Well, really advocating for yourself does. It just happened that standing up for myself on the phone with my food stamp case worker was done in a matter of teary good points. She reopened my case and it is truly with mixed emotions that I can say that our family has received food stamps.
My first thought when I got the letter telling us about our benefits was I can’t believe we are in this situation, that we are now this poor that we finally qualify for food stamps. Then I was glad, of course, because this will help us a great deal, stop the bleeding so to speak. Still, it’s never in one’s plans or dreams to be here.
I went on Tuesday to get my card and choose my pin number. As with any well run state agency in New Jersey, all of the Food Stamp people pick up and go to lunch at the same time. I sat there for over an hour, just waiting, with too much time to think.
I tried to breathe through my mouth by the man who gave off a stench of urine every time he got up or sat down. I looked around at women who had a child and an infant, or who had a child and another one on the way. I got involved in the soap opera of the 20-ish or so girl who was trying to sort out the babydaddies of her children and who should pay for what. I felt so bad for these beautiful children being born into this life and wondered why men and women thought it was a good idea to let it keep happening.
I got really angry because I wasn’t supposed to be here! This was not the plan for a woman who had been working since she was thirteen, who was driven and who along with her husband was supposed to be living in a house with two children and doing the dual-income family thing. Who was supposed to be working hard to give her children everything she had growing up and more.
For the first time in a long time I really got upset and angry at the diseases that had brought me to the Middlesex County Board of Social Services, waiting for my food stamps so my husband, son and I could eat. This wasn’t supposed to be me, us, our family! I was starting to tear up and I figured if anyone asked if I was okay I could always say that I was reading a very sad book, which I was. But no one asked me.
I went home feeling really down and wondering when I will get my disability and the kind of life my family and I will lead for the rest of our lives, just because I got sick.