Survive The Struggle: Moving Around and On

"I moved around a lot as a kid.”

This simple phrase explains so much, but it’s often overlooked because to those who have always moved around a lot, moving around a lot doesn’t seem like such a big deal after a while. However, moving around a lot as a kid has very pronounced effects on a person. Moving around a lot for financial reasons has even more of a pronounced effect. I didn’t realize these differences until college when I was in a stable living situation with people who had been in stable living situations all their lives. Here are some things I’ve noticed as a child who moved around a lot because my momma didn’t make enough:

*You don’t place as much value on material things or non-functional decorations.

*Some of these ‘moves’ may have been the result of an eviction and when it’s a rainy night at 2AM and you’re digging through the stuff that used to be your room and you’re limited to what can fit into a little two-door Subaru or as much as you can carry in a bookbag and suitcases, you learn to grab the things you need.

*It either takes you a really long time to warm up to people or you instantly feel like you’ve known them all your life.

*Moving a lot comes with lots of people who aren’t in your life long enough to form connections with. As a result, you develop a really good sense of who is worth the energy it takes to maintain a good connection. If you’re worth my time, you’re worth all of it. I’ll hold nothing back. If, on first impression, you might not be… well, you’ll get almost no effort.

*Saving is either really important or completely not important.

*After hitting rock bottom so many times, you either become super determined not to ever get to that point again or you’re not concerned because it’s so familiar. I’m somewhere in the middle of that. When I know money isn’t coming for a while, I will buy toiletries and food in bulk to last and then save what I do have. When I know that money is coming, we all ballin’!

*Bitterness towards your parent(s) for not making better financial decisions.

*When you’re that young, you don’t understand the costs of things. What are rent and utilities? Well, we’re living in this tiny apartment, so of course it can’t be that expensive. You don’t know what car insurance is. You don’t know how much gas costs. You don’t know what health insurance is. And then, there could be something else. My mom had breast cancer and no health insurance. Chemotherapy and the eventual mastectomy (She’s a survivor, God bless) was something that I knew nothing about and even if I did, I wouldn’t understand the financial burden of that. When you start to realize that other people have more, you become bitter towards the ‘reason’ why you have less but you don’t really understand what that is.

*A special connection with your parent(s) because you went through that hardship together.

My mom and I are tight, though. When you’re evicted every couple months, sleeping in cars together, boiling water so you can have a hot bath, and lots of other things that broke people do, you form a really close bond. Especially since your parent(s) and siblings are the only ones going through this with you. The only people you can talk to about it is them.

You have lots of ‘family members’ that aren’t actually related to you (and in some cases, they’re more important to you than family members that are actually related to you).

Empathy is a beautiful thing. There are many people along the way that helped us get out of a tight spot. There are many people who showed love and empathy along the way that you form a strong bond with. When my mom went for her mastectomy, I stayed with one of my mom’s friends from bowling. I was there for a week or two. To this day, I talk to her and she gets me graduation gifts and offered to help me move to graduate school in August. For a while, we lived with one of my mom’s old work friends. No matter where we lived, she would always make sure I went to Bible Study on Tuesdays. I currently live with her now (my mom has a place, but there’s no space for me). There are so many other people who’ve helped in ways like this, they are family.

In romantic relationships, you don’t leave at the first sign of trouble.
If you’ve made it to an actual romantic relationship with someone… not dating or something temporary, but an actual relationship, you try to make it last. You are willing to work on problems or pretend they aren’t there to maintain a relationship. However, when the problems that affect you are too much to hide, there isn’t much time between the point when you inform the other person of the problem and when you expect it to be resolved. If it’s not resolved in a timely manner, it’s easy to cut people off. You’ve lost so much over the course of the years, it’s nothing to let something go. Especially since you’d probably lose contact with them eventually anyways.

There are lots of other things that can be a result of moving too much. They may not seem like much of a big deal, but it’s really fucking hard to not have stability through your youth. As a result, you develop a strength that can withstand a lot. However, it’s important to realize that it does affect you and when things start to be too much, it helps to have people in your corner. Don’t be ashamed of your story. Be careful who you tell your story, but don’t be ashamed of it. You are strong, but you may need to tell someone why you are strong to remind yourself. You may need to shed a few tears every now and then. It’s okay to lean on others for some time. And remember, in the words of my absolute favorite (who didn’t make it on anybody’s Mt. Rushmore list) “A house is not a home.” (well, actually... I'm referring to Luther Vandross, but I just remembered this is Dionne Warwick's song).

Peace (of mind), love (of yourself), and (be sure to spread) happiness~



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