I was reading Bill McClellan’s column. He was always telling stories of people who have endured and persevered. His column gave me hope. In Perils of Pauline, he shared the story of a woman who is on the brink. Women on the brink of poverty stories have become popular since the Shriver Report. In “Perils of Pauline”, McClellan talks about how being poor created complex situations that are difficult to explain. Living in poverty does make things complex. The systems that are put in place to help are not easily accessible. One thing that resonated with me from the column was utility assistance and how most agencies are not willing to help until after utilities are off. Utilities being off is difficult for people period, but especially for single parents with children. Having utilities off is grounds for eviction from apartments. It could also be considered as a form of child endangerment. As I have shared before on this blog when I was younger, I refused to pay the utility bills because they were not a priority for me (lack of budgeting). After that phase ended, due to the realization that utility companies will shut off utilities for nonpayment, then I began to struggle with underemployment and inconsistent employment. Once again, I dealt with having utilities off. Recently, I was faced with shut off notices for several utilities. I called around in search of assistance and the response from agencies was that I could get help after the utilities were off. I didn’t really learn to advocate for myself until after I was homeless in Atlanta. I watched a fellow homeless woman do it and was amazed at the things she accomplished by being assertive. I have to admit at times, she was aggressive. When I was in a position again to pay utilities and was short for lack of budgeting or lack of income, I started to reach out for help. Before I always said, “somebody else needs help more than I do.” I guess being homeless had taught me, “I ain’t too proud to beg”. While working as an administrative assistant at the church, I helped with their community care program (utility assistance). One day we processed the application and I was thinking I needed to apply for gasoline assistance to myself.The hours we accepted applications made it difficult for working people to come in and get assistance. Having gas money or bus fare just to go to any of the churches or nonprofit agencies that help is an issue for some. Recently I read some blog post that resonated with me How Being Broke is Blessing. I know it has been in poverty has taught me to be creative. Learning to entertain the children when the utilities were off. Enjoying the park for hours because we were homeless. Sitting in a not running vehicle and being content. I also know that Money does not solve money problem’s. It can help and but the attitude has a lot to do with. At least in my case my attitude toward paying bills was wrong. I am still struggling to develop the right attitude. Interesting side note: “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert“ was nominated for an Emmy and a single mom shared on Twitter that she didn’t get to watch it because she can’t afford cable television.