You Deserve It Too


I felt really bad after the surgery took a turn for the worst, and no, not bad in the “oh my gosh, I could have died” kind of way that I should have felt bad in, I felt bad in an inconvenient kind of way. I felt like an inconvenience. I knew that I had scared the person in the waiting room. I knew that my recovery was going to be longer now. I knew that I would need some help from my friends. I knew that my kids would have to be a little easier on mommy for longer than I was expecting. I knew that I was going to be in an even bigger financial mess because of added time off work. All of this made me feel so, inconvenient.

I went home, hung around in my trapped head, and beat myself up about it. I had already felt bad about even going into this surgery. I mean don’t get me wrong, I was excited to be offered the amazing opportunity to have the “original me” back, but I felt….undeserving.

After the surgery, I sat around for a few days mulling over what life lesson’s I could pull from this (does that make me weird? I swear I am seriously like the weirdest person I know). I really struggled with my feelings of being a burden. Friends offered to come over and take care of me and I politely rejected them. I had made this choice, it wasn’t the responsibility of anyone else to take care of me in the mess that I had created. They all reminded me that I would have needed help even if nothing had gone wrong, and yet, I wouldn’t let them help me. I didn’t want to be a burden on them. I reminded them one by one that they had kids, jobs, husbands, girlfriends, etc, and that I needn’t be on their priority list.

Ding ding.

That one struck a bell with me right there. I needn’t be on their priority list. Do you know how many times I have helped them out when they needed it, even when I was in no position to be helping anyone out? I watched the nutcase neighbor’s daughter for weeks on end right after my ex left, when the two of them had a scheduling conflict. I refused to let them pay me because I knew they needed the money, even though I needed the money more and I absolutely had no time to watch their daughter. When my friend broke her leg, I regularly pushed her around the neighborhood in a wheelchair to get her out of the house for a while. When another had a surgery, I went over and cleaned her house from top to bottom. Now please don’t take this as me bragging, I’m telling you this to prove a point. Friends do things for friends who need help. They rearrange their priorities to make room for new ones. So why wouldn’t I let anyone help me?

Because to allow someone to make you a priority, you first have to believe that you are a priority.

I’ve come a long way from realizing the things that I don’t deserve, but I’m not sure I’ve made a whole lot of progress understanding what I do deserve. There is a subtle, yet highly distinctive difference there.

I don’t deserve to be raped. I don’t deserve to be abused. But what do I deserve? Sure, I deserve to be treated with respect, to find someone who loves me, to be happy, yadda yadda, but REALLY, what does that look like?

I go out of my way to make the lives of the people around me easier. “Sure, I can absolutely accommodate your schedule. Sure, I can absolutely do this for you. Sure, I can absolutely take care of that.” I really don’t think I have ever said “no” when someone has asked me to do something for them, and yet, I rarely remember ever saying “yes” when help has been offered to me. Really, how long can someone survive like that? Because I have to tell you, I’ve personally been getting a little worn down.

So yay, trapped in my head epihany, (See, I knew there was a life lesson in there somewhere!!) I think I’m on to something here. Looking back at my life, I can absolutely see where things went askew. For as long as I can remember, the phrase my parents used to love to throw at me was “you don’t deserve that.” One year for my 11th birthday, they told me I was going to be having a sleep over party, and I was THRILLED. I invited all my friends, made plans, and was near jittery with excitement. Two days before, my dad dropped the harsh reality in one line. “You aren’t having a party. You don’t deserve a birthday party.” Even now the shame and hurt of that one burns bright. Remember the story I told in my XOJane article about being left at the hotel while my family went to Universal Studio’s? When they came back that night, they told me that I didn’t deserve to go with them. That line was also thrown around in terms of basic necessities. “You don’t deserve dinner tonight. You don’t deserve to eat with the family. You don’t deserve anything.” That theme continued throughout my marriage. I got my wedding dress at a thrift shop after being told I didn’t deserve anything else. My first birthday as a married woman, my husband told me I didn’t deserve a gift, and that was the same thing I was told on every Christmas, birthday, and mother’s day after that; except for the year that my ex bought “me” a video game system, complete with racecar and gun games, and car remote control handle. Thanks…..

