Monday, September 9, 2013

Verbal Judo, no a-worky for-a me...

I visited Workforce Services today--to BEG them to help me pay for childcare costs.  It's ridiculous, I know, but it almost killed me.  I wore my best outfit, something my mom bought for me to wear at my first big book signing, the one at Barnes & Noble.
In fact, if you google "ec stilson barnes and noble" these three pictures will come up. 
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Thank you, Fran. *giggling* (This is her husband--and I'm not sure why he comes up when searching for my signing on Google Images--but it's EPIC!) 
Check out her blog HERE
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Anyway, as I walked into Workforce Services, I held my five and three-year-old's hands.  I bit my lip, to keep from crying, and trudged to the line near the counter.  A woman standing just in front of me, studied everything about my appearance, grimaced, and scooted ever-so-slightly away.
    Did she know how far my life has fallen?  Is it that obvious?  
    After all, my full-time job makes just as much as it costs to pay a childcare provider for my four kids each month! Did she know how horrific the last month has been, with some family members and friends--and neighbors who I don't even know--judging me because of rumors that have spread.  From the nights I spent with my kids in a women's shelter?  From how desperate, scared and alone, this makes me feel?  

    As I stood waiting, I started to think about last night again . . . . 

    I had a dream that Cade held me like he used to.  I kept telling him, "Forget about all the bad things both of us did. Forget them.  I can't pretend in real life, but I can right here. Right now."  Then as if I knew I'd wake up, I said to him, "Meet you tomorrow night in my dreams again, okay?"  But when I woke up, I didn't want a tomorrow night or an ever.  And I stayed so angry, wondering why I dream about him even though it NEEDED to be over for so long--for BOTH of us.
Somehow I made it to the counter, trying to appear strong and independent, and for the first time in forever I swallowed my pride.
    It wasn't until I backed out of my parking spot that things unraveled.  My kids whined as the woman who'd stood in front of me in line earlier had backed out of her spot--directly behind mine--at the same time I went into reverse.  And by some crazy luck we didn't hit each other.  We stopped, parallel to one another.  
    I opened my driver's door, since my window doesn't work, and tried using the "verbal judo" I just learned about in security guard training.  But she didn't even let me say a word.  She just started screaming about how people like me shouldn't be allowed to apply for government support.  "YOU look rich!  What could you have possibly gone through?  And now you almost hit me!  I wish you would have, you F'n B****.  Then I'd get the insurance money and you'd have to pay more each month!"  She drove off, squealing, and my kids paled, having heard every word.
    Instead of driving off too, I pulled back into my spot, hugged the steering wheel as if it were life support, and started crying.  I tried looking nice because on the inside--right now--I feel completely worthless.  The outfit gave me strength, reminding me of my big signing, when I felt like I MIGHT be worth something, finally.  The cold air conditioning blew across my face and smeared my tears.
    "Are you okay, Mama?" my five-year-old boy asked from the backseat.  "What's a B****?"  
    I almost choked on my own tears.  
    "You K, Mama?" my three-year-old piped in.
    "I'm . . . fine, guys."  I wiped my eyes, but refused to turn around.  "This is tough, but we're gonna make it through all this crap!  And I swear to God, I'm gonna remember that woman--and that you never know what someone else is going through."
    I'd finally calmed down enough, I felt like I could look at my kids without crying.  "Always be nice to people, kids.  When they're mean, it hurts.  When we're mean to others, it hurts."
    So we drove away.  And I hope God will bless the woman who likes calling strangers the F'n "B-word," even though she has no empathy for people like me . . . people who are trying as hard as they can to be a good mother and just make it through each day--whether we look rich or not!


  1. YOU WILL BE FINE--& so will your kids!! That picture of Bud is about 30 years old. He doesn't look nearly that good any more.

  2. She doesn't know anything about you. She's probably angry with herself and her life. Some people criticized me for taking MY things when I left Illinois. One woman said, Janie, you're even taking the piano? I said, Of course I am. It's my piano. My mother gave it to me. She remained horrified by my greed. You know I feel for you, Middle Child. I have tears for you.

    Your Mother From Another Planet

  3. "when I felt like I MIGHT be worth something, finally." You have been, you are presently, and you will ALWAYS be worth something, sweet girl. You are worth so much that your Heavenly Father sent His Son to die for you. Never ever forget that you are dearly loved by Him and by so many here in this world. You are in my prayers. And you modeled Christ right there before your children's eyes when you not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. You prayed for an enemy and blessed the one who cursed you. Love to you. You're going to make it. Keep the faith.

  4. Some people are just miserable and seem to be incapable of doing anything but trying to make all those around them equally as miserable. Whatever their circumstances, they've succumbed to what they assume to be their fate. They're more worthy of pity than scorn.

