Saturday, December 22, 2012

just share

so there are a few conversations i have way too often with people.

they vary in frequency depending on life situations.

the parenting discussions don't happen quite as frequently now that my kids are bigger. there are no longer the talks of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, vaccinations and blah blah blah things that don't really matter because in the end every mother mothers the way that she feels is right.

but discussions often lead to three things:
my parenting
my finances
how all homeless people/people on welfare are looking for free handouts because they're too lazy to work

back when faith was a tiny babe i belonged to the nest, which is a follow up to the knot...that site where brides pat each other on the back for being pretty enough to have captured a man.

there was a discussion on food stamps and i immediately got bashed for collecting them at the time.
never mind that cory was working full time, we were both going to school full time, and the only way for me to go to work would be to dump faith in a dhs approved day care because there was no way we could've afforded it. it was one of the worst internet experiences i've ever had. i was a new mother doing the best she could and here were these other privileged women who had never known what it was to go without telling me that what i was doing was shameful. that i was letting them support me because i was too lazy to go out & get a job.

ever since then i've kept it quiet when we've gone through hard times and collected food benefits.
going through the line at the grocery store with 3 kids in tow means i hang my head low & turn on super stealth mode so that no one around me sees i'm using an ebt card.

but people never stop to hear my story. instead they judge me because they think i shouldn't have children if i can't afford to feed them without assistance. and these are the same pro-life nut jobs who would've judged me should i have chosen to not have those children. and the thing is that fuck you, my kids are amazing. they're going to grow up, do wonderful things and make an impact in their community. if my body could handle it i'd go full dugger and pop out dozens more. so basically this argument is completely invalid.

and that's enough ranting about my situation. but really my only goal was to use our family as an example.

the numbers of people sitting on street corners with signs and cups asking for help has increased drastically. it's impossible to drive through downtown okc and not see them huddled in their sleeping bags, crowding around the bus station hoping for some warmth on their bodies and in their bellies.

about 3 weeks ago a beautiful woman struck up a conversation with me. i was sitting by the fountains in one of our city gardens, reading. she was snacking on some crackers and drinking a bottle of water.

i remembered seeing someone i greatly admire on twitter say "sometimes homeless people just want someone to talk to" and i immediately put down my book, ignored my phone and gave her my full attention.

she had come here from trinidad to find a job and have a better life. she'd come with a friend & they had great plans. now she's found herself here, with an expired green card and nowhere to go. green card means no job. no job means no money. and money, of course, means no housing. she had nothing more than the clothes on her back and those snacks that some kind soul had bought her earlier in the day.

she didn't ask me for money. she didn't ask me for food. she just wanted to talk. she tearfully told me that none of the three churches she tried that morning could help her and she didn't know where she was going to go.

i gave her all i had on me, which was $4 in cash, a handful of change, and a free drink voucher to starbucks. that free drink voucher, you guys. her eyes lit up & she exclaimed "i can get a hot chocolate!"

and hers is another story that should be heard. it's not a case of being lazy, a junkie needing another fix, or someone trying to swindle you out your obviously hard earned 20 dollar bill. she was a friendly young woman who was down on her luck and just needed a helping hand.

we put so much of our self worth in our things, don't we? our money, our houses, our cars, our clothes. and in the end does it really matter? if someone is sitting there asking for our help it's not our job to judge them publicly or humiliate them. it's not our job to interrogate them or hand them job applications telling them to get a job. our job is to love.

and love is one of those things that so many of us are lacking. it never ceases to amaze me how many people have lost basic human compassion. they forget that they're just a few bad circumstances from being in the exact same place others are.

lumping everyone into the same category does them such a disservice. and it actually hurts us more than anyone else. to find ourselves so calloused and angry that we can't just let our guard down and trust that to those people a cold bottle of water, or whatever small amount of change you have in your car won't be appreciated.

i can't tell you how many countless times i've rolled down my window and given someone whatever i had on me, whether it was a 10 dollar bill, a granola bar, a free voucher to some food somewhere along with a smile that i haven't been thanked over and over again.

and you know what? my children see that. they witness cory and i spread love when we can. and that means that they will grow to be compassionate people who will hopefully do the same some day.

because in a world where so much is wasted we really do have so much to give.

and a side note: all these thoughts were spawned by a local business that exchanged hateful words of judgment towards those in need using their public business named social media. it shocked me, saddened me, and has been at the forefront of my mind for the last 2 days.

but the irony of the situation is that she did nothing but solidify my feelings. i'm using her as an example to my children today as to why love is so much more powerful than hate. why we should never judge a book by its cover, and to always remember compassion.

so really maybe i should be thanking her. and the people of this city should be thanking her. because she can be damn sure i'll be giving as much as we possibly can to everyone i come across that's in need.

love, guys. it's all that matters... so cliche to say, but so true.

and to quote a friend on facebook "It is just food..share it".


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