To this day I still can’t accept gifts from people, it makes me feel too guilty, as if I’ve received something I don’t deserve. Every boyfriend I have ever had has understood the unexplained rule; “Don’t buy me anything.” The guilt runs so deep, that it actually hurts, and it spreads to other area’s of my life as well. Its why I have such a hard time telling anyone that I need help. I don’t feel like I deserve to be anyone’s priority.

How did I not see this before? I consider myself to be a fairly introspective person, and I also consider myself to have an average level of self esteem. Not to be blunt, but I think I’m a good person. I think I’m funny. I think I’m pretty. I think I’ve been blessed with a couple of great kids, so where on earth did this come from!? I think in order to allow yourself to be the priority of someone else, you first have to be able to make yourself a priority to yourself.

I was never given that opportunity. From the time I was born, it wasn’t about me. It was about my mother, my father, or my husband. My survival depended on making someone else a priority. What they wanted, what they needed, what they expected of me, was more important than what I wanted or needed, because to keep them apeased, was to keep myself alive. The most basic life lesson I learned growing up, was that I don’t matter. Basic survival meant forgoing myself.

So all this time, as I’ve been fighting to be treated with respect, I’ve only been fighting half the battle.

I look back at my life and in the most basic of American women ways, its slightly laughable. I’ve never had a manicure, I’ve never had a massage, I’ve never just gone and gotten my hair done. I’ve never owned an expensive piece of clothing, or even just gone on a shopping spree. I’ve never been to a spa or a girl’s weekend away and I don’t treat myself to a starbucks, and that’s ok. But when I look at luxuries verses needs, its a little bit scarier. I often turn down help that I need, because I don’t feel like I deserve it. I don’t eat for days on end, because I’m afraid that there won’t be enough for my kids. I went an entire winter without a coat, because I didn’t feel I deserved to spend the money to buy one.

I need to make myself a priority. Its that whole “in the event of a sudden loss in cabin pressure, put your mask on yourself before putting a mask on your child.” I need to be a priority before I can be what my children need from me. Now don’t go all crazy, anyone who knows me knows that my children have been, and will continue, to come first, but still. I need to be a priority in my own life if I’m going to be around for the long haul. I can’t afford to run myself into the ground, or I won’t be any good to them.

I never realized that the crisis is over. I’m safe. Its ok for me to want. Its ok for me to feel. Its ok, for me to be important. It’s ok for me to deserve to want my life back. I do deserve.

This surgery was the first time that I have ever, in my life, said yes to myself. Allowed myself to take time off work that I didn’t have, to impede upon my friends for childcare, and to accept the doctor’s gracious offer. This was the first time that I have ever put myself first, that’s how badly I wanted this and yea, things didn’t go as planned, but I’m glad that for once, I made myself a priority.

So you know what, bruised and broken me, writer of this post? You deserved this! What you chose to do, it was ok. It didn’t go as planned, but it will work out fine. You deserve to get your life back. You deserve, to be a priority. You deserve, to want back what was taken from you, and you deserve to get it.

To all my readers that are healing with me, you deserve too. We all do.


Photo Credit Bells: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clarism_4/
Photo Credit Pondering Guy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/
Photo Credit Zippers: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pulguita/

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45 Comments

  • Anonymous
    January 25, 2014 at 6:24 am

    It's me again. The “anonymous” that keeps managing to be the first to comment on your posts. The one who is making a habit of checking in on how you are doing. Guess I feel like I can relate, maybe a little too much. I'm identifying with you pretty strongly here. Thanks for creating this blog, using your voice, and giving others (like me) a place to have a voice, too. I should stop choosing to post as anonymous and hiding behind that, but I do appreciate the chance to choose that option. Because, like you, I'm more comfortable not asking for attention. I've also received only rejection in my efforts to be anyone's priority. I've learned, not only not to ask for anything (except, I never could help myself from asking for the pain to stop), but to not even offer my thoughts. As a child, I was told sarcastically, “Oh, you're just full of good ideas,” until I learned not to speak at all, which of course was the point. That's why I'm so inspired by your efforts to speak up, and offer your ideas, and not be silenced. Thank you for giving me a space to speak up, too!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Haha!! You should come up with an anonymous stalker name, like “Regular 1st Anonymous Commentor” so that I know its you lol!! (You just select “comment by name” and type whatever name you want)

