circumstances as to why, are irrelevant when you are starving to death.  With an empty belly it sure is difficult to hold down one or a few minimum wage jobs that barely paid for the fees of babysitters required for a 4 child brood.

Everyday, I dressed like I was worth a million bucks....generous clothing provided by my most dearest of friends, Kimmy or bits and pieces I had sewn together myself.  I would drive to work with the faith that my old van would actually get me home to my babies each night.  I would avoid extra trips into town to save on gas for the old beast.  I would skip several meals in favor of the ability to pay babysitters, so that I would not suffer the indignity of welfare. 

Eventually, the day came.  I solomnly packed my 4 children, all under 12 at the time and took them to the local welfare office.  I do believe the angel across from me, saw the suffering tears in my eyes as I begged her to feed my children.  I wanted nothing.  I had a part time job, a business plan to sell my designed & constructed clothing on line, I had investigated a cheap avenue for a sales job license in real estate and needed help with the fees which I would have gladly paid back through my clothing sales.  I had applied to university to attain my law degree and was accepted.  To this day, I remember her response.  "yes, we will get you set up so that You AND Your children have food and a roof over your heads"  .........and "No , I don't know what to do with you....we don't get a lot of your kind in here.  You know....the ambitious hardworking kind"

Degraded, I would dress the mask of  the "successful" persona each time it was necessary for me to enter the welfare office.  I would investigate all persons on the street prior to my turning to walk down that long walkway into the Social Assistance Building and ashamedly avert my eyes from the cafe dwellers parked at bistro tables outside the office.

For the longest and most painful duration I questioned my own self worth.  I am an intelligent vivacious hardworking woman.  Why when many, who did not know I was on assistance, volunteer their belief in my qualities, ...and the trained consultants within the Government regulated assistance program,...not help me get OFF of assistance?  I was to later discover, it was not in the program.  The program simply covered our basic necessities and as such necessitated our dependency upon it. 

Hence, on one fateful day...the cycle of poverty kicked in.  As I entered the Welfare office, I said "hello" to each person I met by name,.....I routinely checked the minimum wage job posting for anything and exited the building without checking for who had witnessed my digression, afterall, I was disadvantaged by a poor excuse for a husband and father....it was MY RIGHT!!!

I halted as I unlocked my car and a wave of disgust coursed through my body like a wave of nausia.  The system was claiming me and my beautiful children as a victim into the cycle of poverty.  Crying, I raced home, ashamed.   I sat before my children, they knowing I had been crying horribly because my eyes bug out like a stepped on bullfrog at such times. 

In my children's eyes I saw two things.....the fear that like their father, I now would abandon them, a struggle they will have for ever hidden in their psychi   ... and then I saw the belief that I loved them and I would make everything all better....no matter what.  They believed in me.

With a direct focus as to the progressive care and well being of my babies, I approached my father.  "Be the father figure my children need"  please.  I need to work more.  I need to make more money.  My mother was my pillar of support.  My father silently hugged me.  They believed in me.

The day I found out my father was truly dieing, the rake and I had a fight in my back fields that furrowed an acre of rocks and ditches. 

The day he died, I screamed inside.  Abandoned yet again!!!

On my father's first anniversary of his death,  I dreamt he was sitting at the end of my bed, talking like he did in a true storyteller form, about how much he loved my mother.  I awoke in a jolt.  Knowing he had been there and remembering that my mother had booked a mass in memory of him, that very morning.

As I held my mother's hand during my father's anniversary mass, I realized the strength within me was a giving strength.  It was a weakness when aimed towards myself.  But a huge strength when offered to those I believe in.

I believe in my children.  God gave them to me in trust.  Through them I have found my love of life and the freedom to be a Mom...Perhaps not the best Mom, but full of heart and the energy to teach them to love life as I do, and my god they love me beyond my greatest expectations as a Mother!!!

I believe in my Mom.  My hero.  Such endurance.  such love.  such faith. and such undeniable strength in all of these.  And the first and foremost grandest believer in me.

So the day came, when before a crowded room, I unveiled the video that would reveal myself as a disadvantaged woman having been on assistance.  I hid my eyes and cried when the introduction of myself boomed forward across the speakers.  I shook uncontrollably as I continued my unrehearsed speech before the uncaring eyes of the crowd.  Unfair,...there were a few amongst them who listened.  Their hearts also touched by my experiences.  Through the unveiling of this video, there were more than a few that backed away with an uncomfortableness in the realization that I had been a woman on welfare.

I believed in women.  I believed there are women out there, just like me, looking for the path of dignity.  A dignity that the social assistance system guidelines cannot offer them, no matter how wonderful the gov't angel across from them may be.  

I believe in women.  Through an error in the judgment of those who would judge me, I unwittingly stepped forward and I began to talk.  The more I communicated my beliefs in women, the more I discovered there were more women out there like me that would benefit from more guidance throughout the process to regain their dignity in self sustainability versus the system's cycle of poverty.

Glass Tower Offices Corporation, was thusly born.  A child in its crawling stages, supported only in the beliefs of women everywhere who have struggled, who have seen struggle, and are willing to step courageously forward.

Today, I stand before my world, terrified in my own skin.  I am combating a system that would hide it's disadvantaged in shame.  I believe in human dignity.  I believe in women and their strength and ability to step forward irregardless of any adverse conditions. 

I believe we can heal ourselves, together.

Should have you been fortunate enough to have been given a difficult world....then it is you who will most grandly appreciate the world in which we all live and the relationship & integration of love into our world's well being.  It is your strengths that will heal our world of violence and abandonment.

Join me.  Together we will affect change within our society and enable our government workers to aid disadvantaged women to become Aspiring women.  Self sustainable  Aspiring Women.....  V

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