Heather Denkmire is a mother. She also writes, paints, and runs a business providing grant winning services to non-profit organizations. After writing an op-ed piece in October 2012, Heather is now a monthly columnist with The Bangor Daily News. She writes about her life experiences and her opinions as they relate to poverty.
“I’m not poor, but also, I am poor. I’m a well-educated, intelligent woman who grew up in a white collar, financially comfortable and stable home. My ex-husband is very generous in his support. When I do income-producing work, my business brings in decent money. Despite these facts, in the last two years, I found myself living in poverty. My columns come from this experience of being ‘newly poor.’
Discussions of socio-economic class are difficult. Most people I know are uncomfortable discussing anything related to money or social class, and that comes in all directions.
It is not my intention to romanticize poverty. I am not dabbling in it as an intellectual exercise. However, I am convinced my desperate financial situation is temporary. I see now that the challenges I have been facing in the last couple years might become a small source of light in a dark world. My snippets of experiences as I negotiate our governmental support systems, as I talk (or don’t talk) with friends about what it’s like, and as I find my world view changing, allow me the opportunity to consider what real poverty must be like.
My columns will be about me, my experiences, and my opinions, but always and only as they relate to the larger world around us. I understand I am setting myself up for criticisms from every angle. I don’t mind. It feels more important to me that we talk, that we break out of our fear and just share our thoughts. If we are afraid of saying things because we think we might look stupid, that we might be wrong, or that we might offend someone, we’ll all stay stuck in our own experiences and we’ll never learn. Writing these columns is a personal dream come true. I hope readers will enjoy them. I especially hope the ideas I share might spark in the readers new conversations and new opportunities for learning.”