      Im glad, and sorry you can relate. It makes it feel a lot less lonely, doesn’t it?

      I’m glad you are finding your space in this place 🙂

  • flamingo
    January 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Damn straight you deserve to be someone/everyone else's priority for once! When you were denied and/or rejected and made sacrifices/excuses for others all the time for THEIR failings/broken promises, without expecting anything in return, it took a little tiny piece of you. It is nice to do things for other people; but, not at the total expense of yourself. Think about yourself as a piggie bank that belongs to your kids. Every time you do favors or whatever for others there is a cost. Money flowing out of YOUR KIDS' piggie bank. If you do not allow anyone else to make a deposit by doing you a favor/buying you something/whatever, there is less and less of YOU for your children. Do not wait until you are 45 to learn this hard lesson. When everyone has used you all up – and you are emotionally/mentally/spiritually bankrupt. What to do when there is nothing left? (And promise that you will seriously STOP doing things for others when you can least afford to – good people do not expect others to do that) Start over. From scratch. Just like you are doing now. It is hard and painful. There will be fits and starts with this new process. You will have to trust that when someone offers to do something for you they will do it and that you do deserve it. Trust is tough. It becomes a little bit easier every time you practice. Most people are good and will not disappoint you.I am delighted you have people around you that are offering a piece of themselves for you. You do deserve it – they can see it! Let them do it – you know it is coming from their heart – they can afford it – and when you are able you can return the favor. They know you, they care about you and your children, they get it and do not expect anything from you. As you heal, you begin to choose better people to share in your life. These are the people you can trust. They are NOT the people of your past. Let them make a tiny deposit – help you out – let them stand next to you and support you. That is the true test of a friend. You would do the same for them. You deserve it, damn it! I would be willing to bet that there are more than a few of us posting here that would be happy to help you, because you deserve it!I hope you are feeling a lot better now. 2014 is your year! Well, the first of many good ones. I just know it. Keep taking good care of you!Please forgive the finger wagging and violent shaking of my head. LOL All this “advice” is delivered with lots of care! Many hugs and much love from the frigid east coast

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Thats funny that you mention that, I did a study a few years about the emotional bank, what makes withdrawls and how to make deposits. Yet somehow I blindly did not apply that to my own self worth (slaps forehead). Thank you for reminding me of that!!

      Yay 2014!!!!

      Sending hugs back from my own frigid and frozen tundra 🙂

  • Amanda Harris
    January 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have experienced the “I don't deserve” feeling, and yes, it runs deep. But I think you stated the core truth beautifully:”They are NOT the people of your past.”Something I struggle with is separating out genuine love and caring versus someone who is just using you–this is especially difficult when you've been in a relationship, romantic, family or otherwise, that was abusive. But from what you write, it sounds like you've done a good deal of the hard work–expelling the bad, figuring out where your own boundaries are. You're in a better place now. Enjoy it.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I obviously struggle with that too, seeing as how I let the nutcase neighbors use me. I’m not sure why I wrote “I refused to let them pay me,” bc now that I’m thinking of it, I don’t think they ever even offered! They asked if I wanted payment once and I said no it was ok, but I’m not sure it was even a genuine offer! I have a long history of over extending myself to people that only viewed me as a means to create less work for themselves, but I think in the last year I’ve made a good amount of progress in weeding them out. Boundaries baby, workin’ on it every day!

      Wishing you nothing but the best Amanda! Happy weekend!!

