The tale of the shitty-ass trailer

Posted by gminks in #vDM30in30 | Tagged , | 2 Comments

this post is dedicated to my children

Last night we all watched in disbelief, as a racist, misogynistic man who has lied about his education, failed in business, and is one of the things I made you promise not to become (a reality TV star), not to mention a man who has some pretty serious charges leveled against him, become the President of the United States.

The emotional fallout for everyone close to me has been swift and pretty intense. How do we deal with the fact that such a man was elected to lead our nation?

What’s the point of even trying anymore?

Personally, I had a hard time sleeping last night. I thought about the water protectors in Standing Rock. I thought about my Muslim friends. I thought about my family back in Florida. I thought about all of my black and brown friends, and those who are different in so many ways than me. I thought about all my friends in Canada who would probably take me in, and then I thought about how much I hate the snow. I thought about how I would be the voice of strength and reason for my children.

All day the gloom hung over me, it perfectly matched the weather in Austin. Praying couldn’t shake it, neither did smudging.

Then my landlady called to let me know I had left an antique folding table in the house I just moved out of. “You wouldn’t believe the things people have left, I could write a book” she told me. And then I told her, “Oh I can believe it, I used to clean trailers for my landlord when I lived in the shitty-ass trailer”.

Then I told her the story of the shitty-ass trailer.

I lived there when I was first going to college. My family had cut me off (for religious reasons, the first of many times…), and I was truly raising 2 kids on my own, juggling school and 2 part-time jobs. I didn’t make enough money to live in Section 8 housing, that’s how poor I was. So we lived in the shitty-ass trailer.

The shitty-ass trailer was awful. There were huge holes in it. Rats used to get in, and the landlord told me I couldn’t get a cat. I filled all the holes with steel wool (rats can’t eat through steel wool), but they’d find other ways in. But once I got Lovey, she kept them (and the possums that would get in trying to keep warm) away from us.

I couldn’t even afford to pay the rent on the shitty-ass trailer, so the landlord let me clean his other trailers when he kicked out the druggies who skipped out on him. He didn’t actually pay me, he kept track of how many hours I worked and took it off my rent. Sometimes in the winter (slow season in a beach town) I still couldn’t pay my rent, The landlord let me slide, he knew once I got more hours, or my Pell Grant came in, I’d pay him.

The shitty-ass trailer is still there. I drive past it every time I go home. To remember.

My former landlady told me I was the one who should write a book. And I thought about how far I’d come, in spite of the odds and obstacles I faced. We laughed about it all.  And I realized what a blessing laughing is, and how it helped me remember the important things.

I made it because I’m smart, stubborn, tenacious, and lucky. I was going to get out of poverty for my children come hell or high water. I made it happen. I wouldn’t take handouts, I’d clean even shittier trailers than the shitty-ass trailer instead. No one was going to stop me.

I know things look grim now, and I feel the same suffocating weight. Maybe you don’t see me ranting and railing because with age I’ve realized that we need to save our energy for what’s coming. I also realize that my first fight wasn’t just for me, it was for your children, and your grandchildren. The most important thing is to keep close, to remember to attack this with purpose and love.

You have my genes, you’re smart, stubborn, tenacious, and lucky. And I have your back.

We’ll figure this out.

2 Responses to The tale of the shitty-ass trailer

  1. Kris says:

    I have such respect and admiration for you.

  2. Lea Ann says:

    You are all kinds of awesome and I’m sure Brianna and Kenny realize that on a daily basis.

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