"Out of The Closet" by Chrissy Teague
This piece was written by a former student from Monroe Community College, Crissy Teague. She is one smart, beautiful, tough cookie.
Everything I own in the world fits behind two locked closet doors. Last year I divorced, got fired and denied for unemployment. My nine-year old and I moved back home with my mother. I felt lost. What could I control? I could take care of what little I owned. I locked away clothes, movies, CD’s, shoes, video games and hygiene products. No one would borrow or damage what was “mine.” It belonged to me. My thirteen year-old sister would no longer take my clothes without asking, not even the dirty ones — (I locked the hamper up too). Everything changed, but I would be in control of my little world.
Then, my son threw two mega fits while we accompanied my mother to the mall. He first cried when I refused his request for a certain video game. Telling him to “put it on his Christmas list,” or “we can’t afford it because Mommy’s not working,” or “you hardly play the the your other Wii games” did not make the tears subside. Mega fit number two came when I gave him a caramel rice cake topped with peanut butter to snack on. His lack of gratitude, and double dose of tears in two hours resulted in up a “starving kids in Africa” speech.
Fuming, I sat arms crossed. How could my child be so ungrateful? Why is he so selfish/self-centered? After a few moments I realized, this behavior is learned: Narcissism as taught by me. I remembered my belongings under lock and key. I’ve been doing this all wrong. Not just training my child, but living. My new conviction: God did not breathe life into me so I could horde pleasures for myself then die, an empty existence.
The little I own in the closets now seems like too much. It’s time to come out of the closets. I will give to my local community. I will go through my movies/video games and donate to local orphanages. My son has extra toys, books to give to a daycare, or hospital children’s wing, or library. A dozen fancy dresses and shoes can go to the Fairy Godmother project. Instead of spending nights indoors watching movies, my son and I will volunteer. It is better to give than to receive. I’m going to give my son a rich legacy—a legacy of giving to others.
What are you holding onto that might benefit someone else? Needs have never been greater. What better time to give than now? You may feel like you don’t have much. I understand. I’m a jobless single mother coming out of two closets. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to give. I challenge you to do what you can. Our relatives, our friends, our neighbors need us. The quality of community is in our hands. Who knows the outcome? The life you change may be your own.
13 thoughts on “"Out of The Closet" by Chrissy Teague”
TO CRISSY TEAGUE: That divorce in 1984 left me facing 12 years child support and med ins. at half my salary. Lost house I owned prior to marriage. Loaded what I could in ’72 Cutlass with yellow lab retriever to start over again. I was surprised with what little I needed to live and became free of physical possessions as part of my self identity. Now condo paid, pension, social security keeps me comfortable and I am sole caretaker for my 86-years old parents. If we can take anything into next life it will probably be fond memories (if we so design), so life of giving our most sacred legacy. New job, new people, new opportunities will present.
Crissy, you have set yourself on course to great wealth: Touching the lives of others. And you will survive because emitting good karma reflects good karma back to you. The most treasured thing I own is 8 1/2 years clean and sober. A particular fellow that is my spiritual guide that died 2,000 years ago said: “He who wishes to be first must first learn to be last and the servant of others.”
Fabulous post! Really thought provoking & made me a little ashamed of what my days can be like!
Renee-you know I love your writing, but I really love when you have a guest writer too. It’s great to hear someone else’s perspective 😉 It’s also nice to read about someone bouncing back from adversity, and making a difference, rather than wallowing in it and having a pity party. Great stuff!
I know! I am so proud of some of my former students! They remind me why I do my thang.
What a high quality guest writer.
I’m in awe of your consciousness and decisive action in difficult personal times.
Renee: Chrissy is awesome. You have great taste in guest writers. Why do your posts always make me cry?
Meant to inspire, baby! 😉
Crissy, that is a revelation you had! You will be happier the rest of your life, and your life will have meaning, and take a turn for the better, because of your new giving attitude. Your son will benefit the most. I had a similar experience almost fifty years ago, and have been enriched in many was because of it.
Giving is so much better than receiving. It does not matter how small it is. It is helping in some way. Bravo article.
You go, girl! Inspiring – and who knows what doors will open for you with volunteering? You’ll meet all kinds of people. It’s hard to say “no” to the kids – would you feel better about a new game for your son if some of the old, unplayed with things were gone?
We also give away as much as we can directly to folks that can use it. We try to stay away from resale charities and give places that can give furniture clothes for free to people that need it. However, I think the 9 year old was right to be pissed when offered a rice cake and peanut butter. Sounds horrible. At least a Tic-Tac would be minty.
Great words for thought. Especially the bit about the child reflecting the mother, very true. There is no better mirror than a child and I am reminded of this on the daily 🙂