  • Ruth Cooke
    January 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Your story reminds me of another woman's story. If you check out FlyLady.net (a site for “Sidetracked Home Executives”, you'll find that when she was in a psychiatric treatment program, the first thing they did for her was get her roommates to give her a makeover. (You might have to dig a little bit on the site to find out where she tells her story…)It's not just abuse that causes women in particular to put themselves last, though abuse makes it infinitely worse. Our entire social structure, as well as that of many other cultures, is centered on the woman giving and the man taking. It's time we collectively said, “We deserve to take care of ourselves, and we deserve the same respect we're told to give to others.”I do hope that when your friends ask once again if they can help you, you'll say, “Yes,” and that sometime in the futuer you'll set boundaries around your giving so that sometimes you'll be able to say, “No.” You don't have to decline to help all the time, but doing everything for everyone else and not expecting anything in return is a sure way to burn out so that you're not able to help yourself or anyone else!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Oh gosh lol, the makeover idea is brilliant. Talk about being thrown right into immersion therapy!! I am going to go look for that story now. Thanks for sharing!

      My friend asked me this morning if she could bring some groceries by, I told her banana’s would be great lol. Baby steps, but at least its baby steps in the right direction 🙂

  • toni choate
    January 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    This was totally fantastic & desperately what I needed to read today. I did a little bit of making myself a priority here lately & it's literally scaring me to death to keep it up. I feel like I'm gonna backslide at any minute. But reading this helped me stay strong. Thank you so so much. :))

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I’m glad it was what you needed today 🙂 Yay!! You can do it!! Just post here it you’re backsliding and we will pull ya through!

  • Sylvia Stranahan
    January 25, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    So much of what you write could be taken from my own diary…like you, I grew up with abuse, and later married into it. And like you, I managed to escape with my two children. This post in particular has resonated very deeply with me, and I feel compelled to share how I learned my lesson when it comes to accepting help from others. There came a time where I was sick, and a very dear friend wanted to look after me. As per usual, I declined vehemently. She pointed out to me that I was always helping others, herself included, and asked if it made me feel good inside to do so. Of course I said yes. What she said next was my 'aha!' moment: “You have always been there for me. I care about you, and taking care of you will make me feel good. It will make me feel like I deserve for someone like you to be in my life. Who are you to deny me that feeling?”I still struggle with the concept that, sometimes, letting the people who care for you help is a gift you give to them…it's illogical, yet true nonetheless. My “hell” is long past, and something I rarely talk about. Thank you for your strength and your courage in sharing your story. Thank you for reminding me of mine.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I’m glad that you have made it through your hell and are still standing. Gives me hope!!

      Your friend made a good point, its something I’ll have to remember to keep in mind 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer
    January 26, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I can so relate to much of what you've written here. It's both good and bad – less lonely, but sad that there are others who have to go through it. My entire childhood and much of my adulthood was spent focusing entirely on what I could do to make my family happy. Little Brother came first, all the time no matter what and screw how miserable it made every one else. Then mom and dad, then Little Sister. If there was ever anything left (read: maybe twice in 24 years), I got it. Then a few years ago when I was 25, my mother randomly came to me and said, “Jen, you know, you don't ALWAYS have to put everyone first before yourself.”Cue me looking at her, completely flabbergasted, because for the previous 25 years, if I had ever had the audacity to put myself before anyone else, I'd have to endure a 30-minute screamfest/lecture about how I was selfish and why couldn't I see that I was hurting Other Person here and how could I be so cruel to do such horrible things, etc. etc. etc.I basically learned to form relationships on how best I could help other people without ever taking anything in return. I moved around a lot as a kid (when I started 9th grade, it was the 6th school I'd been to in the 4th state) because my alcoholic, drug addict father couldn't hold a job and he was limited on what he could take because, due to medical conditions suffered by both me and my brother, he could only make so much before we were disqualified for medicaid or insurance. So the only friendships I ever made was with those people who took everything I offered and I never expected anything in return, because I never knew there was an option FOR ME to expect anything in return. I've since severed ties with those people and am not struggling on how to even form a relationship with someone because I am constantly feeling guilty when I can't help them, because I'm flooded with thoughts about how they won't want to continue a friendship if I can't give them 100% of me 100% of the time and never ask for anything from them.I'm rambling, sorry. Now that I'm about to turn 30, I'm trying to figure a few things out and I really relate to your post and you allowing yourself to be someone else's priority. It's a slow process, and not at all easy, but it's an important one.You most definitely, absolutely, are deserving of other people's help. You ARE deserving of being someone else's priority. Start out small, because I guarantee you it's 100% impossible to flip a switch and accept every offer that every person gives you without hesitating or some uneasy feelings. Baby steps. If someone offers you a cooked meal, or to buy you a meal, or some groceries or something, take them up on that offer. Maybe just accept one or two offers to start with, but DO IT. Because you deserve it.And, speaking as a person who truly does love helping others when they need it, you accepting someone else's help will also very likely make them feel good about themselves. Sometimes (not all the time, mind you) it is actually nice when someone else needs help and you can provide it for them. So do your friends a favor and let them help you – they'll feel better about themselves and you'll end up with a dinner or groceries or something.:)

