Too many people see the face of prosperity in public and social media when it comes to their peers. Many forget to see that there is a lot more that goes behind the four walls of someone’s home. For example, people may not know that their neighbor, sister, brother or friend are on the verge of eviction, cupboards without food, and living without utilities.
I’ve mentioned before that I dodged homelessness while in graduate school. Well leading up to that point of breaking free from the stress of being homeless, I developed anxiety, stress related illness and hopelessness. For five years, I lived above my means to support myself and a mentally disabled family member. I had no support although employed, I couldn’t sustain my lifestyle. I had difficulties providing for someone else on limited income while trying to better myself.
I went to graduate school so that I can get a better paying job after upgrading my credentials. In that process, I was doubling on the student loans, credit cards even though I worked a full time job. My first year of grad school, I almost foreclosed on my house and evicted. I dropped out of school to clean up my finances. I couldn’t deal with dropping out of school, I decided to max out my loans. I even opened credit cards after not having any at all. I lived on majority of the borrowed income until I finished school and got a better paying job.
On the outside, people saw tenacity, ambition and self determination. All along, I was putting forth the face of prosperity. People had no idea that all night I was in tears and fear because I didn’t know how to make my next month mortgage payment. I worried my utilities would be turned off. Tears came over my eyes in the classroom when my bank text my phone that my account balance is below $25.00 and I needed gas for the next day. I lived in fear that one day my car would break down in the middle of the street at night after my night classes and I would be in the position to defend my safety.
I spent more time getting into debt to barely survive than I did on my education. It started to affect my school work to the point of failing classes. I failed a total of 3 graduate courses and was placed on academic probation. One day I broke down in tears in front of my professor expressing my last strike into homelessness. Needless to say, I had dropped out of school four more times before I could complete my master’s degree.
For five years, I lived in tears, fears and debt.