Growing Up Essay

And I would wager that most of them still believe a homeless or impoverished person just isn’t doing enough to help themselves.I was one of those people, even if I was just a kid.Didn’t I watch her get up and go to her job every day? Yes, sometimes the heat was turned off, and things got broken and couldn’t be replaced. But judging the poor — or pretending that simple rules of logic apply to something often determined by blind luck — makes all of us less human.

If your parents worked harder, then you wouldn’t be on free lunch.”We were children, and I assume he did not hear the cruelty in his words.I could try out for cheerleading, but the girls whose parents paid for cheer camp would always make the team.I was in gifted classes, but I was the only person in gifted classes who was also on free lunch, and everyone knew it.She also threw in an unopened stack of white notecards.The box and the notecards represented possibility to me.After that day, I refused to sit with the other “gifted” kids at lunch.I’d wanted to scream at that boy that my mother worked hard. Remember those plastic boxes made specifically for holding notecards?She couldn’t: We lived paycheck to paycheck, and the gap between the two checks was always perilous.A surprise bill could quickly change the condition of our entire home from stable to terrifying.Same for when she yelled at us, hit us, promised us things she couldn’t afford, or said she would do something and then didn’t follow through. I would be able to crack the code and ascend from poverty, so my children would never suffer the way I felt like I was being made to suffer. This time in my life is something I reflect on often, especially when I read critiques that the circumstances of people like my mother — poor people — are simply a product of bad choices or moral failings.Forty-nine percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

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