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Ah, you sound just like me. Im 30 too.

      Remember, you deserve it too!!

      Thank you for your advice 🙂 I wish we knew each other in “real life.”

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 at 12:30 am

    One of the most important moments of my life happened a bit over 7 years ago. I'd spent much of the past few years, but especially the months leading up to this, giving so much to whomever asked. I was a cute, naive, charming underclassman in college and a lot of that giving ended up being giving older boys whatever they were interested in: I hadn't really learned, yet, the difference between others' desires and my own, and the fact that I was wantable was instantly gratifying (if not so great-feeling in the long term… but that was subtler, harder to pinpoint).The start of my second year I was also just taking care, emotionally, of a lot of people. One boy a year below me, in particular, had an immensely tragic backstory, and just needed SO MUCH. He'd never had anyone he could rely on before, and it was like, oh, I can do that, I can be that person for you, and I can give and give and make your life better, make a difference. I wanted to be that change for everyone. I wanted to be so helpful.At the same time, I was taking one of the hardest math classes in the whole country, navigating a situation that had allowed my controlling mother to take a more active role in my life again, getting over a family death and a heartrending breakup, and just generally being a serious and busy student trying to keep it together. Around this time, a friend from high school was being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and linked us to spoon theory.And something clicked. I do have disabilities, but even for the fully able there is not infinite energy and time in a day. I wanted to be so much for so many people, but I'd suffered a pretty major breakdown the year before, prolonged by how guilty I felt over everyone needing to take care of me. How much worse it all would be, if this boy who'd been had so many promises broken in his life, who'd never been able to count on anything and had pretty much given up trying, learned to lean on me and then I went and fell apart again?I learned – not perfectly, not all at once, but this was my first time realizing – that I had to prioritize my own well-being, if I wanted to give to so many others and have it really mean anything. I had to draw some boundaries, and say no to some things, because if I spread myself too thinly and snapped, then I wouldn't be able to be there for anyone.And so when that boy told me he was considering breaking off his engagement to be with me instead, because I was his angel and his salvation, I told him he needed me a lot more as a friend than he did a romantic partner right now. I stopped carrying cash with me, because I'd been giving too much I couldn't afford away when beggars stopped me on the street. I started trying to only make promises I knew I could keep – it was the first time I really stopped to consider my own capabilities, rather than thinking I could just keep powering forward by sheer force of will.It's been the better part of a decade, and I'm still not great at self-care. I have this devotional model well-ingrained from childhood, where ethics and goodness means doing whatever you can for whomever seems to need, no matter how well you know them or whether they're even asking for your help. But I try really hard, now, to occasionally say no and prioritize myself.In part, because I am worth taking care of. I am worth being well.But it took me a while to get to the point I really believed that. My first step was just knowing that it was important I keep it together enough that I could keep taking care of others.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Whatever happened to the boy?

