Walking barefoot on broken glass

It has been hard to recover after this summer of hell. Frankly the last 7 years have been hellish and hit or miss on the happiness factor. We have done our very best to make the most out of this situation and rugs keep getting pulled out from under our feet. The court battle keeps getting feed and I can’t seem to get away from it. I feel like I am forced to walk barefoot on broken glass. The pain surges up my legs into my brain and doesn’t stop. The bill monster keeps reminding me I am behind and the money isn’t pouring in. It’s simply not. Now, I have a LOT going on and doing my best to change our circumstances but I’ll tell you it’s really hard. I keep getting dragged up north to attend court hearings and that causes me to lose that weeks pay. Again, putting us behind. I know that’s the intent by his lawyer. To keep pushing the limits and to keep hurting me finically.

Somedays, I feel like its an exercise in futility. Once I had a savings account. Once I had a decent job and in one court order…I lost it all. It’s hard to explain to folks how painful this all has been. Overwhelming doesn’t seem to be strong enough of a word to describe the constant stress that we have been forced to live under. The stress has caused me to have weight gain, sleeplessness, my B’s and D’s are down again. All for what? That’s how it was over the last 6.5 years. I haven’t had a job with benefits in years. I haven’t had health insurance since my ex immediately took me off of his.

Yes, that’s what its like to live in poverty. A small taste of the continuation of the struggle. Poverty is like quicksand. It’s so easy to feel one moment you are getting straight and then the next…POOF. Gone. One missed the car payment, One missed Rent Check. The zombie effect of poverty makes time seem as though it’s slow but it’s passing you by at rapid speeds. Then you are back to Ground Zero. Bills keep pouring in and now they are fined as they are late. It’s like walking on a hot frying pan wearing vaseline slippers. It will take a miracle to get out of this cycle. The feeling of the mind-boggling overwhelming shit storm hits and you begin to lose control over the bills, time and even your own needs.

Poverty sucks and it sucks, even more, when you are FORCED to be in this role. In my upcoming book (yes, I know I am having to edit AGAIN) I explain everything that we endured and the whys. Its a harrowing and chilling story. But through of the shit we have been put through, I made sure my daughter was loved, cared for and has more than enough. I find every scholarship I can to keep her going. I hug her, support her, encourage her and praise her. Whether we live in a house, tree, car or storage unit, I will always give her all that I can. I dont have very much for clothing, shoes, or personal items as I am focused on her. She is the one who needs, I will be fine. We laugh, joke and do all that we can do to get our lives back to some form of happi place. She is doing well in school and her art is FANTASTIC.

Breath. 

As I write, I feel tears welling up as this journey has been emotional and painful on many levels. The largest is that I trusted someone who is so deeply hateful, he won’t stop doing everything he can just to keep hurting us. That’s a sadness I can’t seem to heal. But my feet keep moving forward and I still wave my flag in hopes that our circumstances change quickly. That for once, we get that much-needed break. I fake my happiness when I have to and I cry when I have too. I stay up all night accepting that my thinking is riddled with fears and there are some nights I sleep like a baby. I pace the house, fearing that we will lose it and I am nervous at work fearing I will lose my job because of all the damn court hearings. Then I breathe and come to terms with the fact that we are where we are because I am supposed to be here. I am supposed to tell the world our story to inspire change. To inspire young women to keep moving forward.

Breath. 

Chloe and I are just starting to feel stable & normal again. We are sleeping better and laughing more. She is finally having friends over. We are making plans for a vacation next year and looking forward to volunteering at various upcoming events. We are meeting new people and becoming one with our community. I feel like we might catch up financially as I took on a new 3-month contract and  I was also hired as Creative Director for Cheers, Sip, & Paint. I will have to work extremely hard to find work with this role but it’s a good opportunity that eventually will help us stabilize. I have to build a book of business to get this rolling. The income is just not immediate and everyone wants immediate. I am included in that. I am doing all that I can to get us back on our feet and yet We are still tittering on collapse. We are so very fragile. My ex-decided that he was going to stop paying child support in May and that caused a huge issue as I am now behind on rent. He is paying again but hasn’t paid the arrears so I am still behind. It only takes one misstep to fall completely backward as one tries to recover from poverty. Or one Hurricane named Irma who also cost me another weeks wages.

