*People cared about toxic LEAD exposure to children the way they care about how some dudes tackle each other in tight pants with an oblonged shaped ball.
* People got “up in arms” when a family like mine could not hold those accountable for our daughter’s high lead exposure, the way they do over whether Beyoncé is a true feminist icon or if Macklemore deserves to be in the rap game.
* Sherman Willams, lead producers, and other paint companies were held LIABLE EVERYWHERE for their creation, development, marketing (to children), and disgusting lobbying of the lead paint industry; like how a judge in California ruled late last year and continues to uphold his ruling against said companies.
* The laws were set up to actually protect children and families in Chicago instead of just allowing for some arbitrary space to exist where landlords and property owners don’t have to test for lead and provide a safe space, so long as they pass out some stupid photocopied “lead safety pamphlet” and make renters sign a waiver.
*Lead Remediation was a phrase that didn’t instill the fear of too many dollar signs in property owners/homeowners/renters so that everyone could do The Right Thing to properly remove, ahem remediate, lead hazards from ALL homes. All the them. Every single last solitary home where a child is residing.
* Lead paint wasn’t still being used today on childrens’s products…I get at least one monthly recall notice regarding some child’s clothing or toy or furniture that high higher than allowed levels of lead paint. What. The…..???
* The film MisLEAD by Tamara Rubin would get the same kind of traction, attention as some of these other “very important” documentaries.
* Most people didn’t roll their eyes when they start to hear me talk about “our experience” this past year, or try to brush me along by quickly saying “S is fine, she doesn’t seem affected by the exposure at all.”
* I had a good space and place, besides this blog, to talk about all this and get it out and away from my every day.
* We knew exactly how our daughter was affected (or not) by her high lead exposure so that we could plan for the rest of our lives.
* Submissions I entered regarding lead poisoning and awareness, were taken as seriously as some stupid posts about traveling with a toddler or how I made some cardboard tube Halloween Village for my daughter.
* I could write about something other than this experience, my feelings, the uneasiness with which acclimating back to Chicago has dumped on me- more than the 50 plus inches of snowfall thus far.
If anyone is tired of hearing me talk about LEAD, trust me…it’s ME. I didn’t want to know everything I know now. I also didn’t want my daughter to be the one who suffered for her parent’s ignorance, so of course as soon as we got the call that our girl had a BLL of 15 back in Dec 2012, I began to educate OUR ENTIRE FAMILY….. And anyone else who wanted to listen/read.
Most of my thoughtful planned out writing pieces have not been delivered (to you readers) on the wings of cartoon blue birds flying alongside adorable deers prancing through the woods to magikal education/awareness land. I’ve written completely in-the-moment, raw, real, and honest accounts of what we have gone through as a family since December 3, 2012; and what I have been working through as a caring, loving, wanting-better-than-the-best-for-my-child mama. Is that all I am made up of? I am only the sum of these past 14 months of differing parts? Obviously not. Otherwise I don’t think I would even be writing what I’m writing right now….right? But you see, it’s hard not to feel like now I am only ever going to be the mama of a lead poisoned child who at the scariest moments when everything was transpiring was treated like absolute shite by those she thought she loved and trusted. I suppose that is my still very hurt heart speaking, but it is makes it no less the truth, my truth.
The truth is, a part of me always hopes or believes that something good has to come out of our trials & tribulations – which I’ve seen with my own eyes how other families I know have taken the necessary steps to protect their own families because of us, yay. So when I’ve doubted pressing that “Publish” button because “Nobody reads my blog anyway, I’m not famous, I’m not selling or hawking anything, I’m not giving lifestyle techniques, I’m just another mom with a lead poisoned child that can sometimes put words together nicely,” I ALWAYS hit that Publish button. In fact, when I would doubt myself the most is when I would hit that button faster, because I believed somewhere inside me, that someone would appreciate what I was writing….
I would love nothing more than to refocus back in on my creative self, on my creative life with my daughter. That in fact was my original plan with starting up this blog, linking up on social networking sites, trying to join up with other creative mamas… I would love the time and head/heart space to devote back to how I express myself creatively. All those half embroideries over there in that unpacked box in the corner? Yeah, I’d like to finish them. That (really cute vintage B&W samsonite) suitcase with journals and journals and journals and journals and journals filled with writing? Yeah, I’d still like to get those going too. That additional suitcase of sketchbooks filled with children’s book ideas that I only started a couple years ago when I found out I was preggo? Yeah I’d like to do something with those. All my metal working tools and metal stock sitting atop my jewelry making cabinet that was passed down to me from Columbia? Yeah, I’d LOVE to make more awesome rings and necklaces. All those awesome tattoo sketches I’ve been carrying around for years? It’d be great if I could afford those. Wanting to spruce up my hair color and cut? That’d be nice. And lastly, that huge file folder of all my research on lead poisoning (the history, lobbying industry, current remediating conditions, other articles like the big Mother Jones one from last year) that I wanted to write some kind of piece de Fuck Off Lead!?? Yeah, that’s something I still have my mind on pretty much every time I read another new story of another family experiencing what we have.
If Only I had the time…..
Look, I get it. When I signed up for this parenting gig, they told me at the audition that there was a distinct possibility that my creative self as I knew it then would have to be put on hold for a while… Or that perhaps the creative self would be changed in some way by my motherhood experience. I knew what I was getting into with becoming a parent and so I in NO WAY harbor resentment towards my child for taking some precious time away from me. If anything, I only continue to be inspired and motivated more with every day and moment I spend raising our beautiful little girl. Although it is nice to have a break every now and then and I relish any moment of mom reprieve that I can have when my AuntMom or UnclePapa come to visit and spend time with our girl. So me writing about wanting more time for my creative self has nothing to do with my parenting of the past two years.
However it does have EVERYTHING to do with this lead poisoning business…. This “must move out and be without a home with all our belonging in storage to protect our child business.” This finding out how the world really works, or doesn’t in most cases, business… This overcoming crippling anxiety and depression business…..This losing of multiple friendships/close relationships business….This acclimation back to a city I still love, but no longer trust business…… This 1,000 weight of relationship instability put on my 130 lb frame is as my little girl would say! “Too much.” They did not talk to me about this in the audition. So this as “they” would say is LIFE. It’s unpredictable and messy and gross and lovelybeautifulwonderful, and scary, and challenging and I wouldn’t change any of it. Okay, except for the stupid lead exposure bs, that I would totally change. But everything else, we cool.