      I’m glad that you learned to prioritze yourself. I think for me its also going to be something I need to continuously be concious of. I hope I can stick to it!

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Love :)Some grammar/punctuation things:shoes = plural shoesshoe's = belongs to the shoeshoes' = belongs to more than one shoeWe went to the store, then we went to the park.I am older than my sister. Yeah, I saw the movie.Yay! I got free tickets!Yea or nay.Breathe in through your nose.I took a breath and dived.You're a wonderful person.Your stories are inspirational.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Haha, thanks

      • NotMyShametoBear
        January 27, 2014 at 11:06 am

        Im guessing your the one that pointed out my mistake in “Let your soul breathe.” Thanks!

        I’m terrible with apostrophe’s. Not only do they always trip me up, but my editing software has some glitch that thinks none should exist. Ever.

        I meant to say yay this time. Yay epiphany. For once!

        • NotMyShametoBear
          January 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

          Hahaha, go figure. “I’m guessing YOU’RE the one” Stupid grammer.

  • Sarah
    January 26, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Childhood photos please please!!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Lol!!! I’ll have to see what I can find. Most of them were abandon at my parents house

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 at 2:46 am

    We remained friends for a time, and he indeed took a lot from me over the course of that friendship. About a year later, I took care of him while he was suicidal, eventually getting him to the ER where he had a psychotic break and was institutionalized for a week, during exams. My grades and well-being were pretty obviously affected by all this; he came back with one day left before break, took all his exams, and got all A's for the semester. To this day he's still one of the smartest people I've ever met, and to this day he's not forgiven me for refusing to give him the knife he was asking for and instead referring him to higher care. He's since gotten his PhD, gotten married (to a different girl than the fiance from before), and I heard he just had a baby. It sounds like he's really happy and fulfilled, and I've decided that if he's never going to forgive me for saving his life, then I've forgiven myself for it.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 26, 2014 at 11:05 am

      That’s crazy. Just remember that people that are going through mental illness’s can’t always be rationalized with. You can’t make sense out of something that doesnt make sense, and there is a good chance that it will never make sense to him.

      You did the right thing, and that new baby is proof of it. Not only did you save his life, but you in effect saved the life of a baby that might have never been born.

      I’m proud of you 🙂

  • Wry
    January 26, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I think I've read your entire blog, but I may have missed any stories about your siblings. How did they behave toward you as a child, teen, and adult?

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 26, 2014 at 11:06 am

      That’s funny, I’ve been working on a posting about them, I just can’t seem to pull it together right. As children, it was almost as if we grew up in different families. They were very much wanted because they were boys (my mother didn’t want girls). As adults they have unfortunately taken on a lot of my parents traits, and are now abusers themselves. We have not relationship at this point. Look for the post soon!

  • Sara A.
    January 27, 2014 at 2:16 am

    What's one inconsequential thing you've always wanted to do for yourself, but haven't? I think it might be a good idea to put that thing on the calendar (a relatively close day like 3/15 or something) and save for it. I think that's one way of making yourself a priority. Maybe you need a new haircut and color to frame your face now that you have your new (old) nose with a mani/pedi just to feel good. Quick aside. It's really important to eat with your kids. They are learning their eating habits from you. I try really hard for that reason to not aimlessly snack in front of my daughter or wait so long to eat that I'm delirious. I also want to teach her that she is important by not plopping her in the high chair and then doing dishes or computer. It has been hard to get my husband to comply with this. His morning ritual is coffee and blogs read leisurely followed by a glance at the time and panicked cereal eating. Also Lands End is having a sale on outer wear. In case you wanted a bright pink puffer jacket that's proofed to -50F

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

      I love that plan, I’m just SO poor. I didn’t even make enough to cover my mortgage this month 🙁

      I agree with you about eating with the kids. I always sit with them and make sure that we talk and converse, its just so hard to find that good balance when we literally do run out of food. I just feel SO guilty when they cry and ask for more, and there is literally nothing left. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to put myself first in that respect.

      How did you know hot pink was my color!?

