MY CUSTOMERS DIDN’T KNOW By Marcie
I’m not sure you can always recognize a homeless mom. She may not be hanging out in all the stereotypical homeless places. On the corner begging for donations. Or sleeping in a downtown doorway. No, she can be the nice girl at Starbucks who greets you every time you stop in for your morning latte.
I’m not that old really but 25 feels like a lifetime. I had my first of two children at age 16 and my second daughter at 20. Suicide felt like a real option on more than one occasion.
My family was normal, so I thought. I had dreams about becoming a fashion designer. We lived modestly. My dad beat my mom and I stood up for her. He abused drugs and alcohol and whatever relationship I had with him passed the first time I called the Police and had him arrested. Before I left home for good he had gone to jail a total of 3 times.
I guess I rebelled, went my own way at 15 and tried to make a life. I was on my own basically. I had a baby and expenses and I was still in high school. I worked to pay for an apartment and friends helped with my daughter. I struggled but got a GED that I’m proud of.
But the pressure of bills, job layoffs, school loans, school supplies took their toll. It was impossible to keep up. I got married at 18 thinking that I could provide a home for my then 2 year old. But the marriage only lasted a couple of years. With all that was going on, the marriage didn’t have a chance.
Why me I would ask? Why is this happening to me? All I ever wanted was to be happy, to be a fashion designer and design my own line of clothes. That’s when I lost my way. When I lost my confidence I lost my hope and my dreams. Life was winning and I was falling to the side of the road.
I drifted from friend to friend with my daughter and new baby. We slept on floors and stayed until we were asked to leave. I didn’t want to live this way with my children but didn’t have any choice. My mom helped with the rent for a time until her money ran out. Jobs were scarce and design school supplies were just too expensive. I was trying to work full time, go to school full time and raise my daughters. I was living on the edge everyday.
Finally it happened. I was evicted from my apartment and had absolutely no where to go. No job. No food. And two daughters to take care of.
We found a homeless shelter but I couldn’t leave the kids there each morning to look for work. My school age daughter missed a lot of school. I was doing the best I could just to give them a roof and some food. Shelters can be scary places and no place for little kids. People wander in from all walks of life and the general rule is to be on watch all the time. I got very little sleep each night.
Someone told me about Vision House and the rest I will forever be thankful for. It is truly a place to call home. We have food and shelter but mostly we have love. I have a part time job at a prominent NW Business, my first daughter is in school and my little 5 year old will start school this fall. I am back in school now and my dreams are back stronger than ever.
The people at Vision House give you your confidence back. They are there for you no matter what. I never feel alone. Yes, I am independent and want to do for myself. And, Vision House let’s me be me. But I know deep inside that I would have never made it without the help and support of Vision House. They are giving me a chance at life I couldn’t get anywhere else.