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Your Environment Doesn't Have to Dictate Your Reality

Updated: Mar 11, 2023



On Monday, I brought up two mindsets that we tend to have. We either focus on what we perceive we "can't", or what we perceive that we "can".


I quoted Jesse Jackson because I identify with his statement. You see, I was born into poverty. I was born to a teen mother, that was also born to a teen mother. I am the eldest of seven. There is a 21 year gap between me and the youngest. If you wonder why I brought this up, it's because of those 21 years, my mother didn't take on the role of an employee. She was content with the title of "homemaker".


Relevance you might ask? Here it is.


Most of my life, I watched relatives live off of government assistance. I witnessed the panic of these relatives when new regulations (a 2 year limit) were imposed. I marveled at the ones who became employed, then quit when they would qualify for unemployment benefits. There was also a tendency to strive for disability payments as well by "capitalizing" on mental health.


You see, from the start, my environment taught me that, poverty was the way to go. You can work the system in your favor. It's okay if your children go without. You don't need to work to make a living. You don't have to shoot for the stars. Dreams are irrelevant. Just go to school to be sure you can qualify for these benefits. Could you imagine the path that was set before me?


As an adult, I told myself, "I will be responsible, I will work, I will pay my bills, and I will never get on welfare". I was adamant about it. It became my pride until "never say never" showed me it's face. There I was, in the welfare office. I was homeless with my first child and temporarily living as a single mother at 20 years old. The worker told me what I qualified for. Pridefully, I asked her to close the case. She peered at me and asked, " if you need the help, why don't you get it?"


It was in that moment, everything that I told myself I stood for was challenged. I had to make a choice. Was I going to succumb to my pride? Would I take the help and use it to set me and my child on a stable path that we needed? I got the help. Years later, I needed the help multiple times and it pained me every, single, time.


Nevertheless, I stand today, wiser and more humble. I learned how to manage the "nothing" that we had as a family. I helped my family (child, spouse and I), survive and thrive by making the most out of the little. That's what TCB is about. I will be sharing how we overcame dire financial crisis time after time. And, how the pandemic became a favorable time period for me (I became consumer debt free).


So you see, like Jesse Jackson, I may have been born in a slum, but the slum definitely not born in me!






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