Tecoria’s Story: A Lupus Warrior

Meet Tecoria, a car mechanic and rising poet who lives with her family in Buffalo, South Carolina.

Can you tell me about your jobs?

I work at a mechanic shop with my brother and help however I can. When I’m not working at the car shop, I like to write poetry and post it on Vocal. It’s a place where you can share your work and people can send you money to help fund what you’re doing. I also have my own small business that focuses on healing.

What does a day in your life currently look like?

Because of my lupus, my morning routine can take two to three hours. By the time I make my way to the car shop, I’m fatigued, but I have to be the big sister that my brothers need me to be. And, most importantly, I need to do my job. I’m lucky to have very understanding brothers. They know my situation and help me out in the morning by setting up the space heater at the car shop for me.

When I’m done with my work day, I make flyers for my small business, the car shop, and for my rapper and poetry friends. It brings me a lot of joy to help my friends with marketing and business management.

“I’m thankful for my mom. When I was a teenager with a recent lupus diagnosis, my mom would rush me to the doctor every week, help me manage the medications I was prescribed, and take me to my different surgeries. I saw her cry so many times because she thought lupus would kill me. One day, I came home from a doctor’s appointment upset because the doctor said I wouldn’t live to see 21. But I just celebrated my 28th birthday. My mom is my rock, my queen, and my she-ro. When I can’t move and I’m in pain, she’s by my side. And when I had a total hip replacement, she was right there. I thank her every day and tell her how much I love her!!”

Your mom sounds very supportive. Tell me about her.

She’s always been there for me. She’s a teacher and loves her students as much as she loves her own kids. I know I can call her if I need anything and she’d stop whatever she’s doing to come and help. She was there for me when I was diagnosed with lupus. I actually wrote a poem for her and she said that she’d read it to her students. I want to do more for my mom and provide more for her, but right now I can’t and I don’t know how to make that happen.

How has COVID-19 impacted you?

It’s impacted the car shop because people just aren’t driving as much these days. We haven’t had as much business as we usually do. Also, people just don’t have the money to get their car serviced. I’ve had to work out payment plans with people who have needed work done on their cars.

What would you like to do when things are better?

I want to see the world. I go to Florida all the time and usually take a big trip during the summer, so I’m looking forward to making that happen.

My next international trip will be to Dubai. One of my favorite artists shared a video of Dubai at night when the city was all lit up and I want to experience that for myself.

Are you saving for anything in particular?

Well, I went to the doctor’s the other day and I found out that I was pregnant. I’m going to save up and surprise my mom with a little onesie.

I don’t have financial support from the father, but I know my family and friends will be here for me. My friends tell me, “You don’t need [the father’s] support. You’re so strong.” I have such a positive team behind me.

Tell me about your biggest financial achievement.

I’d say my biggest financial achievement is being able to stay caught up on my bills. I got a little behind on my car payment but I’ve been working towards that. Right now, I’m focusing on budgeting for my bills and getting out of debt. I receive a social security disability insurance check each month, so I try to save a little bit but it’s not a lot.

Do you have any student loans you’re paying off?

Yes, I do. I’m on an income-based repayment plan. Because my income recently dropped, my loan provider said that my payments will be paused until May 2021. If my take-home pay increases by then, the loan provider will see if I’m able to pay my loans.

To date, I’ve paid off $80,000 in student loan debt.

How do you feel about SaverLife?

I like how SaverLife can keep track of how much I’m spending. I convinced my brother to join SaverLife, too! The Money 101 articles have been very helpful as well. I recently read articles on how to get out of debt and how to buy a house. One of my life goals is to buy a house of my own by the time I turn 30 years old. Once I get to where I want to be in life, I want to give back to my community.

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