My house is not going to be clean again for some time. I looked at my boyfriend a few days back and I said, “Cleaning this house does not generate cash flow.I am capable of generating at least three times as much as a maid makes.”

I will have you know that I will have my hands inside the guts of a toilet today, for cash flow. I don’t use a toilet brush, or gloves. I stick my hand all the way into the basin and under where the sh*t sticks because I want my brain to understand that $20 an hour is the equivalent of scrapping poop with fingernails.

My grandmother scrubs toilets for rich folks in Michigan, but I don’t feel bad because she’s a total snob. I mean that in the kindness and most loving way. She carries herself in the highest esteem and she should. She has earned every red cent and the right to still be working at seventy. Is my grandma seventy already? I can’t be sure, but I know that she should have retired years back and still she scrubs. My dad chastises me to understand the value of the dollars she sends and she does. My grandmother sends me money every Christmas and I’ve only seen her face twice in my life. She scrubs sh*t to send me money. It’s been thirty-eight years.

I pay my bills with it, while I listen to my dad’s wisdom about working the grind. “You need to save every red cent Amber. Don’t trust the banks, or let the government track you. Bury your money.”

Yes. He expects me to dig holes in the ground.

My family is poor. How poor are they? Squalor. My dad’s place is squalor. It’s like a volcano erupted to cover a life in ash. The furniture looks like it was dragged in from a homeless camp. I don’t like to sit back in it at first. It takes me sometime to appreciate the sacrifice my father makes for my future and his. He honestly believes that if he does not allow himself to indulge in earthly comforts and frivolities, if he scrimps and saves in a God honest way, that he will be able to leave my brother and I a legacy.

He almost died last year. He spent the whole year dying, while a flesh-eating bacteria ate out chunks of his leg. In a room down the hall is best friend and roommate did die, and before he went he wasted away like a refugee in a death camp. Have you ever watched someone die slowly? I see it every day. Metaphorically and psychologically. My dad’s current condition is my literal reminder of what happens when you get locked into one mindset, and his is concrete.

I don’t have the heart to tell him that if I follow his wisdom my path will be his and I do not want to be what I see. I don’t want to be my mother either and she graduated from college with the highest honors, moving on to a career in caring for sick children as a pediatric nurse. How noble to give, except she gave too much, as most women do, until she found herself permanently disabled, strung out on needed narcotics, and completely alone without any support.

How do we support her without supporting her drug habit?

My truth is that I don’t really care if my mom needs to be high to get through the rest of her painful life. I love her unconditionally and I wish her well. I wish her well, but wishes do not solve problems and I have the very real responsibility of caring for my parents because they deserve better than filth. They deserve to have years that are golden with the children that they raised well thriving.

My parents raised us well. Many of you may not know that my history includes me living on the streets as a runaway at fifteen. They tried to wrap me into the system because I have always had an unruly mind. My mom had the courts put me in a program called, “Youth At Risk.” The program works like this,”If don’t follow the rules you go to jail. We will put you in cage.”

I don’t like cages, or rules that do not understand circumstance. I am not meant to be a cubicle box, nor do I care if the ceiling is made of glass as long as it keeps a roof over my head. I rather enjoy looking at the night sky and imagining that life really is beyond any one comprehension. Wisdom is perspective passed on by generations through communication. I am great at communicating. I write to be understood.

Do you understand the difference between these three things:

1) Multi-level Marketing?
2) Network Marketing?
3) A Pyramid Scheme?


Model: Anna Coleman

Photographer: Amber Garibay

Studio: A Smile Like Yours Photography

Booking Inquiries: 360.701.9204

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