Now, if only I had the time, monetary, and family-watch-the-kiddo resources to finally get our home unpacked, organized, and together enough so that my brain could be clear again to either finish up some of these creations just sitting around in old suitcases and boxes OR start up new ones. If only, not everyone we knew was busy hustling to make there own way in this world so that we could see people again. If only this stupidgross winter would kindly pack it up and head to a place that’s a bit more welcoming to its ways, like Antarctica. No really, that would be nice. If only I didn’t have to now go wake up my daughter out of her deep slumber, that she really needs to stay in, so that I can take 20 mins just trying to get our winter gear on and the car started, so that we can spend the day taking good care of another’s kiddo…. But I’m loving the work and the family, so there you go. If only there were magikal elves who came out at night to unpack and organize the rest of our unpacked house…That would be nice.
If you read my previous pieces from the past month or so, I’m happy to report and share that through some regular at home yoga practice, good hard work, and just taking moments to be and breathe, I have totally kicked all those panic attacks of late last year. I knew I would have to for my own sake and my family’s, but I’ve been able to really work through the processing of all these changes on my own terms and in my own way. I’m still really interested in going back to doing some talk therapy again, because therapy why not? But this will be more as a proactive measure vs a must find a helpful solution because this is all just too much right now solution. So there’s that.
To finish out my earlier thoughts from above….
Look I “get it” okay? There’s a whole big crazy, complex, annoying, frighteningly beautiful, complex, totally simple, frustrating, quite lovely, intense, strange, challenging, graceful, clumsy, bewitching world out there. Everyone has a struggle story. Everyone has their goals, dreams, desires, wants, needs that they get to address and play out (if they’re lucky). So I understand the eye rolls, lack of seriousness with which our situation has been perceived by SOME, and general disinterest in something like Lead Poisoning. I actually really don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to be interested in removing lead hazards for ALL CHILDREN, but most people don’t want to do anything about anything until it affects them personally My concern is that I see my space for activism on behalf of my family becoming smaller and smaller now that we’re in a new home and trying to “settle.” But let me reiterate that just because we are in a new home and (thankfully) our girl’s lead levels are at a 4 -which is just under the “level of concern.” That does NOT mean that this is all over. This will never be all over because I am a loving, involved, caring, active parent and I am my child’s advocate. She needs me to help her learn this world she’s been brought into and protect her as best I can. I take this job very seriously; because I know in just a few short years, I will have to let her go out there on her own to live out her own goals, dreams, and desires in this beautiful, crazy, challenging, bewitching world. After the past 14 months I fully understand that I will not be able to control everything for my child….
What I will never understand is how anyone could have been a close part of our lives, cared about this amazing little girl in any possible way, or maybe they didn’t like me that much anymore but heard of our story…. And for some reason couldn’t be human enough to at least reach out. Or at the very least NOT be completely, totally, and utterly absent. I try to find peace every day with “this part” of the past 14 months, and it is a challenge. It is MY BIG
FRUSTRATION CHALLENGE right now as I nest comfortably in our beautiful new home and continue processing everything. I know that I cannot make others care about our family or even take a moment to educate themselves on the dangers of toxic lead exposure in their homes. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing, talking, nor advocating for my child. If anything it will only make my fingers weak from typing so much, my voice hoarse from projecting loudly & proudly, and my awaken my inner activist again. strong>IF ONLY I could get others to jump on board with us…..
Thanks for taking the time to read my mom/me musings.
Hellos from Our Most Lovely (still unpacking) Chicago Homestead,
If you’ve come here to read some more of my words, thank you.
I know I have a tendency to write pretty stream-of-consciousness, free write kind of stuffs; and I can be a bit windy, turning, swirly with some of my points. Usually though if you hang in there with me, I will get there eventually…. I promise. Actually “hanging in there with me and I will get there eventually I promise,” is pretty much my MO as of late.
This post is coming out of a need, desire, drive to transcend this very deep, dark, anxiety fueled, depressive place I can no longer fight and must continue to admit that I am in right now. If you know me, know me; then you KNOW that ideally I am a happy, outgoing, fun, hilarious, sarcastic, honest, open, loving, all-around-good-gal-to-know. I would do anything to help a friend and am a pretty good listener. The past year has not changed me entirely as a person, but it has impacted me greatly.
Of course it has. I mean le duh: we find out our daughter has lead poisoning from our home, put all our belongings in storage and start bouncing around all over the MW and NE United States staying with family FOR A YEAR, I loose not one but three long time (and I thought dear) friendships, due to the natural progression of life I have to let go of previous friend dynamics I thought I had with my old future family because that’s how things are (just really bad timing for my heartmind), my relationship with my daughter’s father is pretty non existent except we definitely love each other as people and are good friends (and he is standing by me with strong support as I work through all this stuff now), the holidays sucked -like chock full of suck so bad- and I’m coming to terms with the fact that my daughter will have very little active family time when it comes to her dad’s family because they all have their own lives. Lastly, we are now in this new home with old stuff that I simultaneously want to “just get rid of it all!” and “No No wait, don’t throw that out and don’t tell me I have to get rid of everything, I need to choose to let stuff go!”
Got all that?
So I “get” that we all have our own roads/paths/struggles/trials/tribulations etc. I respect that perhaps another person in this same situation might not feel the need to write all this stuff out and they may not even need to process anything because “life is life and you just need to keep on moving forward.” I am NOT that person. I’m not going to apologize for who I am but instead embrace who I am and this great time of intense melancholia I am living through; and figure this out, work through my shit, come out a better, stronger, and happier version of myself. I have to. I am MOM. My daughter cannot wait around while I try to process, work through, and heal. Nor can MY anxieties become HER anxieties. In just this simple statement and acknowledgement of who I am and where we are, I feel like I am already breaking free of my mother’s curse.
My Mother’s Curse.
I’ve been fearful that I too was going to have schizophrenia (or the bad voices disease) since I was 10. Slowly over the years and with a lot of expensive talk therapy, I have been breaking free of it. When I turned 35 and my daughter was only a month and a half old, I sighed all the sighs of relief because statistically, if schizophrenia is going to come on (in the way it did for my mother) it would have been in the late 20′s/early 30′s range. So at 35, I felt I was in the clear, and could carry on with a normal life. I was also reassured constantly by all my health care peoples, that my percentage was so little that it was nothing to worry about. Has it been a perfect, smooth ride, kind of journey all these years? Absolutely not. Would I change any of it? Maybe little bits for the sake of others who had to “deal with me” and my emotional upheavals, recoveries, and “growth processing,” aka my entire mid-late 20′s and early 30′s. For the most part though, I’ve always come out of every scenario, situation, challenging circumstance a stronger, confident, and more mature woman. Becoming a mother to this amazing little creature is truly the best thing that could have “happened.” Which is why I am so aware, so concerned, so trying to take control of these latest panic attacks, anxieties, and deep waves of depression.