Can I get a break here?

Breath.

Unfourtantly, New Hampshire has not understood or simply may not care as to what finical withholding is. Or how it is used as a way to abuse the other party. The goal of this form of abuse is to make everything completely difficult. And so far, its worked. Things have been very difficult and I am glad that some folks have been patient with this like my job. I know I won’t lose it. My current landlord is losing her patients though. Frankly, New Hampshire is so far in the dark about Domestic Violence issues and there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to take it like a “good girl”. It has been a strange process to go through when some many years have gone by, the many wasted $$’s fighting in court and the refusal to respond to co-parenting requests.  The TIT for TAT, Gaslighting, and the storytelling that is mostly untrue but has convinced some. The years keep going by but his desire to keep fighting has not ended. The truth is always going to be smeared with some delusional paranoid thought and the truth will be lost in the battle. I suppose that is why family courts are just not ever going to be an honest place to be.

And there is nothing I can do….but share my story.

What I have endured is that there is a spiraling effect in the courts. The largest problem is that money will buy your verdict. The second largest fault is that lawmakers are apathetic with domestic violence issues and so cases like mine get to drag on and on and on.  I have found in New Hampshire, I haven’t seen it here in Florida or in the Vermont courts, is that New Hampshire judges are allowed to use discretion more than law. So, if the judge doesn’t “like”  you, you are not taken seriously. The case is automatically swayed to the other side EVEN if the evidence shows them to be in the wrong. One would think after 7 years of the BS my ex-has put us through, the courts would finally do something about him. This spirals around and around and there is no way to stop it. This is also a form of abuse that New Hampshire doesn’t recognize. The utilization of court to continue to hurt the parent by bringing them in on false charges, the latest in my case was a “clarification & demand” for me to pay his lawyers fees. Around 6K. There is that darn finical withholding again.

84% of the single mothers in this country are well below poverty level and they are very under-represented as they are not able to pay for a lawyer. Like me. I have a degree and skill set but its hard to get a high paying job that will allow you to work between the hours of 9-4 as you don’t have childcare. That too costs money. ITs even harder when you have a pending felony over your head as your ex will do all that he can to claim you kidnapped his child. True? Not even close.  Granted Chloe is now 12, she does not feel she is ready to be home alone yet and after what she has gone through, I totally understand it. So, single mother like myself are forced to work low-income jobs, multiple jobs and that too can cause frustration. Heaven forbid you to get a Public Defender in New Hampshire, as you still have to pay for them.

Surprise! 

And that’s how the spiral goes for the poor. For the mothers fighting for their children. The laws are set up in such a way that you are either forced to quit fighting or jailed for fighting and in some circumstances, the children are removed because you just can’t get on your feet while the other continues to hit you with court dates. Money wins. I really feel that New Hampshire has set up the “system” to punish the poor. There have been ZERO regards to our struggle and there was even a comment by the judge that I should be able to pay my bills on my weekly salary of 210$. Ok?

“So, if you are poor, let’s push you down further.”‘

” Lets really see how homeless you can be.”

Yes, there is a disparity between reality and the law. This is how the Family court system works, at least what I have experienced in New Hampshire.It’s not about the children. It’s simply about who has the most money, who has the strongest will and who can find the dirtiest lawyer. My mind still remains boggled at how the “system” fails so many folks.

And so, we move forward with- I am sure– more battling and his continuation of not responding to pertinent co-parenting questions. And all because he wants to make things difficult. 7 years later its still the same. Nothing but the same thing. What a ride.  All I can say is that it’s deeply heartbreaking to know that the focus of his attention is to get back at me and not help raise his daughter. BUT the family courts allow this to continue. He has the money to keep paying for a lawyer who utilizes these tactics and New Hampshire continues to allow it. I am just grateful that we have already gone through 7 years and there is only about 5 left to go before it finally stops.

My goal this year is to lose my extra pounds & to get healthy! I will keep supporting Chloe and all the amazing things she has accomplished. As well, I will keep working towards stabilizing our life and praying that one day, this family can heal from the unfathomable pain caused by hate and a broken judicial system.

 

                                                                                Until next time……………………

 

 

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