    As long as you can smile, you still have hope. That alone puts you in a better place in life than her.

  5. Stop beating yourself up, you're having a bad time...that does not make you a bad person nor does it mean you'll have a bad life. You are a survivor, hold on to that.

  6. You're still the winner, even though you're having to go through such ugliness. You've got your beautiful spirit, your gorgeous kids, and you will come out on top. Her? She's got herself to have to live with, and that's a lifetime of hell, apparently.

    You gave your kids a wonderful lesson in empathy and compassion that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

  7. Hang in there, hon. You'll pull through this. Take each day as it comes. You're taking the right attitude about it. Some people are so trapped in their own misery they can't see straight, see beyond the colored walls. The way we dress and the cars we drive are all window dressing. Invaluable lessons you teach to your young. I hope your accuser's heart softens someday. Don't beat yourself up in the meantime.

  8. You will get there. Let the old bitty blare. Some people just like to take their frustrations out on everyone else.


    No one gets this more than I do. I was taught to stay married, no matter what. I decided on divorce, rumors spread throughout his family about things that were CRAZY, yet believed (because there was no way it could possibly be any of HIS doing, right?) and I had to start my "career" completely over because what I had always done before wouldn't work with 2 kids under 2. I sought day care assistance. I applied for fuel assistance to heat the house. I got WIC for the kids. I went on Mass Health (the state health care system that the national program is now based off).

    Then I met Tony (as a friend).

    I had to renew some of my services and when I told him what I had to do, he looked at me and said "Don't ever be ashamed of taking advantage of every program accessible to you. That's why it's there. To get you through, so you can pay it forward. There should never be any shame in taking care of your children."

    I never forgot that.

    Neither should you.

    You are worth so much more than you can possibly imagine right now. Mark my words, in a few years you will KNOW that, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  10. E.C. some people aren't worth the energy we spend on them. This woman is obviously one of those people. I don't know you beyond reading The Golden Sky and your blog from time-to-time. But from what I've read I know you're a very empathetic person. Let it go, EC. Breathe in and breathe it out. And as you exhale, do your best to put this woman and her attitude out of your thoughts so you can focus your energy on all the positive energy you need in your life right now. I know, easy for me to say. I know it's hard, but let it go, and heed Juli's statement above.

  11. God knows your worth, and so do your kids. Those of us who have read your books also know your worth. Look at what you have done, and you will remember it. People like that women are bitter, perhaps jaded. You cannot judge someone by looks; that is deceiving, obviously. She has issues that she makes obvious. She only makes it worse for others and herself, too. That is a statement about her, not you.

  12. God knows your worth, and so do your kids. Those of us who have read your books also know your worth. Look at what you have done, and you will remember it. People like that women are bitter, perhaps jaded. You cannot judge someone by looks; that is deceiving, obviously. She has issues that she makes obvious. She only makes it worse for others and herself, too. That is a statement about her, not you.

  13. You are the nicest, sweetest, most thoughtful person! Obviously that individual has no idea what she's talking about. Further more, using that kind of language only indicates that she is not intelligent enough to use more dignified vocabulary. I know it was upsetting, but try not to waste your precious energy dwelling on it! Hugs!

  14. Sorry to hear this happened. People like her are bitter, hateful folks who live horrible lives and die lonely. They can't think of anyone outside they're own selfish circle. Take care, best of luck and I would love to have you on The BTS Radio Show again!

  15. Times like this is when you have to know who you are and not let others define you. Hold your head up high. You are worth so much more anyone could ever know or guess. You are a beautiful spirit.

  16. wow! i'm sorry that happened to you. some folks...sigh. i don't know what was happening in that other woman's life at the time, so i can't judge her but she shouldn't have said that. you definitely are NOT that kind of person and the fact it hurt so much is proof of that. sorry your kids had to witness that. you are a MUCH better person than that and i hope you remember that! :)

  17. Elisa, I want you to know that everytime I've ever "met" you I've always thought how cool this girl is. She's so young and she has it together! You are going to be one of those people who we all will forever be amazed by. When that lady comes across you again, she's going to feel like a fool. Stay strong. You are amazing!! xo

  18. Dear Elisa, as long as I've known you, you've taken sour lemons and changed them into sweet lemonade. And it didn't matter whether the figurative lemons were miserable people or stressful situations or unkind thoughts. In that deep part of yourself where Oneness dwells, you always find the grace and the courage to look for good. That's a real gift to you, but also a gift to all of us and the Universe. Please try to be kind to yourself in both thought and deed as these days and weeks pass. Be as gracious to yourself as you would be to someone else who is going through a dark valley on life's journey to wholeness. Peace.

  19. My guess is that she had a much worse day than yours. Chin up. You showed a lot of restraint by not spitting at her. I probably would have.