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Dear Poverty: It's not you, it's me.

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We've been together a long time, you and me. And what a ride we've had! There were times when I couldn't have loved you more my dear poverty, and times when it seemed as if all that kept us together was my absolute hatred for you. However, I have to admit, that these last few years I feel like we've stayed together more because I feel bad leaving, after all that you've given me, than because we still belong together.

But like I tell my kids, doing what's truly right for you is the best way to take care of everyone else in your life. And so I feel certain that it is time I move on.

Looking back I can see the attraction we had for each other was tangible and real. In so many ways I needed you. I discovered the world of recycling clothes and books could be easily as rewarding as buying my own. I was often tempted to steal, knowing well what it is to want, but because my relationship with you was so solid I also knew what it was to go without, and how unnecessary so many of my wants were.

Remember that time my tire blew out on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, Manitoba? I had no phone, no money and no spare tire? My oldest son was still an itty-bitty thing and we were on our way back home from the nearest town that had a McDonalds where I had successfully swiped my boy some half-eaten cheeseburger and a couple of fries off of another families unfinished tray.  That day I just relaxed with a busted tire and played with him while I waited for someone--anyone!--to come driving down the road with a willingness to stop and offer help. We weren't in any real rush to get home, and I knew with certainty that help would come. You had taught me to believe in the kindness of others and so, although I was anxious, I also knew the problem would be solved. And it was! After you and I had been together even longer you guided me toward learning that I didn't have to wait for help, but with a little confidence and ingenuity could pull up my big girl pants and do it myself. 

There were times when I tried to leave you, but never for the right reasons or in the right way. Dating guys because they had credit cards and wore suits to work. Silly me!!

You helped me teach my kids the value of family, the importance of prioritizing for yourself and never judging anyone in the world for doing it different, the importance of being responsible for yourself and your actions while absolutely adoring the feeling of reaching out to help others. Something about the simplicity in our lives together made those lessons always on the surface, always insisting on being seen. Thank-you for that.

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But some of the life lessons that I want so badly to learn, that I want to be able to example for my children, you have been holding me back from. It's not you, it's me. I need space to discover this other part of myself.

The fear and embarrassment I feel when I get paid to work. My total lack of belief in deserving money for being myself and helping out. Admittedly, you have helped me to see that part of myself. Because of you I work hard looking for ways to make ends meet, but bump constantly into this issue and come running back to you. With you I am comfortable (if a bit hungry!) and know how it works. Walking into a store in torn jogging pants and stained shirts while singing and smiling at strangers has been my way of asking the world to see me for me, while hopefully reminding them do the same with everyone and everything else in the world! And it's been wonderful!

But I see clearly that when faced with the opportunity to get paid for being me and working hard and sharing my thoughts and time with others frightens me. I feel self-conscious and afraid of letting people down. Of being someone who "sold out'. How can I teach my own children to face their fears with a willingness to grow and change if I won't?

I do hope you understand. I truly see that you have been good for me and that we have done beautiful things together. You are not bad or wrong inherently, but now you are for me.

I want to get paid and feel like I deserve it. I want to tell my kids that they can have an ipod and a new pair of shoes so that they can learn that you can do wonderful things with, as well as without. I want to move on.

And although I have absolutely loved our time together, no, I don't want to be friends.

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http://www.tsarashelton.com/

As the mother of four wonderful teenage boys Tsara spends a lot of time figuring out who she is so she can teach her sons to do the same. She also hears herself holler, "Stop Eating!" an awful lot! As her boys get older, she gets louder while (more...)
 