The panic attacks and anxiety are new to me. The way that they appear to come on, overtake me, and paralyze my thinking, rational brain is intense for me. It was (note I say was) all encompassing. Like, I couldn’t get out of bed and just stayed in the fetal position crying all day on Christmas and the day after.
Happy fucking Holidays eah? Barf! Then, the panic attacks started two days after Christmas. I couldn’t breathe nor get a grip on my physical body; after just trying to start to unpack and clean the dust off of things. My only coping mechanism was to talk it out with my partner and breathe slowly. Because realistically what else can I do? Up till about 6 days ago, I couldn’t even say the sentence: The worst that happens is that Lil S’s lead levels go up again because of re-exposure to lead dust and we work to get them down. I couldn’t even think this, let alone say this out loud to others without having a full on I feel like I’m having a heart attack and my brain is falling out panic attack. I’m fine to admit, that it’s been bad for me. Not for our daughter, just for me, and my partner who’s had to support me as best he can. He is a good friend to me, which is what I need right now.
Great, so how does this play into the whole “Mentally Ill Mama” thing?
When I feel like I’m out of control (even though I’m not), I immediately think “What if THIS is the thing that finally makes me crack? What if I end up like my mom? What if my behaviors negatively impact my daughter? What if my daughter ends up having emotional issues?” What if, what if, what if??? Just FYI, the WHAT IF GAME is not a good place to live and grow a family, I know this and for the most part I do not live in this world, it has just been the past year. This seriously go effe yourself 2013 year I had. The thing is, no matter how much I research, no matter how many times I’ve been told by professionals how non existent my chances are to be stricken with My Mother’s Curse, it still enters my coping process, which is so not helpful when trying to just handle the things directly in front of me.
This. This is one of the most effed up things about having a mother with a severe mental illness and it may be something I struggle with my whole life till……
Good news though. As of today, the panic attacks are lessening and my general mood is getting “better.” The more we unpack and clean and test our house for lead dust and I CAN SEE WITH MY OWN TWO EYES that everything is okay here, the less anxious I’ve become. Which makes sense right? Of course it does. Unpacking, cleaning, and testing our home&stuff is something that is active and is something I have control of right now. Pardon me, but it’s a fuck of a lot to just “handle gracefully,” as was suggested to me that I do by one of my family members over the holidays. They know fuck all about me and my life, so I took what they said with a laugh. A big belly laugh.
So yes, I am feeling better today.
I’m feeling a bit more in control of things today.
I’m feeling less like I’m swinging around my mother’s curse and more like I’ve landed in my own life, and am exactly where I need to be right now, for me and for my family.
I’m feeling strong and confident in my mothering skills and my dedication to my daughter’s health, well being, and happiness.
I’m feeling mostly okay with turning 37 in 3 days. I mean, even with all this stress and a few grey hairs dancing atop my head, I still look pretty young and I have a lot of energy -thanks for my BFF coffee addiction. So I got that going for me….
Actually, I have a whole heck of a lot going for me. I really do. I have people who care about me and my daughter. I have at least two good people who have stepped up as Lil S’s grandparent figures and are active and present in her life. We’ve got a safe and beautiful home with two wonderful landlord/neighbors. I’ve got my physical health in tact and eat pretty darned well. I’ve got a good, loving, partnership with my dear friend. I’ve got an amazing bond/relationship with my little girl. Things ARE GOOD. I see this, I know this.
The nanny job I have for a little while here is helping a lot. Like a whole bunch a lot. Like it really means so very much to my heartmindsoul that these wonderful friends trust me with their daughter and are happy to have Lil S and I in their day- to-days. At first I was concerned that with being still very unsettled in our new home, adding on a full time job may not be the best thing for us, but it’s turning out to be exactly what WE need right now (thank you C for this opportunity, because I know you read my blog). I get to teach Lil S about playing with and helping younger children (which she just loves by the way- especially the feeding part, she loves to feed the baby). I get to teach myself even greater patience and treat each moment with the girls with love, respect, and a calmness I haven’t had in the past year or so. Let’s not forget, I also get to hang out with a cool cutie baby who is the sweetest little soul on this planet. It’s a very healing workspace, which is what I need right now.
All of this makes me feel good about myself, my place in this world, my mothering, our future, and even my current state of melancholia. An old friend expanded my way of thinking about our dips into melancholic times in our lives, to basically pay attention to what is happening within you and around you. These “low” or “down” times are there to inform us about different parts of ourselves, and if we pay close attention -and if you’re lucky to be any type of artist/expresser etc- then something really amazing, profound, and beautiful can come out of such a dark time. To be a complete and total nerd for all things introspective, I hope I’m able to gain a lot out of this period in my life and maybe even get back to my art again now that we have a home.
Eventually I will appreciate where we came from; in regards to all the lead poisoning nonsense, education/truth telling about the state of lead in this country, and helping others through our experience; not yet though. I am still most definitely processing and working through everything from the past year. It’s not going to change over night, I know this. Just as I know my brief respite from panic attacks may be just that- a brief respite. The work and healing starts now, for me and myself and my heartmindsoul. The fact that I can do this, still be present and active with my child, admit where I am weak & struggling, and start to make some jokes about it while doing the work to heal and process; is a pretty good sign that I again have broken free of My Mother’s Curse.
Because the truth is, and my reality is: While I may have a mother with a mental illness, her illness is NOT my life. I do not have to accept nor display weirdo pictures of her. I do not owe her anything more than allowing her to know her granddaughter and get to know me again. I do not have to answer any one of her NINE phone calls in three days (15 phone calls as of today). Yes, she’s just calling to ask if I got the card with the pictures, but because of her illness since I haven’t answered nor returned her calls, her messages get more and more impatient and erratic. Yay! Fun! Which just so you don’t think me the asshole, I’ve already explained to her that we can talk on the weekend. I am too busy with my 7:30am-5:30 pm work schedule and home life by myself M-F, that having chats on the phone are not my priority. She said she understood. And yet, here I am with a full VM box of all of her messages. Jealous? Yeah, I thought so.
