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Poverty prevents my family from stability, happiness

Brithany Cervantes

February 06, 2020

My life has been a series of ups and terrible, terrible downs. Every other day, every other year, my family falls into a pit, a deep pit that takes much time to get out of. 

We are still in the pit, but we only have a few more inches to climb to reach the surface. We are a family living in poverty. 

One of our worries is if we will have money to buy groceries. In fact, my mom would eat very little to nothing sometimes so she could feed us.

But thankfully, we qualify for free and reduced lunches, so we know we will get two meals at school even if we don’t know if we will eat at night. 

In addition, our living conditions are horrible because we live in poverty. 

For 17 years, we lived in a trailer.  

Our seasons were opposite! By that, I mean during the summer, our air conditioning did not work. It would be hotter inside at times than it was outside. 

During the winter, the heater did not work; we invested so much money buying individual heaters for each room. Due to the heat not working, the water in our shower and sinks would stop working or only the cold water would work. 

Most times, our kitchen sink was functional, so to shower we would boil water and do it the “old fashioned way”- boiled water and buckets. 

As a result of our situation, we fought. From the crack of dawn to lights-out, my family would yell, argue, and cry. 

Living in such conditions makes it hard to be happy. Outside the home, my family “faked it” until we came home. 

We smiled big outside our home in front of others and made sure to help others even though we could barely help ourselves. It has been a struggle, but when we weren’t fighting and could have a small cookout among ourselves, we invited our family and friends to share what we had. 

We have been pushed to excel in school, sports, and activities; but it is so hard. 

It is so hard balancing problems I can’t control and trying to solve other problems that pop up out of nowhere. 

I have lived most of my 17 years in poverty. Doors were not working, lights no longer turned on, air conditioning and heaters no longer worked, and the hot water never returned. 

Then, a miracle happened. My family purchased a new home. And we officially moved in a week ago. There is heat, air conditioning, light, hot water, and everything a normal household should have. 

However, my family put all the money we saved into moving and fixing our new home. We do not have money for extra expenses. Going out to the movies or buying clothes for sports and activities is impossible. 

If we do go out, it’s with a little money that we saved for over a week. Money has been a huge factor in our lives, but the arguments and fights make me want to leave.

Every day since 2012, arguments have arisen. Almost every year, there would be talks of divorce and screams of hatred. We haven’t been a ‘family’ in a very long time. Yes, we have our days if we are lucky, a good week involves only just one fight. 

Poverty has made my family emotionally detached from one another. 

Deep down, we love each other. I love my family, but it is getting hard. To this day, I struggle to remember how life used to be before the fights, before the stress, and before the financial strain. 

            There are fights about everything: bills, cars, trust. Money is the root of our unhappiness and poverty is the root of our problems. My brother is fed up and will be leaving next month. I leave in June, and my younger sister and brother will continue to face challenges. I am sure with the new change of homes and the money we have begun to save; it is going to be better. 

            Everything is going to change; I hope it does. I have faith that one day it will be better. I am optimistic; I want to be a family again. I want us to be pieced together for one last time before I go. I forgot how it feels. We do not eat together; we disperse into our corners. 

            I just wish.

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