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user-inactivated  ·  1025 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How poor people stay poor

I grew up a different version of poor. And it doesn't compare to what you guys are talking about, but I do have one thing in common with you because of it.

We grew up with my mom having only graduated high school. This wasn't that big of a deal back then, and you could still pull down a decent job without a college degree. She worked in insurance data entry eventually, but that was after a lot of working other shittier jobs like doing clerical for a PI, and even when she was working insurance, Christmas was sparse. Luckily we were so little we didn't know any better, but looking back at pictures of my mom on Christmas morning, she was freaking out and disappointed in herself and it showed.

Luckily we had my grandma to depend on, because my single mom with two kids and no one else would have been screwed. That would have been poor like Pixie Bread because there wasn't enough money for rent, food, utilities, out of just my mom's check for sure.

So I didn't know this, because at the time I was 2-12 and you don't know these things. But what we have in common, is that we have had to depend on someone else. If my mom and grandma fought, the fight was over because there was always the nuclear option of, "You can do that, but not under my roof." And there wasn't another roof available. This was especially a problem when my mom wanted to start dating again and my grandma told her to get her degree before she even thought about men.

And that's what being poor is to me. Lack of options. Being rich is being able to tell people that you have a valid opinion because you don't need them to back it. Being poor is hoping that things turn out in your favor when there hasn't been a good track record so far. So I don't know what it's like to not be able to pay rent because I am lucky and I told myself that I would work to make my luck as small a factor in that balance as I could, but I do know what part of being poor is, that your opinion doesn't count, that you need other people's help, that you have to compromise yourself for others. Even that little bit was enough to make me want to never be poor.