“Don’t you know people call this place the ghetto?,” my neighbor asked as she gestured emphatically to the complex around us.
“The ghetto?” I said, genuinely confused. I looked around at the white buildings, which were all well maintained with little front porches, surrounded by woods on all sides and thought, well if this is the ghetto I’m ok with that.
This place came as the answer to my prayers a few months back. After relocating from Florida to New England with my two kids in tow, we stayed with my mom while I looked for a place to live. The search took much longer than expected, as my budget was low and my needs were not. My mother and step-father were gracious enough to house us in their one bedroom place, in the small den and sun porch, for six weeks. We made it work, but man, were things tight. So when the opportunity arose to move the kids and myself into a three bedroom, townhouse, I was ecstatic! I immediately began decorating my very first solo apartment -- that’s right, this was the first time I had been without a significant other in my adult life. I found amazing deals at thrift stores and yard sales and I made this place an oasis for my children and myself, a place we could feel settled after months of unrest. I felt an abundance of love in my little home, I felt blessed.
And yet, a concept was being presented that did not match my feelings of my home. The ghetto. At this point you may be thinking, “Your place sounds great! Why would anyone say that?” The primary reason is because this complex is income-restricted, which means in order to live here, you have to make under a certain amount per year. Coming off of divorce with two children under five, assistance was not a word I was afraid of. Assistance from family and friends, absolutely, assistance from the government, I’ll take it. Wasn’t that the whole point of programs like this? Allowing myself to receive in a time of need is a strong message to the universe regarding my feelings of worth.
I understand that not everyone feels this way. There are often stigmas and feelings of shame regarding government assistance; however I’ve chosen not to match that picture. Each chapter of my life has brought different joys and sorrows, and I am loving this part of my story.
Abundance is energy, living abundantly starts with choosing joy and love, filling your life with the people who make you smile and the experiences that make your heart sing. Financial abundance comes from saying yes to the universe, to allowing yourself to receive, and believing you are worthy of it. Those are the pictures I'm matching to these days!
photo: Alicia Joy Stiles