Whatever. It is what it is. Just like this blog and these two posts are what they are. I’m doing a follow up list post after I finish this one, just to make my thoughts more succinct for …… myself? You who are reading this? My friends and family who read this? My daughter? My processing? My healing? All of it? Its such a shame that I purchased the domain for “HellosFromTheHomestead.com” as a way to start my own artistic business while incorporating elements of this new motherhood thing and even collaboration with my little human. Instead, it wound up being a a documentation and personal journal of dealing with stupid lead poisoning the past year. Hopefully THIS YEAR will be the year I can pull it all together, turn things around, transcend the lead thing; and get this blog&me working again….
All this and more is what makes me ME. And not just the daughter of a Mother who is Mentally Ill.
Thanks for reading.
Light and Love from the New Homestead,
***also you should really read this post titled “Why It is Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound : http://womboflight.com/2014/01/18/why-its-crucial-for-women-to-heal-the-mother-wound/
Talk about wow!!!
…..And You’re a Mother to a Daughter
…..And You’re Experiencing Serious Anxiety and Depression
A few days ago, on January 13th, I received a Valentine’s Day card from my mom with some pictures of her and her cats. I immediately threw them into the trash -sorry earth landfill, I just can’t have those photos near me (okay well the card I threw into the recycling bin cause it was paper). It’s fine, more than likely she will never come to our home and expect to see those pictures somewhere. Also, these are the first photos she’s ever sent me, ever. I don’t want them. Seems a bit harsh huh? Or dramatic? Or unnecessary? Or mean, as my mom would say. Everything is either nice or mean with her. If I accept her daily phone calls, let her try to say hi to her granddaughter through the scratchy speakerphone and even scratchier 40 year smoking habit she has, then I’m nice. If I ask her if she’s getting her shots, question whether that neighbor of hers is actually saying he’s gonna rape her (for some reason my mother’s brain is obsessed with rape), or if I put limitations on how often she can call me (I have), then I’m mean.
Perhaps it is mean of me to throw some pictures of my mom who is trying as hard as she can to “be normal” and just send a few “cute” photos of her and her cats. But her high fashion makeup techniques from the 80′s make me cringe, and no offense to the cute kitties in the pics, but it all goes into the trash. Those pictures do not go up on my fridge, I will not be sharing them with my daughter, and I will not be putting them into a frame; because they creep me out. To me, they are not pretty/beautiful representations of a loving, kind, caring mother/daughter relationship.
My mother used to be beautiful. Like stone cold fox, stop traffic, cartoon wolf whistle kind of beautiful. She had perfect teeth and a small perfect frame, which is why she did a significant amount of modeling and some acting in the mid-late 80′s. It’s also why I grew up in Southern California. She could never do runway modeling because she was only 5’2, but she was Connie Sellica’s (sp) stand in for that TV show “Hotel.” She also got compared to Crystal Gale and Susan Lucci a lot. Actually she was ALWAYS mistaken for Susan Lucci. So that should give you some idea of her outer beauty. For the most part her inner beauty was equally matched. She had a laugh like no one else I have ever met. In fact, she taught me how to laugh from my guts, “Laugh big, laugh boldly, let your laugh be infectious,” she would tell me. I still take those words to heart and am never really capable of a fake laugh.
When I was 10 my mother started “hearing voices.” That’s actually not fair of me to put “hearing voices” in quotes because for her they are all too real and still are a part of her day to day. Without giving the long drawn out history of my mother’s dissent into Paranoid Schizophrenia let me give a quick timeline in my ages of growth:
In 1987 I was 10 years old – Mom had a huge emotional breakup with “the guy she thought could propel her acting career.” Shortly after the big break up, she started “acting weird” and “saying strange things” or asking me “did you just hear that.” She also started taking her problems/issues/stresses out on me with physical/mental/and emotional abuse. I never told any of my family members back in the Midwest because I really didn’t understand what was going on. Also, my “relationship” with my father was strained because quite honestly, he’s not a very good person, so I never told him what was happening when I would have to come visit for the holiday and summer.
11-14 years old- The worst of everything happened during this time. My father stopped talking to me for a while, then he got married and I was a Jr bridesmaid, then he stopped talking to me again. My mother slowly spiraled out of control, always turning to my grandfather for help, but never showing herself completely. I was in Junior High School and dealt with all the normal complexities of growing up poor and going to school with rich kids. For the most part the arts/writing/dance/ and PE classes probably “saved me.” I also took up smoking, drinking, and a regular pot habit by the time I finished up 8th grade….and a pretty stellar skateboarding style. During this time, the voices became louder for my mother, the abuse became more extreme, and I started to try and tell family members what was going on, but nobody listened.
14 & 15 years old- I started at one high school and did not do good in school even though I was smart. I just didn’t care. Why was I going to waste time sitting in a class trying to “teach me” something when nobody would listen to me about my mom. The drug habit expanded in some pretty major ways. Somehow, even with all my non caring, non attending of classes, I still managed to pull out of 9th grade with a high C Average, a love for literature, and a serious interest in all things math and science related. At home, the abuse became more intense and severe but I started fighting back because I grew taller/got bigger than my mom. My mom started dating that same guy who “destroyed her” in 87′ in the hopes that he would kick start her career again. But that ended tragically and she is still convinced he killed her cat and still talks about it to this day.
15 & just two months into turning 16- I started selling some drugs, had parties at our new apartment by the high school I wanted to go to, and made actually some pretty stellar friendships with people I’m still close with. I “fell in love” with a ‘bad boy’ and tried to do any and everything to impress him. Oh god, I’m grossing myself out just writing that. But whatever, I was 15. At this point I was on an almost 2 year hiatus from speaking with my father. And my mother…..was bad. All the time. 24 hours a day/8 days a week. There were rarely any good times and I was so high on trying to just not be in that home with her, that I did any and everything to stay away….till she would leave for work on the weekends and then we would have “rage-ers” at my apartment. I may have done some illegal things from time to time and am so lucky I never got caught. Never not once. It’s almost unreal how lucky I actually am in that regard. I started relying on my friends for help and luckily a dear sweet soul of a guy friend (not boyfriend but a guy who was a dear friend) lived in the apartment building next door, so when my mother would say freak out on me and call me the devil and then beat me in the face with a porcelain green bear piggy bank, I would run next door to my friend and his dad. I am still always thankful for those brief moments of respite.
