I grew up poor (ish). White trash(ish). I was in the grey area. Which is really the worst place to be. You can’t claim either one. Not having a social class is…confusing. For example, I went to a private school in 6th and 7th grade but it was inexpensive & I’m pretty sure some of the students were court ordered there. I moved to a upper middle class suburb in 8th grade but on the outskirts. I mean, we basically snuck in. This has left me with a strange sense of not really belonging anywhere. Too poor for the rich kids and too rich for the poor kids and much like anyone, I longed to fit in with the rich kids. I mean, they had better cars and better teeth. Side note: In high school I once bit into a apple and a tooth just fell out. Out. I was the poorest kid in my a high school and my teeth couldn’t just stay the in my mouth. Anyways, I have since given up that dream. I no longer think the happiest people are the rich kids. Or the poor kids. The happiest I’ve met are people who found their tribe and their purpose. I know I’m saying anything new. Maslows higharchy of needs has discussed how once your basic needs are met, your happiness does not increase with income. Probably more effectivliy than me. I can concur though there are pricks in every social class and there are good people in every class.
In college I think I found my people. When I reached college I was less nervous about fitting it because it felt like an even playing field: we were mostly from the same economic background, everyone was the new kid and we were there for the same purpose (to try to learn something, while crushing as many Busch Lights as possible). I discovered in college everyone has a a story and most people want to share it, just be a good listener.
I was feeling ok about myself after college until this feeling of not being “good enough” came back to haunt me. I met a guy who was smart. And not normal person smart. Like, genius smart. And I had no idea. He told me he went to CalTech and I literally thought it was like ITT tech. Which was fine with me because then he could probably fix my fridge. So we date and then fall in love. I slowly process that I am entering a world of academia that I know NOTHING about. We were at a wedding once and a friend confides in me she’s really intimidated about how smart everyone is here. I was so excited! In my mind me and my new best friend would be pounding Busch Lights and having long discussions about who on the real world she would bone. Princeton. Princeton was this dummies school. It was exhausting. I felt like I’ll always be in a pond with big fish and I’ll be the small fish and should just be happy to be invited.
Which was somewhat ok. I had never really had aspirations to be a big fish in a small pond or a big fish in a big pond. I just wanted to belong. To feel like I was with people who get me. To feel like I was a part of something. And at the end of the day I want to feel like I’ve helped people. I understand that that’s what most people want (with the exception of Charles Manson and people who buy those creepy real life baby dolls.)
I find my self jealous of people how have found a way to do it. Or people who know what their life’s passion is.
Right now I not sure I have either a passion or I’m really helping anyone. As I am currently a stay at home mom. I hope that I’m creating caring, good kids who will grow into productive, helpful members of society. Somedays this thought makes me feel better and some days I feel like I’m bullshitting myself so I don’t have to feel guilty for not doing enough. When I’m feeling particularly down about it this CS Lewis qoute helps: “Children are not a distraction from important work, they are the most important work.” It’s a little heavy handed but it makes me feel better. I also know that a “Happy Chilldhood Lasts Forever” I hope that I am giving them that & will find a more balanced purpose when they are older.
I’ve also learned that my social class (or lack of) does not define me. I still struggle with it sometimes. People who are pretentious bother me. Really more then they should and I think it speaks to an insecurity within myself.
I also know that we are all just trying to get through this thing called life and nothing matters more then how you treat people.