Note: This was written before Christmas, but I couldn’t bring myself to the idea of sharing something this depressing during the holidays. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, whatever name it may go by.
I’m poor, it’s not exactly any sort of hidden secret. I make less than $30K a year and have 5 kids. For the most part, I’m okay with accepting help, but there are some things that I get really ashamed about…
I’ve had the same pair of shoes for about a year and a half now. I cute little, simple pair of black Etnies with purple trim. I fucking love Etnies. I’ve worn them for the last 13 years.
That aside, my shoes are torn up, I mean super torn up. The soles are about worn through in several spots, on my left shoe, the toe of the shoe has separated from the trim on the bottom, giving my toes a nice big peek-a-boo hole, and while I’m sure it likes the freedom, I don’t. Especially in days like this when I have to walk through several inches of snow. For some reason, my socks get wet.
I get really ashamed when my clothes go kaput and I can’t afford new ones, and there seems to be some sort of special shame with shoes, I don’t know why…
I’ve been asked quite a bit recently about what I wanted for Christmas, and the majority of my answers have been “I don’t know”. I did finally decide I needed a pencil set and a new sketchbook, but I didn’t want to ask about shoes… I am so ashamed that I can’t afford to keep shoes up on myself. I make sure the kids are fit in good shoes and clothes, but…
I’ve done all my shopping for years at thrift stores. I won’t buy jeans unless I only have one pair without holes, and I will wear my shirts to threads before I give them away, hell, even my underwear has to be torn up pretty damn good before it leaves. I wear socks with holes, and wear my shoes past thread bare. It’s just the reality of my life, and I am so ashamed. I try not to be, but I am.
People who aren’t really poor don’t get it. Many people think that we’re getting all this shit from the government, that we’re living large but…
I’m telling you, it doesn’t happen like that. There is so much shame involved with being poor. There is so much hard work. Some of us get lucky breaks. I have an IPhone 4 and a Macbook from 2010. The only reason I have anything like that is because the phone was a gift from a friend and is on an active line currently being paid for by another friend. I got the Macbook when I went to school for audio engineering, and I got my tiny little studio set up on a combination of really good sales, and gifts. I don’t buy things like that nearly ever.
My speakers (monitors for audio lingo) for my studio are starting to shit out. I don’t know what I’ll do after that. A pair of half assed monitors cost $300-$400. I can’t afford a pair of shoes, so if my monitors really do go completely, then, well, I’m shit out of luck. My Mac has run well for 5 years now, but has a few more issues at the moment. I’m running into compatability problems because I can’t afford to upgrade Logic Pro (the program I use to make my music), and the version I have they have stopped updating. It’s the same for my brick (my nickname for the audio unit I use to plug the speakers and microphone into the computer). They don’t make updates for it anymore, which means that I can’t update platforms at all. So, I’m just counting down the days until my computer fails, and then… bye-bye music making for who knows how long.
I also have a PS3, which is another gift, and a 34″ tv, also a gift. Oh yeah, and a van, which was essentially a gift as well.
The point is, I wouldn’t have any of these things if it weren’t for the generosity of others. I’m not rolling around in the fucking government dough, I’m getting a lot of help from others, so I’m really lucky.
There’s this burning shame when you have to ask for anything. When your ability to reciprocate is very small, and you are the one that can do almost nothing in return. Every time I have to pull out the food stamps card, there’s a little twinge of discomfort. I wonder if the people behind me saw my phone? I wonder what they are thinking. Am I just another one of those worthless people that gets everything for free to them?
I wish more people would at least get the position those of us who are poor are in. I wish people would stop trying to put restrictions on what we can have, what we can buy, how we can live, the entertainment we can have, what kind of vehicle we can drive. If you don’t look poor, you get shit for living off the government tit. If you do look poor, then you’re obviously not doing anything with your life, you lazy shit.
There is no in between. There is no lack of judgement. There’s no seeing how fucking hard we work. It’s always the whole “they don’t work and just get all this money from the government” bullshit. I’m just tired of it, and it hurts to see all the comments, because I know I work hard, but I seem to be going up against a brick wall. It’s unclimbable and the people at the top, instead of handing me a ladder, just stand there and laugh. I mean, at least give me the materials, I’m a hard worker and I’ll build the damn ladder myself, but… I don’t even get that.
At the end of the day… I just wish I could afford to get shoes and socks before they’re completely destroyed.
Have a safe and beautiful holiday sunshines!