All I feel is paaaaaaiiin! Reflections on trauma and poverty


As I sit here in pain due to cutting corners financially, I can’t help but to contemplate my entire upbringing. Some people will never have to worry about what it feels like to live in a world where you cannot afford medical help especially as a child. I had no way of advocating for myself 20 years ago and because of that I endured years of pain. Now that I’m an adult and I have access to actual medical insurance, I’m able to take care of all of the things I needed to back then, well…almost.

I won’t get into the kind of surgery that I got recently, but I can tell you that although my medical insurance covered the majority of the fee, I still couldn’t afford it. The procedures totaled to over 8k in out-of-pocket expenses and I could only pay about half so, half of the procedure got done but unfortunately, I had to look elsewhere to finish it all. Elsewhere meaning a different country. I typically am really thorough with vetting any doctor before I let them do anything but I trusted my mother who told me she’s been going to this doctor for more than 20 years.

I walked in and right away, judging by how dated it looked in there, knew it wasn’t a good idea. But as I said before, I suck at standing up for myself and saying no. Besides, I was already there and I was determined to get this fixed, I tried my best to keep a positive mind. Boy do I regret it now. A procedure that would’ve taken 40 minutes at most with my doctor turned into almost 3hrs. Excruciating is an understatement. My body went into shock it was pretty evident, and at a certain point, I kind of accepted the pain and just quit feeling it.

I don’t blame my mother although she does feel horrible about it, and I don’t even Blame the doctor. She did the procedure how she was taught and we Americans are so used to minimal pain because of technological advances…we are privileged in every sense of that word. As I laid there in near tears, all I could think about was how incredibly lucky I was to be born in a country where that kind of pain was unnecessary. How many people have no other choice, how many people believe that it is the best care they can get?

The culture shock is real. One minute I’m in a place where all of the privileges around me are nearly invisible because it is just every day life, and another minute I’m surrounded by extreme poverty and people just trying to survive it. You could literally feel the desperation and sadness in people. It’s almost too much to bare.

I’m sitting here thinking about my upbringing about how poor we were and how tough that was. My mother knowingly left me with someone who abused me everyday because that was her only option. How terrible she must’ve felt. I don’t understand how I haven’t completely broken down yet considering my diet was very limited in those days. I despise left overs because when I was a kid, I ate the same meal for an entire week. Birthdays were a privilege and not one we could always afford. I never had a primary doctor. I was always confused as to how someone went to the same person all the time. I bounced around from place to place all the time. No one noticed I was abused, no doctor ever called CPS. For Christmas, grandmother made us candy bags. Kids now get iPhones and computers really blows my mind. Any type of toy mom got me came from a dollar store. I always wanted a cabbage patch doll when I was a kid and my mom was so sad that she couldn’t get that for me. I found Winston at a second hand store. I threw him in the washer and he was as good as new. He meant so much to me, so much, I still have him…in mint condition, except for some scratches from when Tina beat me up. I didn’t have cable TV. Our TV only had a handful of channels. I never traveled. Never had more than 2 pairs of shoes a year and I never had the luxury of getting a car from my parents. My first car was a Daewoo. Yep a Daewoo. And I saved up a whole year for that. I paid my way through college with no help. I lived in my car for a bit while I worked, went to school and completed and internship program. But as bad as it all sounds, I can’t help but to feel grateful for where I am today. Today I’m safe, today I’m a home owner, a business owner and I wife to a wonderful man. Today I have access to therapy and medication. I’m in physical pain now, but I’ll live. For some people this pain is a part of life and it’s unfortunate. That could’ve been me but it isn’t anymore. I’m truly truly blessed.

11 Nov, 2021

Chronicles of a Sad Girl

Author: Workers' Archive

Covering sensitivity at work and beyond on my website:

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