Today's assignment is grim 'n' gruesome, to my mind. Day 18: "A picture of your biggest insecurity, and the reasons why it is the biggest."
My biggest insecurity is being poor, really poor - homeless poor.
The reasons range from things like not having the basics - shelter, food, warmth - to the effects extreme poverty has on health. When you're that kind of poor, who can afford doctors? dental care? glasses? Not just the extras that make life enjoyable, but the almost-necessities, like soap and toothpaste.
I know there are agencies that help, but I also know there are too many cracks in the system for them to compensate for everything.
When the ex-husband left, I saw just how supportive the system could be. Yes, I was entitled to support. It took them months to get it. He had a good job; they didn't have to search for him. But if the mills of God grind exceedingly fine, the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow - when they grind at all.
I nearly lost the house - which was the only place my children and I had to live. The third-hand car I had was held together with spit and baling wire. We were living on cereal, and any help that we might have applied for was denied us because I had a house, even though it was mortgaged to the hilt and belonged more to the finance company than to me.
I know there are people worse off than I am. There were people then who were worse off than I was. I had a house, a car, food. My children were taken care of, not ideally, but at least we weren't living on the street.
I finally was offered a job, almost literally in the nick of time. I was so far behind on bills and payments that I never really could catch up, but I managed to hold on until the youngest finished high school. Then, selling the house enabled me to take care of the rest of the bills - and after that came the move to England, so it all worked out.
It was close, so close, and it has left me truly frightened of ending up across that line.
See why I said it was grim and gruesome? I'll have nightmares tonight, but I still look on the bright side: I may have bad dreams, but it will be in a comfortable bed in a nice snug house, where I'll be warm and dry. My heart bleeds for the ones who don't have that, and have only the nightmares.
All I can do is keep the faith and believe better days are coming, for us all.
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are...