Thursday, September 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes: Being Poor

I don't like to "go deep" for quick takes, but this week I need to toss the fluff and address something. Yesterday a study was published that stated 46.2 million Americans fell below the poverty line in 2011.
An article on CNN brought me to John Scalzi's essay "Being Poor"--go read it and then come back here. These 7 Quick Takes are my own 7 additions to his essay, based on my childhood experiences.

Being poor is doing your homework at Barnes and Noble or the library because there's no electricity at home.

Being poor means riding the bus to school with your mom (where you go and she teaches) because you have no car.

Being poor means living out of a cooler.

Being poor means learning how to use your warm breath under the covers to keep you warm when there's no heat in the middle of a New York winter.

Being poor means sleeping over at a friend's house, just to use their working shower.

Being poor means not taking ANYTHING for granted.

Being poor means sometimes, it's hard to believe that there is a God.

I'm able to write this now, being on "the other side" of the poverty line. Not incredibly well-off, but living a life I would've dreamed about as a child. It is hard to forget what I endured, and yet it is easy to forget that money doesn't grow on trees. I want to lavish my children in hopes of them never experiencing what I did--and yet that can be a poison to them as well, I am learning. I've tried so hard to protect them from the poverty that I knew, that I'm raising them to take everything for granted. I want to give them the world, because I didn't have it. I know that it is a blessing that I am where I am, and that doesn't mean others still living in poverty are any less worthy of such blessings. But I know how hard it is to make it out.


  1. The things we know now that we didn't know back then... :( Although, I don't think you would have wanted us to know. Still, I feel badly. If I'm making sense...

  2. My Quick Takes this week are on "the perks of being part of the 47%" so I understand.

  3. Thanks for sharing this so honestly. I think I will share that article with my boys ... a little reality check is good.

  4. I couldn't make it through the essay without crying. Between that and your quick takes here, my childhood was described. I remember one winter when we had to apply for some sort of charity where they'd give you oil every so often for one of those gigantic room heaters. And the friends house for showers? yeah.
    I try not to think about them often, but then I'm finding that I'm taking for granted the rich life I have right now. And yeah, with our student debt and car debt my husband and I are still richer than I ever ever imagined being when I was a child. My parents are still struggling with some of these things and my heart aches for them, especially because in order to escape the cycle I moved far away. Too far though to help them and my younger siblings, which makes me feel so guilty.


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