What happens when a desert rat moves out of the desert? Life, the universe, and everything! The way I see it and take it all in, anyway.
Sunday, May 03, 2015
Blocked then unblocked
Could someone suddenly remember something they had previously blocked? I was asking myself that question a lot today, because of something that happened last night. Then I recalled reading a novel about how a woman had that very thing happen to her. It’s possible that happens in real life. Quite possible. Last night, Jennifer revealed to me that she had suddenly remembered something from her past. Something she had previously blocked out. She remembers what it was like to be hungry and not have much food available to eat. She shared this with us last night and I started to worry because I knew exactly what she was talking about. This was from the time that she was 4 years old and her father and I were divorced. (He and I later reconciled, and that was the BEST decision I had ever made!!) Because I have a fixed monthly income and also because child support was not legally enforced, meaning we only got it in bits and pieces, and also because I didn’t have a job, food was pretty scarce for us. It took a while before I FINALLY got work, while also getting $10 a month in food stamps, before we were financially able to buy a good weekly supply of food again. (I guess the food stamp people didn’t REALIZE I was on my own and had to pay for everything with my monthly check, and that I DID NOT have a job to help us out, because they only gave us $10 a month. The food stamp system is a joke.) My friend Jimmy also helped us out. Sometimes, he took us out to eat. And my family wired us money a couple of times, which was used to buy food.
But before that time, yes, things were pretty hard. We really struggled. And there were many days that Jennifer had to deal with hunger.
This was just a really difficult time. Honestly, I am not surprised she blocked it out. We had no family in the area or even in the state. We had no support system to help her deal with her depression or conflicts about the divorce. And I tried to get involved with the church to help us out but that only went so far. (And then there was the time the church people came to my house with a food package one day, only to email me the next and say, “Your daughter told me she was cold.”)
I was actually relieved to learn that Jennifer had blocked it out. I would have wanted to do the same. But now she’s starting to remember things from that time, and it bothers me. No child should have to experience hunger. And the divorce just broke her young heart. I feel terrible because I caused all of that. It was My Fault that I put my little girl through that kind of hell.
Am I worried she’ll resent me because of it? Yes. But I can’t really focus on that right now. I mean, if she wants to know more about that part of our past, then I will tell her the WHOLE story. I will answer all of her questions and explain to her why this or that happened. But not right now. The Big Thing that I AM focusing on right now is the fact that she had to deal with going hungry. She went through that experience. And it just sucks!
And as much as I hate myself for causing that, I am also taking action. I really do not want her to go through that again. Her and her brother. I don’t want my kids to go hungry if ever we end up on our own again.
Right now, things are good for us. My kids can have new clothes. There’s food in the house. They have a roof over their heads, etc. They have everything they need. They are okay.
And I know they say that when things are good, you should prepare for the bad. So rather than continuing to kick myself over all of that past stuff, I will instead work on making sure it DOES NOT happen again. I need to set something up so that we can have something to help us buy food when the bad times strike.
And while it’s a nice thought to put away some money I earn each month from a job, I unfortunately do not currently HAVE a job. I have been without work for a couple of months. My ghostwriting client has disappeared. (So much for “ongoing work”!!) And I’m dealing with health issues right now preventing me from doing manual work. So I am restructuring the budget plan I use for my monthly check so that I can set something aside each month. At least THAT check is a reliable source of income for us! I will need to figure out what I can take from it to save as “emergency food money” and set something up from there. Should we ever end up on our own again, I won’t allow my children to be cold and hungry. No way do I want my daughter to ever experience what it’s like to deal with hunger again. Once is enough. Should we ever be on our own again, my kids won’t suffer for it, because this time, I will be ready.
Writing by the name of Dawn Colclasure (my maiden name). Author of books for children as well as poetry books, writing books and books on the paranormal. I occasionally collaborate on books with Martha Jette or Jennifer Wilson.
Former editor and publisher of Burning the Midnight Oil Book Zine. Book reviewer for Night Owl Reviews.