Growing Up Poor

Stripper Notes 38

like anyone I did not know I was poor until someone told me. The first person to tell me we were poor was my grandma on mom’s side. I hated when she said that because every time she said it I felt like it was more true, but I absolutely know I did not want that for myself. My parents were divorced by the time I was 3 years old and it was normal to me growing up with out my dad in the house. My dad ha neglected 90% of his responsibilities and threw a LITTLE cash at my mom a month. When she tried to take hm to court and get more money he was furious and tried to antagonize her for it even though I saw her bust her ass my whole life. Until I was 6 years old me, my mom and my older sister lived with my grandma and sometimes aunt and cousins. By the time my mother moved out she had had enough of my family allowing my aunt to be lazy and have tons of kids while my mom works to pay the bills. We moved into duplex and it wasn’t the best and I missed being around my cousin’s, but it did make me feel a little status. We were no longer in the home of my jaded, negative grandmother who did nothing, but put down any hopeful idea that anyone might have. We moved around a little more so after that we moved to my great aunt’s house who passed away. I loved that house and it was my first time ever living in a house in m entire life and it was also my first time having my own room which actually wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped. I was 10 years old at this point in my life and felt larger than life. I felt like my family was very wealthy and then my mom got a car which made me so happy because no one in my family really didn’t drive. I was so excited about her car because as a child I was so embarrassed to see my classmates around town at grocery stores and things and having to carry tons of bags from the grocery store to a bus stop, then wait at the bus stop, then take this exhausting journey home. I came to the point where I refused to go to the grocery store with my mother because I didn’t want to catch the bus or ask a ride-man for a ride. At about age 13 I had middle class friends whose parents had homes and cars and when I’d go home I would try to imagine how wonderful life must me to have a nice clean home decorated beautifully and a comfortable car to ride in.

The worst day of my life was probably after we moved from one apartment complex to a much smaller one in a much more poor neighborhood. After we moved from my great aunt’s house we moved back to the apartment complex we lived in before we lived in the duplex. Those apartments were closing down for renovation and in my mom’s regular fashion she waited to the last-minute to find somewhere to stay. I wanted an upgrade, but we got anything but that. This apartment complex was so small and ghetto for lack of a better word. I wouldn’t call it projects because we did pay good money for rent, but the apartments were definitely ghetto. It was the kind of environment where you go somewhere and  come back and see the same guys hanging on the block like they haven’t moved an inch. Of course the apartments were roach infested and like many poor people my mom accumulated lots of useless dated junk which didn’t help. The first day we moved there I sat on the floor of a small bedroom floor my sister and I would share and I cried. The last time I cried for no reason like that my sister was leaving me behind to go to middle school while I finished my last year of elementary school. We lived there for seven years and it was mental hell for me.  My neighbors included drug dealers, drug users, single mothers, and the SWAT team were regular guests as well. After seven years a bad bedbug infestation pushed us out thank god. At that time I was 21 years old and I had been living there since I was 14. I know that it was during that time that my depression was at a peak. In high school I knew I was poor because I couldn’t focus because my life felt so hidden. When I was at school I loathed going home. I would stay out late doing anything not to go home. By my sophomore year in highschool I had started an eBay store to purchase a pair of expensive boots that might be marked down and then I realized I could sell things on there. I sold whatever I could find. My mom had gotten me a digital camera for christmas and I used it to its fullest benefit! I loved that camera. By my junior year in high school I started working at six flags and I finally had my own money and I loved it. Yes the work was hard, but the money was good and I loved it. Before I was 18 I had been in a bout 5 money-making situations. I always knew that if I desperately needed something my parents could possibly have it, but more than likely wouldn’t. That did cause me to resent my parents, but by the time I was 17 I could have moved out and looking back I wish I would have. If you met me in real life you’d think I was a Hollywood actress or Model and that’s how I viewed myself growing up no matter my financial status. I wasn’t going to allow my physical reality infect my mental reality. I refused to live the way I did forever and I wondered why my family lived that way. At 20 years old by the  time I got a car I felt like I had done the impossible while many kids get way better cars than I had for their 16th birthdays. I know parents have to make sacrifices, but I didn’t understand why they chose what they were choosing. I came to understand that the only person that could change my family’s outlook on my family was my family. Someone put that idea into their heads that they were poor and that’s just how life was and I wasn’t going for that idea. I would like to say that even though my mother did not have the courage to live her dreams she did give me the space to do what I wanted to do even if she could not give me the money and did not know how to support me, because what I was doing was foreign to her.

If you are from a poor family you do not have to live like that forever. It is your choice and at some point you have to forgive your past and accept responsibility in order to move forward.

Stripper Notes 37a


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