Get comfy because this will not be a short story.
I grew up dirt poor. And when I say dirt poor, I mean my brother, mother and myself had to sneak water from the neighbor’s outside tap just to shower and flush our toilet. We used candles for light most of the time. If we didn’t have an old fireplace we may have frozen to death in winter. I started working when I was 15 on a work permit from the state. I met my now wife when I turned 16. (I’m 34 now). When I turned 18 I decided I couldn’t handle the physical and mental abuse anymore and decided to start looking into moving out together. After filling out applications for apartments I discovered that I had over $20k in debt. At that time I had only been a legal adult for 2 months. How is that possible you ask? Well, back in the 90’s the internet wasn’t very prevalent when it came to credit card and loan companies. I discovered that my mother had used my social security number (as well as my brothers) to obtain multiple credit cards and loans and her mother did the same to her although not wracking up as much debt. Only just over $9k. /s After almost a year of trying to sort those problems out my now wife and I finally found an apartment we could afford that would overlook the bad debt. Then we discovered that both of our mothers had used our aliases to open accounts at every single utility company so we couldn’t even get utilities connected after already signing the lease.
FINALLY after taking care of that debt and moving out we got to work. Attempting to leave the drama and abuse behind us. And we succeeded for a long time. I started working at 15 and dropped out during my sophomore year to work. I started out stocking shelves at a thrift store for (I believe) just over $5 per hour.
Nearly 15 years later I had worked my way up to making just over $100k per year. We were independent, stable, happy, and could see that beautiful light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
That’s when it all fell apart. I got into a car accident that involved 8 vehicles one day. Almost a year later I was sued by State Farm for over $440,000. I fought it for years. Eventually I missed a court date that I never got notified about and the judgment went in favor of State Farm. Immediately afterwords my license was suspended pending full payment of said judgement. This not only prevented me from getting to and from work but also causing me to lose my job that required driving all over town to clients’ homes.
I had to spend almost our entire savings to appeal the case which lasted years all the while working staffing jobs and minimum wage jobs two at a time. We lost our home, our cars, EVERYTHING! Finally I won the appeal and got my license reinstated. It took me a few more years to get a job making close to what I was before that nightmare took everything but my family from me. Then one day at work, a girl in her early 20’s was texting and driving and crossed the centerline coming over a blind hill. She struck the car in front of me that was traveling no faster than 30MPH at approximately 85+ MPH. Her SUV more or less just went through the lady’s car in front of me and then struck me head on. I woke up with the car that was in front of me resting on top of my vehicle. The girl that was texting ended up in a ditch almost 100 yards behind us. I guess shock kicked in and I was somehow able to comb out and check on the lady she struck first. I spent almost 15 minutes performing CPR to no avail. She didn’t make it. I’ve seen 3 people die in front of me in my lifetime before this, but this…this was a horrible sight and situation.
Anyway, skipping the morbid details, this crash messed me up physically and mentally in a way a could have never imagined. I’m not ashamed to say that after the shock wore off, I completely broke down. I sobbed uncontrollably for well over two hours.
Not long after while dealing with the physical therapy and psychologist I got news that not only was my work vehicle that was provided by my boss NOT insured as a commercial vehicle, but wasn’t even registered to his company. It was his parents’ vehicle that they allowed him to use. And naturally, the girl at fault had no insurance whatsoever. So then I was left unable to work and the company refused to pay for any worker’s compensation. (I did get an attorney and am currently dealing with lawsuits for the girl and my ex boss). Since that accident I have recently taken on a new job that is commission based that will eventually bring in around $200k. But the start up is an unpaid internship. Now I find myself mentally, physically, and financially broke. Now we are living with my mother all sharing a one bedroom house. We have no car, no money…nothing.
Today is my son’s birthday. All he wanted was a video game. Red Dead Redemption 2. I went to GameStop today to buy a used copy and my card was declined. I have nothing for him and my wife bawled for an hour. I feel like THE WORST father and husband. I remember what it’s like getting nothing for MY birthday when I was a kid. And although my kids completely understand that us being together is what really matters, I can’t help but to feel completely defeated. I worked so hard. I never smoked, drank, or did drugs. I’ve never been in trouble with the law. I just….worked. Nonstop for almost two decades.
Was I dumb to accept the internship for this job? It will eventually pay off in a few months but I can’t help but wonder if I made the right choice. I did apply for dozens of hard labor, minimum wage jobs but was told I was “over qualified” for the positions.
ANY advice would be VERY helpful.
Appreciate what you have. No matter how little because it can be stripped away in a heartbeat. If you’ve made it to this point, thanks for reading. Please don’t take your life for granted.