January 24th, 1993. 16th birthday- A small group of my friends and I were maybe experimenting with some hallucinogens, when my mom tried to take us out for pizza for my bday. “Dude Jess, your mom…has a tail.” was all anyone could say as we all awkwardly tried to eat pizza. Shortly after the birthday, things went from worse to nuclear in every sector of my young life: I was failing at school, I was really sick with mono (that I got from my mom NOT a dude thankyouverymuch), the abuse was getting way way way worse including more household disciplinary tools, and I was beyond “not in a good place.” I can confidently say that I was on a path to dying or killing myself with drugs or getting into some major major trouble with the law. A dear friend reached out to my dad or nanny (my brit grandmother), and some letter writing commenced basically letting them know what was going on and that I needed some pretty serious help and intervention. Which is why in March of 1993, after two years of having nothing to do with me, my father and Nanny flew out to California and basically kidnapped me out of my horrible situation. It really was the best thing that could have been done for me, even though I only ended up living with him for 3 years after that because my dad is my dad and is still not a kind, patient, caring individual. But that’s a whole other story.
From what I remember, my mother didn’t try to fight with the courts too much in regards to my father getting custody of me. She never flew back and tried to make court dates. She did get a lawyer to represent her, but nothing was ever “done” in the courts with regards to my “accusations” against my mother about neglect and abuse. Nothing was ever looked into regarding my “accusations” regarding my mother’s mental state. She was just left out there in Calif to her own devices and I was left to rebuild myself in my father’s new home, a new state, in a new high school, into a new life.
Fortunately, I was in fact able to turn everything around while in the “care” and custody of my father and stepmother. I was able to forge some pretty strong and important friendships and relationships, most of which are still going strong today. I was able to excel in high school but not isolate myself in my studies. I was able to start at a good Community College immediately following graduation from BHS and fall in love with the artistic side of me, forge more of the most important and strongest friendships I still have today, and harness my inner activist so that I could go out and “save the world.” When it became apparent that living in my father’s home was no longer healthy nor productive for any of us- most importantly ME after he beat me senseless and destroyed my room for coming home late- I left in the middle of the night with the help of those good friends I’ve mentioned. I have never spoken to my father since….and that was 1996.
Did I run back into the arms of my mother who magically received the help she needed and turned her own life around? No. No, because while my mother was finally thrown into a facility after causing a scene after my high school graduation, and my family finally could see and admit that something was not right with her, and she did spend some time in a couple facilities getting kinda-sorta diagnosed and kinda-sorta medicated; she still was able to leave the Midwest, go back to California and live away from all of us. The state of mental health organizations back then was that she would have had to endanger herself or others or “do something” in order for us to get her into a facility out there, so we didn’t. And at 19 and having just gone out on my own, I sure as hell was not focusing any attention on her whatsoever considering I had my own life to live and create. It wasn’t until just after my grandfather passed away in January 2001 and my mother refused to come back to the funeral. She ended up leading the Santa Monica PD on a high speed chase with her animals and a jug of wine in her car. It did not end well, but fortunately nobody was severely injured when the car was forced to a roll over stop, not even the jug of wine broke.
Because of that very public incident that also involved her getting her 3rd or 4th DUI, she ended up in jail. Where it was obvious after some time in there w/o any medications that something was a little “off” with her. She finally was able to get diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and on the Bi Polar Disorder spectrum. She finally was getting some kind of treatment. She wasn’t necessarily getting “better” or more understanding of herself and her disease, but she was able to be in a more controlled setting. A year after the big run around town/jail time/ halfway house, my mother was released to my eldest aunt in Wisco to live out her probation, get help, maybe even start a new life. It IS very possible for Schizophrenics to live full and productive lives if on the right medications and monitored properly. Anyways, she ended up in Wisco, which is where she still is today. For the most part she’s slowly gained a lot of weight because of the meds, she smokes like it’s her job, and she’s only had a few “episodes” over the years….. Till my daughter was born in December of 2011.
Which is a whole other long story, that’s probably best saved for another blog, because the REAL purpose behind me writing is to of course write about myself and my journey and mayhaps inspire others to share their own stories. Before I go on with that though, it’s important to know a few things about me:
1.) I have always battled emotional outburst issues and as much as I don’t want it to be a part of me, it is. My poor previous long term relationship took the brunt of my growth process of working through instabilities mixed with alcohol, which is never a good combination. However, I have learned to work with it instead of against it, especially now that I’m a mother. I have NEVER had a full on emotional outburst screaming/crying/wailing at or towards my child. She has been present for some tears, yes and some frustrations, but I’ve always removed myself from her immediate being because she does not need my BS in her psyche. I am very proud of this fact.
2.) I have never nor will I ever react to my child in an aggressive physical manner. As the saying goes, “The cycle of abuse stops with me.” It has and it does. And I’ve never felt the ‘urge’ to ever harm my child. Ever.
3.) I’ve never heard voices myself. Ever.
4,) I’ve always had abandonment issues, duh like WHO WOULDN’T given the two parents I had.
5.) I’ve experienced periods of depression, but never anxiety nor continual panic attacks like what has been occurring as of late. Years ago, cutting out excessive drinking really helped me big time with any depressive tendencies. And seriously, when you’re in your 30′s and a parent you have no business acting like you’re still in your 20′s.
6.) The past year has challenged me more than I ever thought possible. I have learned to handle loss like a champ and situations out of my control like it’s my career. I’ve been forced and am fine with being present, living in the moment, and letting go of some previously held creature comforts I had- in order to preserve my child’s future and my family’s health. I am a strong, strong woman. But….. Oh but, but, but, but, now that we are in our own home again and I’m finally in a good place to process, now it’s all coming out in these very anxiety driven, depressed, fear filled, worry warting, intense ways.
7.) I can fully embrace the ideas of self awareness, self dependency, and NOT take on a victim like mentality regarding all that has transpired in the past 395 days. But there’s only so much a person can take, take on, live through -before they need some type of assistance to “get on with things,” as my British family would say.
8.) I’m not looking for pity or sorrow or to make others “feel bad” with what I’m writing. If anything I’m looking to transcend this deep, dark, depressive, anxiety fueled narrative I appear to be living in right now. Writing and sharing is one way I do this.
My daughter is everything to me. She is an extension of me. She speaks like me. She looks to me for how to react to certain situations and stressors. This has always been in the forefront of my mind and behaviors with her since the moment she joined us earthside. When I hear others say that “They want better for their kids,” trust me I am the poster child for that phrase. There is nothing I strive for more right now, than to make sure my daughter has way, way, way better than I did each and every day of her life.
