Photo by Oziel Gómez on Unsplash (picture of brown worn boots)

Self-sufficiency is a scare tactic

Jamila Medley
3 min readApr 7, 2022

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I was nineteen years old when I had my first child. After my family had invested money, time, and other resources into me attending private school all of my life, coming home after my freshman year of college pregnant was not cool. It was then that I really began my practice of self-sufficiency. Fine. Y’all don’t want me to have this baby? Cool. I’ll do it by myself.

And, in some ways I did. Rather than waiting for my mother to cool down and adjust to me living at home while pregnant, I decided to go back to my college town and live with my daughter’s father. I could take care of myself. I would resist asking for help from my family to prove a point — that I could be self-sufficient.

As I struggled as a young mother to make ends meet while earning $5.25 an hour working 3 jobs and taking college courses, I understood that closed mouths don’t get fed. Even if I wasn’t going to ask my family for help, I knew I needed it from somewhere. My daughter’s paternal aunt put me on to how to apply for food stamps and cash assistance. I began to see my school not as a monster to overcome but a bastion of resources that I also deserved to benefit from because I was taking on student debt to be there.

In real life, none of us hardly does anything all alone. We rely on all kinds of systems to support our ways of life. We rely on sanitation workers…

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Jamila Medley

I write to reflect on & learn how to live more authentically, slowly, & intentionally in a culture that dares you to go against the grain.