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I have been following the blogger “Well, That’s That – With Mama A” and I quite enjoy the posts. They like to do these Prompts about a subject and then talk about it. I thought it was a good way to get my juices going. There are some days that I simply do not know what to write about, and some of my experiences might not be the best thing to post, because they may get a bit depressing – I guess. My goal is not to depress anyone, but sometimes I think I forget and still post. Anyhow, I like some of the prompts and decide to write about an experience of mine related to a prompt they posted, so that brings me to my first prompt which I will be writing about which is called “A Challenge I faced and Overcame”.
Now, I did mention that I did not want my posts to be depressing, and hopefully the way I write this post it won’t be, but I thought it was a good experience that fit the prompt – so let’s see how it goes.
I feel the experience that connects the most with this prompt is the time I was all alone at age 13 for 13 months. It was summer for me, and I was about to start 7th grade, but a few weeks before school started my mother was pulled over while intoxicated unfortunately it was her third strike, and she had to do 13 months in prison. The thing that gets to me is how nobody even noticed that a 13-year-old kid was living alone, it blows my mind. Anyhow, so my challenge started, I was left alone and had to figure things out, like getting to school, eating, cleaning, things like that. The thing that blows my mind is how was my mother still able to pay the rent, electricity, water, and phone, I will never know how she did it. The thing is that as far as food, well I only had what she had left before going to jail and well a 13-year-old kid is not very good at rationing, well, I never had to, so my food ran out within a month. Here is where I overcame the food challenge. You see I was able to get free breakfast and lunch at school, so that was a huge help, but come dinner, I had nothing. As for getting to school, my mom use to drive me because we lived on the other side of town, but now I had to take the bus, which I did not know how to. Of course, I learned, and it took about 2 hours to get to school from where I lived. During those 13 months, I got to know the bus drivers from the three buses I had to take, which was cool, because there were days I was running late and they would wait for me, which I totally appreciated. Now I had the drive to school and most of the meals covered but washing my clothes or getting hygiene stuff was another thing. Since I had no money of course I could not get toothpaste, laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning stuff, and so on – yes toilet paper. Here I thought this pandemic was bad, you know all the hoarding people were doing with toilet paper, well I simply ran out. You are wondering how I overcame the dirty laundry and toilet paper, well first off, I washed my clothes by hand with only water and then I set them out in the sun to dry. As for the toilet paper thing, luckily every morning we would get a newspaper delivered and that is all I have to say about that. The toothpaste thing, well, I used baking soda to brush my teeth, I vaguely remembered my mom doing it once. As for shampoo or body soap, well I just showered with water and scrubbed the best I could.
Now, unfortunately of course the school year was over, and here is where the real challenge began. For the months June, July, and August it all started to become a blur and to this date, I could not tell you how I made it through almost three months without food. All I do remember is that a new set of neighbors happen to move in next door just weeks before the school year ended, you see I lived in a duplex, and the new neighbors did notice that I was alone, but they said nothing and instead every once in a while on the weekends they would have a barbeque and they would come over and offer me a plate, well a couple of plates thinking someone lived with me. I think if it wasn’t for them, I probably would not have made it that summer. Now, at the start of the new school year when I went back to school, my classmates noticed that I had lost quite a bit of weight, but no one cared, and life went on.
I remember that night like it was yesterday, I could hear my mom’s voice, but it sounded like it was far away, you know muffled up, and then I heard her scream. You see my mom found me in a fetal position on the bathroom floor, I looked like a small child, and if I remember correctly, I weighed about 95 pounds when she found me. I could feel her arms wrap around me as she was crying, and the next thing you know I was sitting at the kitchen table eating a can of chicken noodle soup, like an animal – so weird writing this down and remembering. I mean this might be a bit more than overcoming a challenge, but it was one of many that I would endure through my life.
I hope it wasn’t too depressing, or too much for anyone, I thought about the prompt and this experience was the first thing that came to mind (laughter). Well with that, I do want to thank you for reading this far, I know it was probably a bit much more than you bargain for, so I want to leave you with a positive thought, “We will face many trials in our lifetime, some extremely worse than others, but after writing this piece, I believe we all have what it takes to make it through any and all challenges that come our way.”