9.) I do not have a lovely dovey relationship with my mother. I do not wish her ill and after some intense therapy for years I was finally able to come to terms and let go of all the mental, physical, and emotional abuse she inflicted on me. I know, or at least this is how I handle this, I believe “that it wasn’t really her but was the disease that made her do all of the horrible things she did to me.” I have a good 7 years of early childhood memories as evidence that if my mom could, should would’ve not done what she did to me. But as of today, I do not have a “good” mother daughter relationship with her. I do not trust her. And I do not truly love her as a mother. I love her as a person and I feel sorry for her that she is the way she is, but I do not have a whole kind of love for her. However for my daughter’s sake, I am making efforts to at least allow for some kind of relationship to occur between them. If anything, Lil S having a “different kind of grandma” may help continue to harness the empathy I already see so strong within her little two year old body, mind, and soul. So for them, I let go and I appreciate what brief good times we can have with my mom. My first job though is to protect my daughter and to protect myself, that will ALWAYS be paramount when dealing with my mother.
What a bunch a words eah?
If you made it through all that Thank You.
If you’re still interested in whatever else I have to say/write, Double Thank You.
There will be a PART II coming momentarily.
This next part is all about me and my current state of things (anxiety with the new home, old stuff, lead poisoning etc) and how my mother’s illness still informs how I tackle these very real and difficult issues.
See you at the next Homestead Post,
Perhaps a “better” or more “well adjusted” person would not react the same as I just did. But for once in the past 12 or so months I did something that was 1000% selfish. I’ve been thinking about it off and on for a while now. I had a good conversation with my bestie whilst driving her out to her family’s house last night about it, in a roundabout way. I almost did it last night when I got home after a long emotional day, after a long emotional weekend, after a super long emotional past 8 weeks or so. But, I do not like to react and make decisions while emotional so I stopped myself last night.
Today was the day to do it.
Today was my Christmas Present to myself.
Today I deactivated my FB account.
I know, what a stupid thing to feel like I have to declare or write about, and yet here I am doing just that. On my pseudo public blog that I think a few people read from time-to-time and share with others. So yes, I deactivated my account. Took the app off of all my mobile devices. Now I’m enjoying writing about this while my little family settles in for the Christmas night.
Today (Christmas Day) was not a good day for me.
For my daughter: it was magical, there were awesome creative decorations, every part of today was full of whimsy and junk food (because we had no food prep after moving and traveling and stupidly thinking we would be spending the holiday with family), and there were GREAT gifts- like really great- like we are so lucky right now especially given our circumstances. Anyways, the day for her is exactly what it should have been and for that I am thankful and proud of us.
But for me, it was a terrible awful no good day.
In all honesty, it has been pretty rough for me the past few days. It’s very overwhelming being surrounded with all this stuff I haven’t seen in a year. My anxiety levels are reaching epic proportions I never knew possible within myself, because I am SO WORRIED ABOUT LEAD DUST. I keep telling myself that there’s nothing we can do except clean everything as we unpack, try to keep our girl in her “safe clean space” on the front sun porch our our shared (for now) bedroom, and just keep working at it. But. It. Is. So. Hard. Not. To. Worry.
To make matters worse for me, it’s stupid Christmas. Which I thought was going to be so much good-better-exciting-fantastic since we are in our new wonderful home. Instead I’m sitting here absolutely drained from all-of-this. I had hopes for today that we would be spending the holiday with lil S’s family, but of course that didn’t happen. And that’s fine. I get it. Everyone has their own lives and needs that don’t need to include our daughter and Christmas Day. It’s just a day after all. It was a great day for our girl. However, I found myself starting to get angrier and angrier as the day went on and I looked at these gift bags just sitting there with her framed pictures in them. They were taunting me, laughing at me, mocking me and my attempt to do something nice for family. Dumb. I know plenty of people who would completely appreciate a lovely framed picture of our beautiful girl and appreciate some time with us.
But that’s not why I deactivated my FB. I deactivated my FB because people (including me) have become lazy and inactive in each other’s lives. They assume they will just keep up with each other on FB and see the latest pictures and cool links on there. Not anymore. I’m done with that. I’m done with allowing this general malaise of disconnection continue. You want to see a picture of Lil S? Great, you can follow me on Instagram and see pictures at scoutsmama. You want to know how we are doing, how our new house is coming along, how her lead levels are, how my mom heart is doing? Great, you can call or email me. And I can do the same. This is not just a one way street, I know this. I will need to reconnect with those I love and care about in the same way. Great. I look forward to fun phone calls catching up, or sharing photos in an email with those who want to see pics and aren’t on instagram, or of course and most importantly SEEING PEOPLE IN PERSON.
I look forward to getting back into storytelling.
I look forward to reconnecting with old dear friends I have missed.
I look forward to volunteering again.
I look forward to getting our home together this next week.
I look forward to starting this nanny job for a couple months to help get through these cold winter days.
I look forward to having play dates again.
I look forward to having some (badly needed) lady dates.
I look forward to having people to our new home.
I look forward to seeing YOU if you’re reading this. Truly, I do (smiley face)
So in order for me to continue looking forward and becoming active again in my special people’s lives, I have to disconnect the laziness, drama, excuse filled platform that is FB. I didn’t delete it, that would be dumb, but I deactivated it. I did it for me. I did not do it to punish anyone. I want to see if I can truly step away from that very addictive social medium for a while and come back to it with some great stories, pictures, and life to share again. For me this is the greatest gift I can give myself as we are now back in this beautiful cold bitch of a city that I love dearly.
I will also keep writing on this blog for sure and will send out a newslettery type email to those who’ve requested it (there’s so many of you wonderful loves) and to family. For now though, I have a lot of work ahead of me to get this home looking like, well more of a home.
(c) HELLOS FROM THE HOMESTEAD 2013
Happy Merries and all that.
See you in 2014!!!!
Perhaps it’s because we have had ALL OF OUR BELONGINGS in storage the past 12 months, so when we do unpack in just over a week (squeeee!) it’s going to feel like Christmas for us. Perhaps it is because I personally am so disgusted by the rampant gross materialism that is pervasive in our society (hello shopping on Thanksgiving Day- gross). Perhaps it’s because I grew up pretty poor with my single mother and actually helped out at shelters and volunteered to help other poor kids in LA, when we weren’t flying back to the Midwest to be with family for the holidays- of course. Perhaps it’s because after the year we’ve had I can 1000% say that none of the BS constructs we set up for ourselves matter. None. Of. Them.
