I’d really love to visit the USA again sometime, infact, you could say it would be a dream holiday for me, but I’m feeling quite grateful that I don’t actually live there! Before offending any of my US cousins, I’d like to explain why i’ve come to this conclusion. I am a fan of the author Marianne Williamson, from California and on her facebook page today, she posted the above link regarding the cut in food stamps. I found this really shocking! Forcing other fellow human beings, especially our children into poverty is not only narrow-minded and short-sighted but false economy. It really helps no-one. In the long run, we all know that poverty leads to suffering and desperation and desperate people do desperate things, leading to a rise in social problems such as drug and alcohol abuse and crime. Who wants to live in a society full of victims and based on fear? Even if you don’t really care about the suffering of others and hold the belief that “they probably deserved it anyway”, don’t be foolish enough to think that by saving this money that it will make your society a better place to be. It doesn’t take a genius, or me for that matter, to point out that an increase in crime correlates, not only to heightened fear, but an increase on spending for more private security, policing, courts and prisons! Doesn’t sound like a win:win to me. It’s just stupidity personified.
This story also resonates with me in a very personal way, as I turned to the state for assistance. Previously, I never thought that I would be in such a situation and I learned that if It could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. The experience certainly humbled me and I hope that I’ve learned my lesson not to be so judgemental of others. The wiser I become, the more I realise what little I really do know! I consider myself to have come from a “good”, respectable family. I graduated from University and I have a profession, as do my parents and siblings. So how did I end up becoming utterly dependant on the equivalent of the US food stamps? When I left my abusive husband almost 5 years ago, I left with one suitcase and my 2 very young children. Overnight we became homeless, my ex emptied my bank account, and I had just enough clothes for the three of us for a couple of days. Can you imagine? Suddenly, after being relatively well off, we had absolutely nothing! At that time, we had only been in Europe for 2 years, but because my ex exercised his rights, I was legally unable to return to my family, with my children to my home country where I would have received the emotional and financial support of my family. This was very frustrating to say the least, as my ex did not (officially) work, therefore the courts were not able to force him into paying up. You can’t get blood out of a stone and all that. Consequently, we ended up at the Welfare Office where we were provided with health care, dental care, housing, food, toiletries and clothing! All our immediate, basic needs were met, so I’m grateful to all those forward-thinking and compassionate politicians. I found myself in a situation which I didn’t expect, nor would I have chosen, and although I grieved for the many material things that I had lost, I actually found myself feeling quite grateful, relieved, and hopeful. This financial support eased some of the pressures on me and meant that my spirit could start to heal. Had I been forced back to work at this time, I have no doubt that my children would have really suffered as I did not have the inner resources to cope with so many demands at that time. I really had to take things one step at a time. There I was with a small baby and a small child, alone and in a foreign country with a different language – it was scary!!! Getting back to work in such a hellish situation would have been totally overwhelming. Moreover, because of the psychological abuse which we were subjected to, the children and I were also very traumatised by our experiences and they needed me more than ever at this time. Our spirits needed to heal, as they were so battered and bruised. Having been given this financial safety net, my children and I have had the chance to begin getting back on our feet and leading a more normal life. I recently started my own business and it feels rewarding getting back into the work force. I am proud of myself as a mother because against the odds, I have been able to provide a stable and loving environment for my 2 children. The children see me having to face adversity, but also seeing me find a way through the challenges, as opposed to remaining a victim. I hope that my children will also learn something positive from this adversity and it will shape them positively as they grow up into adulthood.
Of course some critics would argue that if parents paid child support there would be no need for these state hand-outs, saving the tax payer a fortune. I understand this view point totally and I wish that there was a better way of getting irresponsible people to behave responsibly. But until a cure for irresponsibilty is found, I am just grateful that my children were not penalised by society for having the misfortune of being born into the circumstances that they found themselves. Thank you Universe!