Hey Readers! Today, I want to talk about one of those things that can seem to never go away after your conviction.
And for once, it’s not just the conviction itself.
It’s the anger. The frustration that never ceases. The insecurity a record causes. All of the negative emotions from making a mistake that doesn’t go away. These feelings tend to want to stick around.
I know that I recall being very angry throughout the charge and holding process, through all the court dates, and even after finishing my sentence. I became even angrier every time I was turned down – for no other reason than my background. A single theft conviction that has been a thorn in my foot ever since.
Today, I’m not so angry. The only reason I’m not as angry anymore?
Well, for one, I finally took accountability for my actions in the charged crime. I figured out that, yes, I had indeed screwed up royally and that I did need to make changes in my mindset and my lifestyle to avoid making such a mistake again. That was the first step.
Secondly, I realized that the issues I was facing in employment and housing weren’t necessarily total barriers, they were simply obstacles that I had to overcome on my own merit. Each time I heard a ‘NO’ from an interviewing employer or the local housing authority/landlord, I used to think it was impossible to overcome. Every ‘no’ was a reminder of that at one point.
But it is possible to get through the ‘no’s. Second chances do happen if you look hard enough for them.
I’ve rented a couple of different properties over time and I have even owned my own property for a time. I’ve also held a range of jobs, from waitressing to advocate work, and from changing the oil in automobiles to filling vending machines as an assistant for the blind vendor’s program in my area. And everything in between as well as on the side.
Instead of viewing the issues you face as irreversible roadblocks, view them as road bumps, or re-directions toward what you’re truly meant for. You may have to redirect yourself, find a new goal, or overcome a few giant obstacles – but your anger can be turned into the perfect fuel to do just that.
As an example, I will share one of my experiences, from just a few years ago.
I was 23 (five years into the conviction [two years after finishing my sentence]) and between homes, yet again. I had managed to finagle a room from a friend for a temporary place to crash with my boy, who was only three at the time. The whole single mom thing going on, you know. Between shifts at work and making sure my babysitter was at the ready in case of a sudden change of plans, I found time to get applications for rental properties in.
The place I had in mind needed to be under $500 a month, ideally around $300, but I did have room in my budget to adjust (namely quitting smoking – again, and not doing the whole fast food thing anymore – no matter how easy it was to walk across the street from my job for my lunch break).
So, the first few places I tried for were in the local trailer parks. I figured they would be easier on the background check, as well as the monthly rental check.
I also threw in a couple house rental applications in, just for good measure and to expand the list of ‘possibles’. I didn’t think any of them would stick, but I wanted to take a chance, just in case.
I got a call from one of the trailer parks soon after, went to the interview and had a wonderful time meeting the landlord and looking at the trailers he had available. One of them was perfect, and I was amped about the chance to have it as my own. But, in the days following, when they would normally be getting back in touch and arranging your move-in day, I never got a call.
Well, …. at least not a call from the trailer park.
I got one of the houses that I applied for within a week of applying for it!
It was just under the upper limit of my budget, but WOW, it was such a great little house and on such a huge property! My son was so much happier with finally having a real yard to play in, and I was happy about having neighbors that were more than ten feet away from me.
So, while I didn’t get what I wanted, I found what I needed at that time. It might not have been permanent, but permanence isn’t a part of my life. And from what I hear out of my limited interaction – it’s probably not a part of your life either.
I know you might be in a rough place right now, but trust in yourself and your ability to find what you need. There will be a lot of ‘NO’s’ to deal with, but trust in the re-direction that it provides (well, actually, it sort of forces you to take a new path) and that you will find that ‘YES’ you’re wanting.
Keep going, stay strong, and above all ~ RISE ABOVE~
Love and Peace,