What does matter is what you’ve got between those two ears up top and how you use it to communicate to that beating red gloopey mess in the middle of your chest. What does matter is how you treat others and how you take care of yourself. What does matter (in parenting) is how your child smiles with you not at some shiny new __________ you just bought them. What matters are the small moments of love, peace, and understanding (thanks Nick Lowe for the reminder last week) you can create with loved ones and strangers. What matters is letting go of any hurt, pain, anger, jealousy, animosity you may have towards yourself or others that you can justify all day long for having…but really, it’s never worth it. What matters (to me) is having as many loving amazing people participate in my daughter’s life that want to, not whether we are “technically” related and whether she can be calling someone grandma or auntie etc… What matters (again to me) is being open & honest, kind & compassionate, and loving boldly and with a fierceness that others cannot question your intention.
My past 12 months have been a series of moments of “letting go.” Letting go of the idea of what a “stable home” is and can be. Letting go of the social constructs I set up for myself and my family in regards to long term and short term friendships. Letting go of my supposed creature comforts in order to continue providing a safe and healthy space for our family. Letting go of expectations of help and assistance just because our daughter was poisoned by our home. Letting go of my attachment to a certain idea of where our family was to end up eventually. Quite literally, letting go of close relationships and friendships and family connections, I assumed would be around for the rest of my daughter’s life. Letting go of expectations I have for the grandparent figures of our child to be an active and participatory part of their grandchild’s life. Letting go of this pressure I placed upon myself to be a “perfect mother.”
I’ve accepted that I’m not ever going to be Beyonce. I will not drop an album along with seventeen videos and make the entire planet lose its mind. I will never be married to Jay Z and have billions of dollars so that my child will never have to know the instability of economic struggle. I will never be able to stand confidently in a white thong outfit in front of an old building with peeling paint (HELLLOOO LEAD!) while holding the leash of a beautiful dog and make it look cool. I would look dumb doing that. Even though I did grow up in LA, have had a quite most interesting life, and can spin a good yarn with the rest of them; I still accept that I will never be as important as Beyonce to the world. And I am okay with that. I don’t need to be important to the world, just my daughter and my family and myself of course. I would like to add that I have indeed, met and worked with our current president and first lady, multiple times -so take that hip pop royalty couple!
Nah, for real though.
I may not be famous or wealthy but I am a perfect mother for our daughter and for our lives. That is all that matters. I don’t need to compare myself, nor our situation, nor our economic standing, nor our educational background, nor our familial makeup, nor our child’s development to anyone else. Not everyone could live the way we have been living these last 12 months. Thank goodness not everyone has to, right? I’m also hoping that our story continues to inspire others to be responsible for their own community and families; and to make sure that lead abatement happens, or at least that their families are protected. If I could, I would spend every cent to help once and for all GET ALL THE LEAD OUT from every nook and cranny in Chicago. I really would. Instead, what I can continue to do is share our story (and it’s happy ending now), and educate others on the importance of being aware of lead and being educated on how to protect their family. I can do that.
I also can celebrate this upcoming holiday season not by trying to buy some random things for family members or my friend’s kids, but instead taking what money and time we do have to just spend time with people. Hence my Presence not Presents mantra for this holiday season. It is not because we are cheap or frugal people, although if we were that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. It isn’t because we are not resourceful or creative people (as many can attest to my gift making prowess of years past). It isn’t because we don’t want to give and share of ourselves. It’s because that’s not what’s important. At least to us. I would rather use all of my money travelling to spend time with our family for the holidays (which I’m doing) and not bring any gifts, than have a house full of gifts with no one to share them. Yes, there are others who will be able to do both those things and more. But we are not those people right now.
We are a humble family of three who has been without a home for 12 months. A family of three who through the power of positivity, honesty, and social medias will now be able to call a place HOME before the end of the year. So I ask anyone reading this to take a moment, close your eyes for 10 seconds, take a deep breath, and exhale. When you open your eyes take a look around you and BE THANKFUL for what you have. Or if you don’t like what you see, make a list of how to change those things. Then take a moment to really ask yourself what is needed of you this holiday season: Your Presence or your Presents.
Peace, Love, Understanding, and Warm Fuzzies to Everyone,
(Especially if you’re in the Winter Wonderland that is the midwest/east right now)
Hellos from our last Saturday at the Indiana Homestead,
(c) HELLOS FROM THE HOMESTEAD
I knew this day would have to come, eventually. I mean, we really couldn’t keep staying with family for that much longer could we? It’s been a full year now of packing and moving and driving, driving, driving. Staying with family. Sleeping in guest rooms, and nice rooms, and cluttered back rooms. People making room for us where they didn’t have any. Family helping us help ourselves and our daughter get lead free. Tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of exhaustion and sometimes delirious madness. It has indeed been a un voyage pas pour les faibles de cœur (a journey not for the faint of heart).
We are not quite “there” yet, but we are a heck of a lot closer as we should be signing the lease to our new place (with the best landlord/neighbors ever) this Saturday. Which is so nice to write for a number of reasons, the most important being my sanity. This has been a hard year on me. Yes, I agree that things are only as hard as you make them and while I don’t have control over our circumstances, I do have control over my reactions to things and blah, blah blah. Yes, I’m fully aware that I am indeed a PARENT and have one of the hardest jobs on the planet, because I’m trying to be a good parent- which is completely different than just having a kid. Anyways, I’m aware that what I signed up for when I took on this parenting role is no easy task and that there will always be circumstances, experiences and the like that will challenge us to our very core. But, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that I do NOT EVER NEED to have again the kind of year we’ve had these last 12/13 months.
If you’re into metaphysical shiz, then perhaps there is an answer somewhere as to WHY we had to go through what we did this past year. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that we are still going strong as a good family unit. I do know that I am trying to help get the word out and raise awareness about Lead Poisoning in our city and in this country. I do know that I have met some of the most gracious and wonderful people these last 13 months, both in online support groups and in our real life travels. I do know that I have an amazing family that loves me for who I am, not who they think I should be. I do know that I have a small group of close friends who have walked through the fires with me and a whole beautiful mess of social media and online friends who’ve been rooting for us this whole time. I do know that while I wish like heck I could change a few things that transpired this past year, things are what they are and we need to keep moving forward. I do know that I love my little girl more than I ever could imagine someone loving another human being. I do know that I am very proud of me.
