This I Believe

Courtney - Bryson City, North Carolina
Entered on March 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I remember around the time I was 15 or so, my mom become suddenly paranoid with the fact we needed to move. During the years leading up to my 15th birthday, my mother and I were living off Social Security (Survivor’s Benefits) from the death of my dad in 1989, and we received roughly $1200 a month. My mom knew that when I turned 16, we would lose half of that income. We needed to find a place where the water, the garbage/sewer, and the heat was free or inexpensive. So I remember packing up a Penske truck with my mom and leaving the world (Central Pennsylvania) that I had known all my life to start somewhere new.

We eventually ended up in North Carolina. Here most everything is very inexpensive, & living off $623 a month can be accomplished (even when your mortgage is $540). However, it is very difficult having to decide what bills to pay every month and which bills not to pay.

My mother and I have lost 3 cars, 1 house, 11 animals, & a few other odds & ends because of our income level in just the past 4 years. Our income level has caused me to miss out on many things including dropping from a community college to losing a job that I did have. I failed to mention earlier the only reason we live off the government is because my mother has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, CFS, arthritis, endometriosis (back in the day), bursitis, and a few other disorders. She cannot work & she almost always is in bed. She takes very strong medications everyday just to function enough to drive the car & walk, I’m very afraid that someday she is going to be in a wheelchair. She has never been able to hold a job down, so therefore she must wait until her 50th birthday to recieve full disability (which I feel is wrong).

So here I am, attempting to do the very best I can with furthering my education to become an English teacher, getting a license, & trying to find more work, with little to no income. I don’t want to live off the government anymore with my mother, I want to be able to own my first home (hopefully with nice things), own my first car, I want to be able to help those in desperate situations such as mine, I want to be able to teach the things I have learned along the way to my students, and I believe someday I will accomplish all those things.