  • Koro
    January 27, 2014 at 3:46 am

    I'm glad your second surgery went better, and that you have a new start on you. *hugs* And I relate with everything you say. Sometimes I wish I could say something profound and meaningful that would stand out, but I guess that can't always happen, so here is this: Thank you for being you. I'm sorry for all the hardships you have been through, but if you hadn't gone through them you wouldn't be writing these words now. And these words make me feel better about myself; about the parts of me I hide from my family so they won't worry. To know that there is someone out there who is damaged like me helps me feel that it is okay to be damaged and sensitive. *hugs* So, thank you for being you, in this time, and this place.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

      That is profound to me. It brings profound meaning to my life, thank you so much for sharing that with me. Never think that what you have to say is any less meaningful than what someone else has to say, because what you just said was exactly what I needed to hear tonight.

      Love and hugs, you are not damage, you are just perfectly worn in. 🙂

  • Sara A.
    January 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Have you looked into WIC? It's completely separate from food stamps and has it's own income requirements. We were on it when we first had my daughter. They give checks for 2 1/2 gallons of milk a month, beans, cheese, produce, and whole wheat. They also give about $30 in the summer to use at the local farmer's market. The catch is that they do require weigh-ins and blood tests for the children that qualify and if you get pregnant again they'll be up in your business too, but you get more food allotments. You are absolutely right to go hungry when there is literally no more food. This goes with the priority thing. You probably qualify for more aid than you are receiving. There are programs through HUD for low-income people to stay in their homes, pay for repairs, etc. I don't know if their are grants for help with the mortgage payments, but it's worth looking into. You also probably qualify for medicaid if you haven't gotten it already. I know it is lowering to go to the government for help, but these programs are made for people like you. No one likes being on them, but you shouldn't have to worry about feeding your family and going into debt if your one of your children has an accident. By that token, there is private help you could accept. There are food pantries/banks that you probably qualify for. Again, your pride may take a hit, but they are made for people who are having problems feeding their families. Some give you a bag of food, some you are given a grocery cart and a list of options. I'm trying to think of more resources, but failing. I hope I haven't offended you, but you shouldn't have to make these decisions. No one in your house should go hungry when you live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Our country has so much food, there are aesthetic standardizations of fruits and vegetables and sub-prime examples are composted. These are perfectly good fruits and veggies that are misshapen or blotchy that are left to rot! Doesn't that make you mad? Anyway, when you go to WIC, they will probably inform you of other programs you could qualify for and how to go about getting on them.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Hi Sara!! I actually used to be on WIC, but my kids are dairy and gluten free, so that cut out a lot of what we could get. I would have kept going just for the beans and fruit, but everytime we would go for the redetermination meetings, we would be there for literally 6 hours. I realized that by taking an entire day off of work, I was just actually losing money. 🙁

      We are on food stamps, but my with my kids special diet they don’t go as far as they do for other people. Its tough, but I do the best I can.

      I was able to get the house modified under a crisis loan, so my mortgage payment is less than an apartment, and I still own the house so that was a HUGE blessing.

      We stand in the food pantry line every thirs saturday for diapers and paper products, but we usually can’t take the food bc of the dietary restrictions. 🙁

      You have not offended me 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to point all of that stuff out! Even if it won’t work for me, I know there are a lot of people in the same situation here, and I bet they will benefit from it. Thank you for being such a sweetheart!!

