The Creative Struggle

By Jenna

I live a good life. I have a wonderful husband and two fantastic children. We live in a one bedroom apartment with our dog and cat. My husband has a good job and I am a full time student. That last part is what makes our lives a little more difficult. Being a full time student and a mom has put me in a position where I need to be a stay home mom instead of working mom. Though the trials that led me to this position were less than friendly, I am almost done with school and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The hardest part of being a stay home mom isn’t taking care of the children constantly, it’s the struggle to keep our head above water.

 

In 2014, my daughter was born. I had a good job working in hospice as a team coordinator. Right as I was asking to go back to work from a set maternity leave, not paid for by the company since they only would allow me to work per diem, the company advised me they were looking to downsize. Guess what that meant. The person who worked nearly 40 hours a week on per diem and had just had a baby was now the most expendable person in the company. My boss had refused to give me a termination notice for fear that I would take legal measures. I had begged her at least to write a letter for my apartment so I could get out of my lease. Without a job, we couldn’t afford my previous apartment. My boss refused and instead wrote a letter saying it was my decision to be a stay home mother instead of work. I cried because her lies and fears were controlling her actions to make my life harder than it was already.

 

I did not sue the company for wronging me. I did not have enough funds to hire a lawyer and I knew my heart couldn’t handle a new baby, searching for a job that would pay me enough, and a lawsuit. It simply wasn’t worth the misery I would have experienced. Instead, I went back to school. It was a long term goal of mine to have my BA in History. I chose history because I am passionate about history. I have one more year of school and I want to share how my little family of four survived this far on a single income in Orange County California.

 

When I started school, about 2 years ago, I was working a part time job making calls for a company, but wasn’t even making grocery money. This, plus my husband’s $20 an hour income was just enough to get us through my first year with our first newborn. Part way through the first year, we had to get creative with our finances because there was another baby on the way. We already had school debt from both my previous semester out of state, my husband’s education, and credit card debt from a vacation or two. Coupled with paying for my both of my children’s home water birth, we have been strapped tight with debt.

 

The first thing my husband started doing to help us is begin consolidating our debt. We were able to take out a bit extra in the student loans to cover some of our credit card debt and our children’s births. The student loans were at lower interest rates, and it allows me to postpone paying of that debt until I’m more financially stable. We have decided to stay in a one bedroom since we have that flexibility. We are in a downstairs unit with a backyard so we are as comfortable as we can afford for the short run.

 

As the years ticked by (I say that, but only 3 have passed), I was able to find cheaper groceries at stores like Aldi, how to make meals, where to find cheap and used baby clothes, and my husband was able to secure a bit of a raise. Even through all of this, he still had to get a second job. That is what being an adult is about though, I guess. Doing what you need to do, even though it isn’t fun or easy.

 

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Our First Time

We can preach about  how great cannabis is, ignoring we’ve all had that ‘too high’ experience. Whether you’ve over indulged in a edible, or smoked one too many joints, it was unforgettable in the worst way.

That one time in College by Leigh

When I graduated from high school I thought I was big shit. I graduated with a 4.4 GPA and tied for Valedictorian of my class. I couldn’t be more proud of myself. In August I would be heading off to an all girls school in Virginia; my preppy dream. Until this point in my life don’t think I’d ever been drunk but I told people that I had. My high school was a hub of upper class drug abuse; there was a “coke bathroom” and our parking structure was the spot to smoke a quick joint before class. It was exactly what you would expect in a school with less than 100 students, all of which parents had more than enough money to ensure they would graduate.

Long story short, I’d been around drug use but never tried anything in fear that my parents would murder me. When August rolled around and I hopped on that plane, I left everything I had know behind.

College was everything I expected and more. I met a cool girl, who we’ll call Rusty, on move in day. She was exactly what I needed in my life; a little firecracker that was down for anything. Rusty made friends with a girl named Red who was cool as hell. She was one of the best equestrian riders in the entire school with a brain for biology. My long time friend Nicole was Rusty’s roommate so that made things even more perfect.

On our third night, Red proposed the idea of us hot boxing and heading to Waffle House. I had never hot boxed before but I couldn’t tell my new friends that. As we shuffled out to Rusty’s Rav4 we discussed the plan. Red needed to stop at the gas station neighboring our school, as it was the only place to buy papers on the way to our destination.

It seemed like everything happened in fast forward from the gas station. Before I knew it we were cruising down an unfamiliar road surrounded by trees. The smell of weed began to fill the car so I knew it was only a matter of time before the rotation would come me. When it was my turn Rusty passed a blunt that was as thick as a pencil but about 10 inches long. I hadn’t thought of my asthma since I was 11 but suddenly it was my first preoccupation. As I put the blunt to my lips and inhaled, my chest immediately tightened. I tried to remain composed but I felt like every particle of oxygen had been sucked from my lungs. I coughed and coughed and coughed. I passed the blunt towards the back seat and hoped that this feeling would pass. Soon my struggle subsided and replaced by one of the best feelings I had ever felt. I was back in rotation before I knew it. As we pulled into the Waffle House parking lot, my entire world began to spin. As I got out-of the car,the cold air hit my skin. Walking was so hard for me but I made it inside to the best sausage gravy and biscuits that I had ever had, up to this point.

Needless to say, that is the night fell in love with Mary Jane.

The Marching Hammers

I have stoner hippie parents who introduced me to Cannabis at a younger than socially acceptable. It all started with my younger brother as he had discovered weed through the neighborhood kids. He started selling, and, of course, my parents found out. Amazingly, this led to us smoking as a family. My parents had enough experience in life to know that it was safer to smoke with them rather than risk someone taking advantage of us. My dad knew exactly how he was going to introduce me to weed. We sat down in the evening and put on the movie Pink Floyd The Wall. He had played Pink Floyd for me as a child, along with other classic heavy metal bands such as Ozzie. As smoke filled our living room we became more united as a family. I felt so high that the only thing that actually stuck with me is the music and marching hammers. Smoking became a family habit. This never stopped us from doing well in life. I finished high school with a respectable GPA, played two sports, work, and have a social life. I learned the importance of family and we generally enjoyed spending time together. 

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