Stories of Lives Changed

ďA Place to Call HomeĒ-Kayís Story


ďOnce youíve been empowered that way-

That you can, nobody can stop you.Ē


One of the things I got for the house was a shed because it didnít come with a garage and it already had the foundation done and I could get that.And so I got six two by fours if I canít buy it, why donít I build it. And so thatís my goal.I got some already done on the shed.I used to feel like that, yeah I did, but now you know, itís instilled in me that I can.Well, [silence] letís see got married in Chicago, traveled around a lot got divorced, ended up getting married again and divorced, and then I ended up in Iowa because my brother was up there in Fairfield, Iowa and I ended up in Iowa for fifteen years.And then thatís were I actually -um, thatís where I conceived Meagan you know and it wasnít really a good thing.I mean sheís a good thing.But that was like a real stressful thing and thatís how I ended up leaving.I actually probably left half the stuff on the drive way, got everything packed up, headed down here to Tennessee to stay with my sister, and thatís how I was going to start over, and thatís probably the whole beginning of this story.Thatís how I was going to start over.

I could have gone back to the job that I um, I was a printer, I could have gone back to being a printer.In fact I did go in for like I think one week and I said ďNa, Na, I can not do this, I have to do better.ĒSo thatís what I thought.I really have to make a change here.

And see I got motivated.Youíre left behind or youíre left alone or whatever happens and youíre devastated and you gotta figure out how to make all of the payments.Itís like you need someone [ha], like the ladies, Judy and all them and the Families First.Like you need someone like that to come in [swoop] and you know its almost like, you know, grabbing you and pulling you up and saying you know, you know: ďWe can help you get up when you think thereís no hope.And its like I donít know how to do this and that was the thing I mean its like they gave you that boost, and if you can stop being angry [huh] at what ever happened to you or whoever did what or you feel victimized and that whole thing if you could just put that aside, check that aside and change your attitude and let them help you.

Yeah they help with the child care, you know, they help me, you know, I found a child care that would like kind of on the way, they help that with the payments and I signed for programs and all that stuff so I signed up for everything they had and I qualified for a lot of that, and so they help with they school funding and that was the whole beginning of all this I mean itís great, I mean from where I went and leaving stuff up there, to coming down here and going through all that, going back to school, and getting a good job, and then ending up at the house was like, itís like itís something anybody can do but you believe it, you know, until it happens to you and then youíre like I did it, you know.To get on that bus and go to Dickson because you know, I didnít know anything about this area, and I got on this bus with a bunch of girls who didnít know either.

And driving this - the ladyís driving us to Dickson, which I didnít know where it was and you know, [silence] and actually at some point I almost didnít wanna go and I guess I should say that because it was scary because I am older than probably any the girls going through that.Iím fifty-two now, and you know, itís like, you know, like even when theyíre in their twenties and their thirties and like ďGod my whole world is crushing in and I canít make itĒ, you know, so when that did me somewhere in my forties I just knew, you know, this canít be, you know, that was my thought this, you know, Iím like them Iím in the same boat, Iím where theyíre at, and um, you know, Iím gonna pull myself up.Itís good to know, I mean, itís good being in a group with all the other women because one of the things that happens is when youíre in the middle of the thing you tend to more or less be alone or youíre around those other people that, um would be co-dependent, will keep you down there where youíre at so, you know, when you get involved in this you break away from them and you start learning about those great words of co-dependency and all that.And you learn.You know that they arenít going to help a whole lot that you know, you learn that you break-away you offered all the survivor skills and all that.Itís like you cannot afford to pass it up.Itís like, almost like the rumors.Like you have the right to say no. I feel like you have the right to make the salary that the man make, you have the right, you have the right to have anything you want and, you know, as far as, as far as you understanding that, or changing your attitude and youíre saying, you know, ďitís all mineď and I never knew that, you know.And if someone you know like the husband is abusing, like in situations like, you know, they have the right to get out of there, they have the right to be treated well, I made, I guess because that one is stuck in my mind, I made I donít know how many copies of that

Womanís Bill of Rights and handed them out to other ladies saying, you know, ďhelloĒ, you know ďin case nobody told you, there it is.ĒYou know, itís being like, um uh, a tornado, it really went through a lot of stuff real fast, but somewhere along the line whether it had to do with going through all the classes or not, Iím learning to hang in there and to let somebody help you cause you really canít do it on your own, you know, and when youíre down and you got family and everybody that knows the whole story, you know, like sometimes thatís not real good, you know, your best friend knows all this stuff, and itís like ďOh my God, poor youĒ and you really donít need that, actually what you need is like, you need the other end, you need [shwoo] the people underneath you pushing you up saying ďyeah you can make itĒ.

I finished the school over at Tennessee Tech, and I didnít have a job lined up, you know, some people did and I didnít.I went, I been looking, I kept in touch with the unemployment agency, thatís how that started, and she called and said ďNissan is hiringĒ, and I went back to where I went to school and to the teacher and talked to him and he said ďI know that jobĒ, he said ďthey actually sent a thing overĒ and I said ďIím going to go on out there and try thatĒ cause I was thinking that would be a good place to work.I had that attitude at that point, that there wasnít anything that I couldnít do, and so once, once you get empowered that way, that you can, nobody can stop you!

You know, I never thought I could get this house and my sisterís husband, you know, heís a good guy and man they helped me through everything, and when I had told them I was buying a house he was like ďYeah sure!Ē he would not even talk about it, he would not because he was like Ēyou just got the job out at NissanĒ, he was like ďthereís now way you can go from nothing, go from welfare and all that, you know, and you know, he said ďcause you know theyíre gonna check, you wonít get qualified for that houseĒ, but I did.It was a long haul, you know, and itís mine.Unbelievable.Actually I remember back then when they were saying ďyou have to sign up for this or your outĒ and I said ďOh no rightĒ it was almost overwhelming.And at the time they didnít realize that, what they were giving me cause I havenít been through it, but I can tell them now like, you know, youíre not going to regret it.Itís not a punishment, you know itís kind of like, if theyíre, if they get in to this welfare or whatever and theyíre thinking ďI have to go do thisĒ, itís not a punishment.It is a gift being given to them, I mean, you donít get opportunities like this where, you know people pay hundreds of dollars to go to these seminars and somebody is giving you this saying ďgo through this, they are going to give you this, go through this they are even going to help them with their child care or whatever so they can go to school, they are going to help you.If you pass that up it would be a real sorry thing.Cause itís one thing, like when one door closes, another one opens, I mean theyíre opening a big door.You better walk through that.