I remember coming across the blog of a woman who lost her job and had to move herself and her kids into her ex-husband’s garage. Many people thought she was in a more than horrible situation, but I remember thinking how lucky she was to have someone willing to take her in while she looked for a job. There were a lot of times where I thought that if we could just stay with family for a month then we’d be able to save enough money to get a place but I never voiced that idea out loud.
One of the hardest things about the recession is knowing that other people are struggling too but feeling like 1) no one is as bad off as you are and 2) no one really understands your situation. It’s already embarrassing enough to live in a hotel but I felt like lower than a kicked dog when my friends would say “Diva there are so many people out of work” and “Everyone is struggling.” Yeah but not like me! No one has lost everything like I have! No job! No home! No husband! Nobody knows the trouble I seen!!! (You can laugh at that last part).
This past weekend I caught up with an old friend that I hadn’t seen since I moved to Oregon in 2008. I met her back in 2001 when I mentored her daughter through my sorority. I have always known her as a happily successful business owner who built a gorgeous house out in an easy living suburb and 5 wonderful kids. In the time that I’ve known her she has put her oldest son through law school, the daughter I mentored is an investment banker, the next daughter is in medical school and her two youngest are finishing high school. She’s healthy. She is comfortable. She has always appeared to be a rockstar on the inside (and none of my opinion is based on the material things…I mean her personality).
When she originally called me I was having a really bad mental trip. I’ve gotten to the point where I stop calling my friends because I feel like a bother or that they’re probably really tired of hearing me whine and complain. But when she called I couldn’t help it and I unleashed. After she talked me off the ledge we made plans to hook up the next day and fully catch up. Now when I met her there were already stories about her husband being out in the streets and I knew that she was divorced. So when I poured my heart out about the last two years and she said “Honey I’ve been there” I knew that she understood the relationship issues I’ve had. I didn’t feel like I was being patronized or placated. I told her the story of THE Oprah episode (the one I always refer back to as my own personal recession failed marriage a-ha moment) and I told my friend how I could see the contempt all over the wife’s face about her husband not protecting them. My friend cut me off when she said “Especially when he’s the reason you’re sleeping in the park!” I was shocked. She told me her story that I never knew:
“Diva my husband was a police officer and he had so many women on the side that he lost his job because of it. His boss didn’t even know he was married until she came to the house one day and I introduced myself and our three kids with the 4th on the way.”
PAUSE – I knew he’d been caught with one of his side chicks when he wrecked a car but it turns out that it was his CITY ISSUES SQUAD CAR! So obviously they let him go.
“He wasn’t able to pay the bills anymore and I was fresh in my trade. Diva we slept in the car in the park with 4 kids. We had to take turns sleeping so we could keep an eye on the kids. Oh….and while I was pregnant I had to go get a shot for an STD!”
You could have knocked me over with a feather!
“Every few weeks I would make enough money to rent a hotel room for a weekend. So when I got free…life got good for me.”
SHOCKED YA HEAR ME!!!
When we finished talking I thought about my friend encouraging me to write about what life has been like these past 2 years and I felt like maybe I wasn’t alone after all.
Thanks for visiting Diva (in Demand). My blog escapades have followed me across 4 states, 3 jobs, a business venture, and a new husband. There are no mini divas yet but I have loads of nieces and nephews to slobber and wipe their dirty hands on me. I am an amateur pastry chef, certified cake decorator, and seasoned home cook who knows how to pair French cuiseine with fine wine, collard greens and cornbread. You'll find a little bit of everything around here.....where I take talking to myself to a whole new level.