I’m not so delusional to think that everything is going to magikly turn around for me/us in the other areas with which I/we are struggling. But, having your own HEALTHY LEAD FREE home and renting from people who actually CARE about your health and well being is a pretty darned good way to start, is it not? It is a shame that most of the world or at least most of the Chicago Rental Market doesn’t operate the way these two wonderful people do. You should not have to experience what I have these last 6 weeks when just looking for a simple thing as a HEALTHY HOME for your child. Yes, you have to be adaptable and compromise for certain things, especially if you’re not in a more economically privileged standing, but that should not mean that you must sacrifice your health and future. Period.
For now though, I will step off of my Get Rid of Lead soapbox and get to packing and planning for our new home. Eeeeee! Our new home. I can’t wait to see my sewing machines again, and unpack all of Lil S’s toys, and get all of my kitchen supplies back, and see my bicycles again, and get the two big beautiful bookshelves out to fill them with books, and set up all of our old cameras and tripods again, and have our own bed, and get lil S’s very expensive crib out so that we can now turn it into a toddler bed, and hang up pictures and portraits, and maybe plan for a garden in the back yard, and set up Lil S’s play kitchen that I’ve been making, and set up her drum kit (sorry new landlord/neighbor), and get our poor CRV in the garage because this weather is not kind to her, and I can’t wait to have people over for dinner.
Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to have people over for dinner, or brunch because brunch is my favorite thing to make.
And game of thrones on Sunday nights.
And winter nights snuggling with my wee lady.
And, and, and, and, and….
We have a home again.
And from my family to yours:
Uncle, okay Uncle! Chicago, uncle I scream! Stop twist, twist, twisting my arms till they burn and bleed.
Stop giving a bit of reprieve only to grip tighter. Stop, stop, stop. Uncle!!!
I don’t know what else or how else or to whom else I should be writing at this point.
It has been SIX weeks since we’ve been back in the Midwest, I’ve now looked at 140 places in person, we’ve applied for four, and yet here we are….still without a home. I think I can now officially say, write, scream from my iPad keyboard WHAT. THE. FUCK. CHICAGO?!?!?!
What is happening?
Why can I see all these other people all snug and cozy in their homes and we keep getting the big cold shaft over here? Yes, we are unwavering when it comes to LEAD exposure for our child. Yes, we are on a budget because only one of us has full time employment. Yes, we are willing to do any work to help fix up a place if there’s some minor things. So why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
Why am I sitting here, 8 lbs less than when we arrived 6 weeks ago feeling like I’ve failed my family and that I’m going to throw up the breakfast I haven’t eaten yet. Why do I now have to turn down a good and decent job nannying for a good friend, because yet again we’ve been denied an apartment? Why is there nothing set in place to help families with lead poisoned children help get on their feet again?
Why is this happening?
Why do have to sit here whining like a junior high school kid about something so serious as NOT HAVING A GOD DAMNED MOTHER FUCKING HOME?!?! Forgive the expletives, but I am mad. I am angry. I am disgusted at how the past 6 weeks have gone down. We have spent a ridiculous amount of money driving every day to the city to look at places. We’ve spent hundreds of dollars on lead swab kits. Let alone the application process where you fork over $100 to apply for a place to be turned down, or in one case the owners wanted us but their home purchasing fell through so they backed out. Do we get our money back? Nope. Now this latest go around with a landlord basically holding us in the wings for a week, till the other applicants went through and everything was accepted -because that is exactly what was happening even though the puss landlord couldn’t come out and say that. He could however, come out and call us “liabilities,” which yes is illegal but I don’t have time for any of that nonsense. I’m just trying to find a home again for my family that won’t shatter our piggy banks.
Ultimately though, it’s not about the money. It’s about my heart. My heart is fucking broken by all of this. The past year, the past six weeks, and all capped off by the past 6 days with this last prospective place and how we were handled is exactly why I can say that I am done with that city. I could care less about ever stepping a single solitary toe back in Chicago. I thought (and have exclaimed from my personal blog mountain tops) that I was “done” before, but after this last go around……I am very most definitely D.O.N.E with Chicago. There is no other place I can think on with such hatred and disgust right now.
I do not use those words hatred and disgust lightly at all.
I loved that city with my whole being.
My whole adult life has been spent and shaped by living in Chicago.
I’ve had my greatest celebrations (falling in love multiple times and getting engaged once, graduating from the college I put myself through, real and meaningful work in theater, film, and radio, and of course the BIRTH of my sweet little Scout) and deepest pitfalls (losing friends to careless drunk drivers, bad bicycle incident, loss of friendships, my biggest break up, and job teeterings) in that city.
It has been the one place I have been able to call home throughout my entire life of upheavals, and moving every year with my mom, and growing up all over California, and then moving in my my dad and stepmother only to leave 3 years later, only to finally settle in the winter of 1999 at Columbia College Chicago and with a great job at Barbara’s Bookstore.
Chicago has been my everything.
It it now nemesis.
I am really really sadangrydisgustedpissedoff that we have to go through all of this just to find a home again. WE DID NOT POISON OUR DAUGHTER! We were living in a place that was not properly rehabbed and where the owners lied about lead presence to their insurance to save a buck. We moved out fast because that was our only option to help our daughter. We have not asked for any assistance from the state or local governments, because quite frankly there isn’t any except for coming out to inspect your property and make sure you keep up with lead screenings- beyond that you are on your own. We didn’t put the lead in paint. We didn’t market lead paint to everyone (including children) as an end all be all to paint your property -even knowing that it was toxic to humans. We didn’t set up the rules to NOT help current land owners and tenants properly abate toxic exposure. We are NOT the bad guys here. And WE. ARE. NOT. A. LIABILITY.
We are a family of three very loving, hard working, creative, caring, good human beings trying to get a decent, safe, and healthy home for our child. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. I know that there are people in way “worse” conditions than us. I know that everyone has their own struggle story. But I am not writing for them. I have written for them, have volunteered for them, have busted my ass and lost sleep for those less fortunate than I. Now, I am writing (and have been writing) about our struggle story. It is all I can do right now. I cannot make someone accept us for an apartment or treat me at least with decency when trying to just converse about lead exposure in old homes. I cannot force others to stop skirting around doing the right thing and just get rid of lead exposures. I cannot scream loud enough that “Enough is enough” already.
But I can write about this.
And continue to look for a safe and healthy home without compromise.
I can do that.
Thanks for reading.
(c) HELLOS FROM THE HOMESTEAD 2012-2013