Paying Your Dues to Society

By Sara Gamachu

January 5, 2014

A few months ago, I was in the local DSHS office applying for assistance. Yep yours truly is one of those statistical Americans who needed asks Uncle Sam for a little help. It came to my mind that although I was asking for help I had put in long years of service to various groups in the Northwest community in my young life. As a student, I finished my schooling at an alternative high school where most of my classmates were what society would call the teen misfits of the Seattle area. I went to technical college and studied to be a Teacher’s Assistant. I wanted to help the next generation try not to fall into the average trenches of society’s educational system. As a young adult, I began working as a Customer Service Assistant for a very elite home electronics retail company on the West coast. I spent 4.5 reliable years as the Girl Friday to one of the most distinguished store managers in the company. I worked my way up to a Customer Service Representative position in the company’s service/repair department. I was the voice to “Magnolia Audio Video how can we help you today?” After that, I worked as a Customer Service Representative for the YWCA Job Bank in my neighborhood. Towards the end of that era in my career, my body let me know that I had put many hours of hard work. My family thought I should take some time off and visits my relatives. Once I came back from the holiday, I discovered I did not have a job and it was already given to someone else due to not knowing of my returning retreat date. Towards the end, I can vaguely remember working as an Office Assistant for a friend of my parent’s law office. Yes, finally a job I was good at and felt comfortable. Alas a few months into that the poor economy was the reason I was let go. So there I was a young hard working person not sure of her future. I did the next logical move…I met a guy and almost 9 months later we got hitched. Almost a year went by and I soon added Stay At Home Mom to my resume. Yes my than husband had his career that was supposed to take care of us for a while. Gosh you would almost think that the society higher ups where looking at me and shaking their finger saying “Ah, ah nice try young lady.” My ex-husband lost his privileged position and soon our young family of three moved to his hometown to get a restart. I guess you could say by that time I was pretty burned out with the social system. Here I was a young mother who was just trying to keep life comfortable for herself and her son. Oh yeah I almost forgot…that was when I finally left my son’s father and decided I was done being society’s baggage. I was going here and there trying to make everyone happy. The problem was I was losing myself every step of the way. As I lost myself in the world of social networking I realized…wait a minute who exactly am I. I was the statistical African American single mother…problem was I was not the average African American Single Mother. I made up my mind that my son deserved more. He deserved a life where his mother was not put down for her nationality, race, or gender. Sure, I was a Black woman…but so help me God I was going to be the best mother to my son that I could be. So little by little, I began trying to find myself. Slowly I am beginning my journey back into society. Not as a meek young girl who lived the life, society had molded for her. No I was going to be better…. I was going to be an Independent Self-Sufficient Woman who paid her dues to society and ready to give back to the same community that she had served for more than 30 some years. So next time you see someone walking into the local Human Service office looking for that helping hand… ask yourself did they put in the hard work in order to ask for help in the first place?

Oh and after the social worker helped me go through all the technical paperwork he looked at me and confidently said, “Mam you have put in a lot of work society should be helping you out as you start over your new life.” With that, I smiled and thanked him on behalf of my son and myself. Finally, someone recognized all my hard work and said take some time to take care of yourself. That is finally exactly what I am doing. Trying to my life puzzle back together one piece at a time… and I am taking my sweet time because I have earned it.