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One of the most important things I try to teach my... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 8:31:23 AM
It is a laudable idea that "I am the only one who ... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 5:40:32 PM
Well said and thank-you! I believe with all of my ... by Tsara Shelton on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:04:39 PM
Keep up the good work. You have a talent, and with... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 8:22:12 PM
Also, love thy neighbor as Thyself. Peace may com... by Burl Hall on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 6:44:52 AM
Beautiful... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 8:31:37 AM
Thank-you! And thank-you for offering a place wher... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:19:19 PM
These are sobering times. So many people are strug... by Vincent Guarisco on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 10:36:23 AM
Thank-you Vince! Your words mean much! And I love ... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:24:54 PM
although not a very concise narrative.  Some ... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 12:30:36 PM
Money is like blood. It should move around and wor... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 1:52:13 PM
... by William Huie on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 4:18:36 PM
I love that your comments so often ask for clarifi... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:12:06 PM
propaganda best articulated by Ronald Reagan, who ... by bogi666 on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 7:36:34 AM
Oops! I think my comment appeared twice. Sorry!!I ... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:14:14 PM
 with family  and all.  I think, at... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:53:12 PM
It must be understood that technology increases wa... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 5:33:15 PM
This is a beautiful article Tsara.  Beautiful... by Burl Hall on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 6:29:19 PM
Burl, I have no idea what my name means! My mom in... by Tsara Shelton on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 12:26:40 PM
It  is one of the  versions  of the... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 12:41:02 PM
of your time! Thank-you Mark for letting me know w... by Tsara Shelton on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 1:31:06 PM
We'll dine at a local foods diner...where we know ... by Burl Hall on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 2:45:38 PM
I don't live in Maine--I'm living in Texas--but I ... by Tsara Shelton on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:15:28 PM
optimism of nonsense propaganda is orchestrated by... by bogi666 on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 7:51:38 AM
Yeah, that is how the story goes alright, bogi. Th... by Ned Lud on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:17:01 AM
Thank-you so much for taking the time to comment, ... by Tsara Shelton on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 1:46:21 PM
Who we are is a product of 'what we were'. The unc... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 5:53:09 AM
I truly enjoyed reading that! And have observ... by Tsara Shelton on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 2:11:02 PM
The propaganda of happy talk, psychobabble nonsens... by bogi666 on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:16:50 AM
I understand the possible dangers of 'happy talk' ... by Tsara Shelton on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 2:21:41 PM
911 and the bailout of the banksters, occur. Then ... by bogi666 on Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 6:37:36 AM
communicated here a respect for simplicity. That i... by intotheabyss on Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 at 8:23:41 PM
Poverty may have certain beautiful humbling effect... by David Chester on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 4:11:38 AM
And, I realized that our ancestors have wondered j... by William Huie on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 4:30:02 PM
Unhealthy shame is a cornerstone of the phony chri... by bogi666 on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 7:25:37 AM
Yes "poverty" in America is a syndrome created to ... by macdon1 on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:32:06 AM
I have struggled without enough money to pay basic... by macdon1 on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:21:20 AM
With a snapshot exposure of her life Tsara Shelton... by Paul Repstock on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:45:24 AM
Poverty is not an enemy. It is a teaching tool th... by Mary Pitt on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 11:16:51 AM
Your 'simplicity' must have been hard earned. My ... by Paul Repstock on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 1:23:32 PM
I emigrated to the Left Coast when I was young and... by Mary Pitt on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 3:02:31 PM
is the key to everything.Most people have responsi... by Doc McCoy on Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 9:10:39 PM
The power of 'positive' thinking: http://www.le... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 6:01:29 AM
Cuts through the happy talk, psychobabble propagan... by bogi666 on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:40:08 AM
   Positive thinking is one of the ingre... by Bob Gormley on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 9:30:49 AM
why won't  you send such message ot Maddow? h... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 9:43:31 AM
We all know Codger, he's Scrooge (before the 'tran... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 10:52:49 AM
because the originator kept praising Joseph McCart... by bogi666 on Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 6:50:49 AM
Tsara, your article really struck a chord with me.... by Debbie Scally on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:26:43 PM
Ms. Shelton's piece was beautiful, touching, and i... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 5:27:22 PM
Your right! My article is very much a personal ins... by Tsara Shelton on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:23:58 PM
I think she's got it! My mother was unlettered an... by Mary Pitt on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 7:36:17 PM
Read what I said in my comment to you at the top.... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 8:24:29 PM
Tsara, not sure if this is something that will int... by Burl Hall on Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 3:17:06 AM