Lisa Iris, Gossamer Wings
One Single Mother's Triumphs
I am not truly a "single" mother, because I am technically married (at the time of this writing). But I have been separated for nearly a year, and even when I was still with him, his contributions financially were laughable. He made money, but he would waste it in spurts of frivolity, and he would hide any large sums he received.
It wasn't until I decided to leave him that I realized how important money is in my life. I have three small children, and I have to be able to take proper care of them. I was paralyzed by fear for years and love that made me blind to the possibilities. It wasn't until a good friend gave me the idea to stuff money into a safety deposit box myself (I mean, why not? He was hiding money from me, and what's good for the goose....). It took two years to get what I needed together, as I had to do it a little here and a little there to avoid detection.
In that same vein, it also took quite some time to find the right house. I subsequently found the perfect house for myself and these children. At first, my alcoholic, verbally abusive husband tried to trick me into thinking he had gone for help with his drinking problem, but then it quickly became apparent that he was simply trying to get me back where he wanted me: an imprisoned spouse. Well, no, thanks.
So I gave him six months. Ten months later, he decided that I wasn't worth his trouble. At first I was hurt by the irony of it all, but I digress...
At this point, I had already earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and the Social Sciences at the local university. Prior to that, I had spent eight and a half years in property management. I had previously worked in a wide variety of jobs, including a job
determining eligibility for cash assistance, food stamps and Medicaid.
After working for the state determining eligibility, I had started my own business in the accounting field (another ironic twist in my life.....).
I had written and recorded songs, had poetry published, and dabbled in artistic endeavours as well. But I felt no measure of success, because at the end of the day, I had a miserable (THIRD!) marriage to a man that I felt was a bad influence on my children and had never treated me right.
It took more courage than I ever thought possible to walk away. I was always in doubt as to whether or not this was the proper time or that was a better time. I put it off for many months after I was ready financially, primarily out of fear. It wasn't until he ruined my Christmas, and I had finally found the perfect house, that I knew it was time to walk away.
I don't think he believed me at first when I said I was leaving. I had threatened repeatedly to leave during heated arguments over the years. When I showed up with three men and a van, I think he was a little shocked. But he knew enough not to give me trouble. I took whatever would not cause an argument, and I bought myself whatever I still needed.
I have taught accounting software to small businesses for a few years now, and I have been able to support my children with that income. Recently, however, I thought to myself how nice it would be if I could get back into property management, as that was the job I had been the happiest at.
Shortly thereafter, the property manager for my building offered me a job as an independent contractor doing the same thing I used to do. I accepted. He has, since then, paid for me to go to real estate school, and I passed the test three days ago.
I am in Heaven. And this feeling of euphoria, for me, defines success. I am on my way to making my place in the world. Someday, I may just see my name in lights WITHOUT having to call myself "EXIT."