On Being White Trash

2 Feb

I don’t want to be white trash. Seriously, I don’t. However, I just happen to be and observant person, (unfortunately) and I observe cliche after cliche… all pointing toward yes.

Yes, my husband drinks beer and is not gainfully employed.

Yes, my last 4 pairs of shoes came from the dumpster.

Yes, I’m on aid and living in subsidized housing.

Yes, I swear like a sailor. I like fried foods. My kids watch a lot of TV. I take public transit.

Okay whatever.

I honestly feel like I’ve worked too hard to get where I am at, and where I am at is not good enough for me.

I have no excuse. I was raised well, by a well to do family. I’m as educated as you can get, just being a High School graduate. (I, unlike you, paid attention in class) I’m intelligent, strong, healthy and I frickin’ know better than to allow myself to live this way.

When I took “time off” from school after graduation… when I swore I’d party for a few years and then get down to business before it was too late… when I refused to take the lesson driven home by my parents that we have to work really hard for everything we have… all these things have contributed to my white-trashiness.
I never knew as a young, young woman, that what I was doing at the time wasn’t temporary. Every choice I made was going to shape me and mold me into the person that I was at 30.
And now at 30, I’m ashamed.

I’ve lost my idealism to the years of apathy and weariness. I’ve lost my drive to the years of indulgence and waste.
I feel like I’m merely holding on to what precious little I have.
It sucks. It sucks so bad that you could hardly imagine my suffering.
I crawled and clawed my way up from homelessness, despair and drug addiction. I’ve broken through the stigma of untreated mental illness. I’ve loved and lost and kept on loving. I’ve been abandoned and found broken among the wreckage.
I’ve come so far, but not far enough.
Not far enough by far.
If I was stupid or incapable in some other way, I could handle this.
If I had been raised underprivileged, or by folks who didn’t set a good example or had no idea (for any other reason) how to act, to handle myself, or how to present myself… it would be a different story.
I know I can do better than this.
I have the knowledge. I have the strength. If I get right down to it, I even have the support I need to succeed if I just ask the right way.
What’s holding me back? Fear? Anxiety? The thought of failing after all my effort? Not knowing quite how to proceed? Pure fucking laziness?
I think all of those things, and maybe more.
But I know myself.
I’m strong enough.
I’m smart enough.
These traps I’ve built for myself are of my own design. I have no other to place the blame of the direction my life has taken.
So, here I sit. The most cliche of all white trash cliches.
And survey says, I’ll just keep on sitting. Like I have been.

9 Responses to “On Being White Trash”

  1. Lydia February 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Just needed to say, where you are is not who you are- you just can’t let yourself believe that. What’s more I don’t believe that you’ll let yourself stay here too long. I don’t accept it.

    • justmom420zaks February 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks Lyd, I need that kind of support when my belief in myself flags like this. :) You’re a good friend.

  2. purseblogger February 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    I don’t accept it either. You can be who you want to be. It’s not easy and it will take some time but you can do it. We’ve talked about certain things and you said to remind you whenever I feel like it so here goes: stop doing what you know isn’t right and start fresh. Humble yourself and ask for help. You’d be surprised at the responses you’ll get, and they’re all good. xoxo

    • justmom420zaks February 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

      You are totally right. In all respects. And I totally need you around to remind me of these things.
      I’m so glad of my support system, you guys rock. I need to bring myself up to this challenge.

  3. Lori stefanac (Lola) February 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    You sound like an amazing person to me. Someone who has overcome many odds in her life thus far. You are way too articulate, intelligent and insightful to be white trash. Money or lack thereof doesn’t define you. You define you.

    • justmom420zaks February 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

      Thanks Lola. I think you’re pretty awesome as well.
      I’ve been told I’m amazing before, and it doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m thinking of trading it out for solid and reliable.

  4. Jen February 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    You’ve just described what it’s like to be poor and white; NOT trashy. “WT” is a horrible colloquialism, bleeding an effect like darkness over the truth, and should be abolished from the American language.

  5. Jen February 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    My brain kept nagging at me to correct myself on this. The simpler truth is, you’ve only just described what it’s like to be POOR, not poor AND white. After all, you could have also been born (like Navin R. Johnson) “a poor black child…”

    • justmom420zaks February 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

      Somehow I picture being poor and black to involve more barbequeing. ;)

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