      Hugs

  • Sara A.
    January 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    It's so weird that they weren't willing to work with you on gluten-free and dairy-free options. I'm lactose-intolerant and they were able to change my milk for lactose-free while I was breastfeeding and they have brown rice, barley and chex on the approved list. Stupid government. Have you spoken to someone at the pantry or food-stamp office about your dietary restrictions and asked them for help working within those boundaries? If they're willing to work with vegetarians, vegans, and those who keep kosher and halal, then they should be able to work with dairy free and gluten free diets. With regards to WIC, in my city it makes a huge difference which office you go to. I always went to the smallest office that was only open once a week and was in and out in under 3 hours if I showed up at 8:00 AM. We're about two steps from where you are right now. We're officially poor, but not poor enough to qualify for section 8, food stamps, or help paying for child-care so I could actually work. We finally got insurance via the medicaid expansion last year after not having having any for almost a year. I'm so angry, we did everything right and we're still living paycheck to paycheck barely able to get ahead. We've finally broken down and accepted help from my parents so we can move to a bigger place because we cannot continue living in a 1 bedroom apartment as a family of 3. I haven't had new shoes since before dd was born and am pathetically happy to finally get the glasses I've needed for years. Being poor sucks so much. We were in a place a few years ago where we were able to put money away and buy things as we needed it. Nothing extravagant, but there was more breathing room and it was so nice. Now we're still better off than 2009, and much better off than we were this time last year, but I can't help but think about those months when we didn't have to worry. I went to college so I'd never have to worry and feel pinched on the inside and ended up feeling that way anyway. I should've participated in Occupy Wall Street, but was too busy working and too tired when I wasn't.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Lucky you, under three hours lol! I tried both offices and the five-six hour wait one was the shortest, and it’s a two hour round trip from my house. Ugh!! They tried to work with us on the allergies, but the stores never had the appropriate sized options in stock. So frustrating.

      I’m sorry you are going through your own struggles. It is so hard to be right on the cusp. Not poor enough to qualify for services, but not making enough to realistically live off of. I do try to remember that it’s a blessing that I’m “poor enough” to qualify for things.

      I’m glad your family was able to help you out. That’s amaszing to have a support system like that. I’m happy for you 🙂

      Have you tried goodwill for shoes?

  • Koro
    January 28, 2014 at 12:28 am

    *hugs* Thank you.

  • Sara A.
    January 28, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Ugh! That's terrible! We have 5 offices in my city and the closest one to my house is only open on Tuesdays until 3. I really wish that WIC or the supermarket had the option to get a differently sized option and allow us to pay the difference. It is wonderful to have family that is willing and able to help us, but it feels terrible to accept it. I'd much rather be able to support myself. We've got an infestation of hipsters round these parts. My local goodwill is picked over. I worked at a good quality shoe store for a long time and took full advantage of the discount while there, so I'm set on nice shoes, but it's hard to justify the everyday shoes when they are functional but ugly.

  • Anonymous
    January 29, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    One of my favorite authors, Caroline Myss, posted this today, and i thought it applies so perfectly to what you've said here:”Health is not just the slowest possible rate at which one can die, as some cynics say. The warm glow we get from helping others is not just a good physical feeling- it is the energy of healing grace that moves between the giver and receiver and blesses both. We need each other. We're not meant to be completely independent, but to give and receive. You cannot increase in self-understanding and well being and simultaneously remain isolated from humanity. You cannot strive for a healthier, more spiritual life if you keep yourself separate and apart from life around you. The Journey of the “self” also involves the journey of the “other.””

    • NotMyShametoBear
      January 29, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Ooooo, I like that! Thanks for sharing that with me!! 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Eden,You deserve everything beautiful in life…your children are a beautiful start :)Nathaliexoxoxox

    • NotMyShametoBear
      April 27, 2014 at 11:08 am

      *tear* Thank you hun 🙂

  • Anonymous
    June 21, 2014 at 3:18 am

    But, what about American entitlement. A lot of people think they deserve things they really don't, and a lot of people think they also need things they really don't. Are the things we need really necessities, or is the perception cultural? A person “needs” certain things to be a regular person among his friends, but chances are he would like without them.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      June 5, 2015 at 11:08 am

      I don’t see that anything you are saying has ANYTHING to do with this blog…

  • I forgot
    June 5, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    I don't see that anything you are saying has ANYTHING to do with this blog…

  • Buba
    September 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Since I've been catching up… I recently read this post and I also received this other article just yesterday. I found the timing of both events amazing since one complements the other, so I've decided to share it with you, because I found it deeply true.https://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/09/rob-lowe/Hugs!

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Thanks for sharing love!!

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