I found myself out on the streets with my daughter when she was two years old. I had no support from anyone and didn't have any income at the time, so I opted to apply for aid from the government. It was my only choice. That day, with only $16 to my name, I went to the welfare office and took advantage of their emergency homeless aid that can only be used once in a lifetime. I was able to get a hotel room for my daughter and me so that we had somewhere safe to sleep that night. I struggled to feed my daughter while we were waiting for our food stamps to take effect. I was entirely new to the system and didn't know how anything worked. So it took me a while to get the hang of things. I remember that as soon as I walked into the hotel room with my daughter, I got on my knees and thanked God. I was so grateful that we didn't have to be on the streets, especially because we did not have anywhere else to go. It was my first time being on my own. I was completely isolated and needed to fend for myself. I was adamant not to let anyone know what was happening unless it was necessary. I felt the pressure to provide for my daughter, so I scrambled to find us a place to live. We had a two-week limit to stay at a hotel, but that didn't matter, I needed a place now! I was able to find us a decent place to rent within three days. It was the beginning of my independence and the process of my growing up. Until then, I was accustomed to being guided by others on how to take care of bills, look after my family, and manage my day to day life. I was faced with many difficult decisions to make by myself, and that was intimidating.
There were some issues with the home I found to live, so I spent some time at a friend's house to figure out what I was going to do. It seemed too much of a hassle, so I ended up settling for my initial find. I just didn't like the constant moving around. It was too unstable for my daughter. I remember feeling so scared that I called a few people for advice and was able to get guidance from them. I felt pretty insecure, but I still got left on my own. I got advised on how to make my decisions, which wasn't easy. Inevitably, I made some pretty stupid choices. I learned to deal with the consequences of my decisions, and that was most likely what helped me grow the most. I couldn't deal with being homeless, especially having my daughter with me. It was completely unacceptable. So I did what I could to secure a place to live and then go from there. For at least a week I struggled tremendously with anxiety about where we would live. I had to choose wisely even with the limited resources and time we had. I did the best I could, and we turned out okay.
I had spent time on the streets on my own before, but it was nothing compared to having a young child with me, all I could think of was her well-being. My instinct to protect her was in super overdrive. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life to live through that process, but I am so grateful for it. I learned to be a responsible adult very quickly. There was no room for errors, and I knew that if I were careless, I would inevitably find myself overwhelmed. I couldn't accept defeat. I had a little girl to take care of who was entirely dependent on me. She didn't understand what was happening, so I comforted her so that she wouldn't be traumatized by the experience. We had a rough start to our journey. Eventually, things got better, and we found stability.
Living on my own was how I learned to take responsibility for my life and everything in it. I was tired of answering to others who despised me. I grew up, pushed away negativity and relentlessly went for anything that helped me achieve my goals. I had a new outlook on life. It was scary to leave on my own, with my child, by myself, making decisions without anyone's input. I had to navigate life entirely on my own at the time. I had to figure out everything by myself. I made mistakes; I had victories. I discovered so much about myself and enjoyed my freedom as well. I came to love my independence and was well on my way to feeling more of an adult. I began to shed my insecurity. Of all the major changes in my life, this one was significant for my growth because I was finally able to do all of the things that I needed to do to nurture and care for my family. I became a hero in my daughter's eyes. I was her whole world, and she was mine. There was something so sacred about being that alone and isolated with my little girl. Being able to appreciate her more and instill my values into her. Living entirely on my own humbled me and made me much more mature about how to go about everything I would experience. After that, no matter how overwhelming any situation felt or became, I felt more equipped to face it head on and deal with it with greater wisdom.