I am thirty-one years old and currently pregnant. I grew up in Lebanon, MO. Born and raised. I moved down here when I was twenty. Married at twenty-one, had my first baby at twenty-three, and from there had three more kids. And now I’m pregnant with my fifth. I had a rough life - a lot of abuse growing up. My dad was not in my life a lot. I was raped, I was beaten, I’ve been through a lot. I got married at twenty-one, got tired of it, and started fighting back. And stood up. I almost put my ex-husband in the ground. I got tired of his abuse. I’ve been homeless off and on for five years. I lost my dad six years ago. And my granddad. Now I’m just… it’s just been really hard on me. My mom - my stepmom- has got my kids. She has been there for me and understands how hard it has been for me. I am blessed to be me. And I’m also blessed cause I’ve learned from what’s gone on with me.
I take care of everybody, I have a good heart. Unless you make me mad. I just - my life’s been rough. I’ve drunk a lot of alcohol, done a lot of drugs. There was a time in my life I had a really rough patch - after I lost my dad - and did drugs hardcore. Got to drinking really bad. Didn’t care about what was going on, didn’t care about myself. Didn’t care about anything. And now that I don’t drink, I’m a better person. I don’t do drugs as much as I used to. I have a blessed life right here. I’ve learned a lot since I’ve grown up back in the 80’s. I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot. It’s just the way I am.
Lessons that I have learned that would be good advice for others is to take care of each other. If you see people like me or one of my homeless friends, help them out, please. It would be great if the community would start helping out more. Help with the poverty. You guys, you know - check on them, or say something to them. I do it on a daily basis - I go by and say “Hey - are you alright? What’s wrong? What’s going on?” That’s my family too. I take care of them the best that I can. You know, if I ain’t got it, I will try and find it. I will try and find a way. I don’t care if it’s clothes, shoes, jackets, food… I don’t care. I’ll give it to you. It’s just the way I am. It’s just the heart I have.
There’s been a lot of people that’s been there for me through my pregnancies. All of my homeless friends. I take care of them, they take care of me. Whatever they needed, somebody to talk to, to vent on. Come to me. Ask me. I may have an answer, I may not. I’ll give you advice if I can. I help teenagers that need advice. I get called ‘Mama Pinky’ all the time. It’s a blessing. I love being called Mama. If they’re having trouble they’ll be like “Mama, I need advice”. If you just listen to everything that’s going on, pay attention to what’s going on - because if you pay more attention to your heart, you’ll know what to do.
Automatically you’ll know the answer.
(Story chronicled in 2016)