October 23, 2021

“MAID” on Netflix: A Different but Same Story of My Life.

“MAID” on Netflix is salve to my soul.

I’ve never felt more characterized in a storyline that feels both true to my character and to the story as that series.

The old days of:
my bank account being constantly overdrawn but…two kids to provide for.

The old days of:
being called fat or gross by a man who the night before…apparently didn’t think I was “that” fat or gross.

The old days of:
waking up at 6 a.m., dressing two kids, going to work all day. Rushing the kids to my parents so I could go to school until 10 p.m. Intermittently attempting to have a social life between the hours of 10 and 2 in the morning when the kids slept. Feeling like a piece of sh*t for needing a breather from it all.

The old days of:
having a 23-year-old childless woman shame me for not getting a full-time job (like her) to put my kids in day care, basically the week I’d left my kids’ dad. Clearly, she didn’t get how much I cared about personally and fully raising my kids. Clearly, she was in charge of making decisions about my children’s future now. There’s nothing grosser than one’s hands and heart being tied in this way involving strangers in a system designed to protect them—yet, there being little thought of “protection” where due.

The days of:
needing to have a job for six months before I could get help with day care but needing day care to get a job for six months—then finally doing it and making 10 dollars over the quota for 200 percent below the poverty line to receive day care benefits and being told I’d lose my benefits because I made “too much money” to qualify for the program—the never ending cycle of you’re damned if you do; you’re damned if you don’t.

The days of:
praying to God my EBT card would go through without a hitch so the people behind us weren’t made keenly aware that we were “those poor people they paid taxes to support” (as if I wasn’t working with every fiber in my being to “support” us). This hardly ever happened. Pretty much every time, there was an issue to call management over. “Those people taking up space.” And besides, “they don’t even look poor.”

The days of:
stepping into courtrooms unprepared, afraid, young, and without the money to get representation to be able to care for my kids the way I always had.

The days of:
begging someone who didn’t…to love me.

The days of:
forgoing a Radon reading because despite the possibility of exposure-causing cancer, I couldn’t afford the test in my attempts to afford to get us into a place that felt less toxic than the one we were leaving.

Those days appear to have passed.

In some ways, they’ve made me stronger. In some, they’ve weakened me.

Our family’s exposure to Radon has had accumulative effects on all of us. Our toxicity reports are all toxic with radioactive substances and I’ve been hard-pressed to process that it’s all because there were things that a majority of my adult life I didn’t have the resources to do anything about.

The hard work, long hours, and incredibly uncertain times I doggy paddled myself, and pulled my kids along in inner-tubes, paused one day.

Every single one of the days in my “pause” I think of all the mamas out there who’re doggy paddling just like I was, with no island in sight for longer than they think they can keep up their breath.

This month I called a Radon Mitigation Contractor and scheduled him without having to choose food over safety from a silent perpetrator. I was in a position to defend myself. The gratitude for being able to make that call and do something about it is a miracle to me. I feel like the richest woman alive to do the basics in taking care of my children.

These days, when a kid wakes me up early in the morning, 95 percent of the time, my man kisses my shoulder and gets out of bed so I can catch waking at my own rhythm. He knows I’ve been up throughout the night. I often hear their laughter downstairs while the coffee brews, pondering how in the world I became the luckiest girl in it.

I wasn’t a 50/50 split single mom. I was…single. One hundred percent of the time with visitation about two percent of the time.

I think of the women in my lineage who just kept going back to “the old days” because they didn’t see a way out. It’s all they knew. They weren’t yet taught that they are the way.

One day, God willing, I will open a yurt community housing situation safe house with Waldorf education for their kids—for all the mamas out there still paddling. I wasn’t a 50/50 split single mom. I was…single. One hundred percent of the time with visitation about two percent of the time.

Maybe I’ll call the safe house “Miriam’s Island” after my grandmother who made it to her death, doggy paddling, never having found “the island” in herself, but through my determination to find it long after she’d passed. My God, I hope she feels it now, through me. Through us.

To the mamas out there wondering how long they can keep it up: I see you. I feel you. I know you.

I am you—just in “the new days.”

My God, I cannot wait until you know yourself in the relaxation, newness, and love of your very own “new days.”



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