Thinking often lately about poverty. Real poverty, destitute living, hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck poverty. I did not go out and interview a bunch of poor people. No, I lived this nightmare. From fourteen to somewhere in my late thirties, I considered myself as one of this nation’s poor people. This nation being the United States. I don’t really want to talk too much about this country, the only point that I would like you to take away from this is that most people lie about themselves to themselves about money, and about others to themselves too. I believe that money and wealth is one of the areas that is broken in the United States and that most people will not and/or cannot face the truth about money. How much they have, how much the owe, or how much they really need etc. We are delusional in other ways too, but this one I know well. Because really, I probably left the lower class by thirty, what did I just say, late thirties? See that, truth, we need some, and I can find it, and thanks to my somewhat unique past, I know where to look. That these are the things I want to find out about in my post labelled with the tag ‘Poverty’, when it comes to poverty, I think we will find it still affects us all.
Two main things occurred to me as a poor person. First, you can’t relate to the wealthy, I remember my “friends” laughing because our toilet had been broken for a few months, I was a kid and didn’t know how to fix it. My dad was absent, and my mom was about to crack up. These kids ripped on the way we lived, the disrepair, the dirt. When I got older and was still ‘behind’ or thought I was it was, “don’t you have someone to mow your lawn?” or “You clean your own house?” These are grown up versions of the same taunting, or so I thought. I don’t understand how you are living and I think my life is better is what I heard. Of course, intent is not always known in these “discussions” and you can’t go around blaming people for asking what may be harmless questions. I know now that much of the problem was in my head, but I didn’t at the time and most poor people don’t either in my opinion.
Poor people are, for the most part embarrassed to be poor, I think. Yes, this is my opinion, but I think you can believe this, even when people tell you they don’t care about wealth, in much harsher words than I’m using here, they do. For some that are not poor, they are not because it is terrifying to them, and they would do almost anything to keep away from poverty. Not a horrible thing, but while this reality drives some people to great things it drives others to evil and still others mad.
So yeah, I’m going to research some on this and post it here. I want very much to write about light things. Be clever and have cool fictional characters, but right now I’m more interested in truth, even when no one around me is and I think, as I investigate I will find that the reason people are poor is that they are telling lies. lies to themselves and to those around them about themselves. Lies to others and themselves about everyone else. I’ve been lying to myself for over 10 years. I’m going to stop, and I hope you will stop with me. We are going to quit lying like we quit smoking and quit eating junk food. We are going to see reality better and clearer and maybe even find some solutions to some of these issues.
So yeah, poverty. Let’s see what it’s about, what are its causes, its effects on people and communities, why people won’t face or even talk about poverty, and I’ll tell you my story, how I got from poverty to upper middle class. Maybe my crazy story will help you understand this tough issue, I know it will help me just to think about it and write it down. I’ll provide hard numbers too, maybe my own, maybe from others. I’ll be as honest as I can an even try to keep it light here and there. Here is an old one, but a funny one if you never heard it. I’m so poor I can’t afford to pay attention.