The Guilt And Shame Of Poverty

The Guilt And Shame Of Poverty

There is a social and mental guilt to being poor

I recently spoke with my mother, and as the conversation continued to drag on, she mentioned that she did not have enough money to get new shoes this year even though all of her other ones were falling apart. She also happened to mention that she does not wish for me to get her anything for Christmas; however, both of these thing really struck a chord with me. ait made me realize that, even though most college kids are broke, I am one of the many people in eastern Tennessee who grew up and currently have the status of being below the national poverty line.

My partner has grown up, and currently has has the status of 'well off middle class'. The type of middle class where there is always nice food on the table and two large TVs in the house: one for cable and one for video games. There are times when I am amazed at the frivolous spending my partner partakes in, and there are stories of our childhood that differ greatly because of the income of the houses we grew up in.

After the talk with my mother, I realized something else: having grown up in such a low income area and household has made me feel guilty when I spend more than $10 on anything that is not food or a necessity. And even when it may be a necessity, I will still feel guilty for spending over $10 on it. This is not something I tell to friends, for many of my friends are either long distance, or they have enough money to go out every so often for an expensive meal.

Poverty, in general, carries a lifetime guilt along with it. Once a person lives in poverty they are unable to shake that feeling of failure or guilt for being among the poor. There are times that the people who greatly succeed and have a rags to riches story are able to overcome that feeling; however, when you have lived this way your entire life, it is hard to feel like you are ever going to be more than just a poor bastard who will eventually live under the local overpass.

Personally, I hope to be able to say that I am going to be a rags to riches story, and if not that then a rags to well-enough-off adult after college. It is hard to shake off the guilt of poverty and the shame that I feel when I walk into a store to spend any kind of money, whether it is a thrift store or the Gap. And I know that no matter what my income may be in the future, I will always have the shame and guilt that come with being poor. It is something that affects many American households in the 21st century, and there is that shame that people may not admit to, but it will be there. Among the children especially, there will be the shame of poverty.

Cover Image Credit: picture quotes

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Yes, I Made My Cat An Instagram

I follow my cat around like her own personal paparazzi.

Yes, the headline you just read is true. I have in fact created an Instagram account for my cat. I know, it does sound a little crazy. What respectable person does that? Well, I do. A bored college student home for winter break for six weeks.

Now, in the beginning, it started as some crazy idea that came to me while I was lying in bed on my phone at two a.m. Velvet, my cat, was sleeping on my bed and I looked at her and thought to myself, ‘She is just as cute as any other pet account that I follow on Instagram,’.

So, her Instagram account, @velvet.blackcat, was born. I posted the first picture, one I had taken when I was packing for my bags for college, and introduced her to the Instagram world. I followed some accounts that also featured black cats, turned my phone off and went to sleep.

Now, this might be the part of the story where the next morning I turn my phone back on and was ecstatic to see Velvet had all of these new followers. No, that is not the case. She had garnered a few likes on her first picture, and a couple of followers.

Some might think that I’m exploiting Velvet’s cuteness just for followers. While she is very adorable, I genuinely enjoy taking artsy pictures of her each day, editing, and posting them. Her follower count has steadily risen and it’s enjoyable to interact with different accounts that are also dedicated to their pets.

While most who read this will think it’s a little crazy, I’ve found it as a fun sort of hobby to do during the day. I like looking at the different cats and dogs whose owners have also created Instagrams for them and they post daily on what they have done that day.

It also allows me to spend more time with Velvet, more so than I already do. I follow her around the house now and wait for her to do something cute like play with her toys, roll over, or fall asleep in a cute position.

I’ve also found a new outlet for creativity as well. I found that I enjoy the process of taking pictures. I like finding the how the light reflects off different objects in the room to create a unique looking picture.

I enjoy taking on a different sort of role of writing. It’s fun and creative and enjoyable. It’s amazing to see all different types of animals that have owners who love them so much.

I encourage anyone who has an animal to start an Instagram for them. It’s a different way to spend time with your favorite furry friend and to connect with other people from around the world. Take some time out of your day to spend with your pets, take cute pictures, and don’t be afraid to lay on the ground and play with them!

Cover Image Credit: Ariana Pelosci

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Don't Let Fear Stop You From Branching Out

“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.”

A few days into the new year and the new semester, and I’m still sticking with one of my resolutions: to branch out. I feel like my first semester was a lot of trying to get settled in and somewhat testing the waters. It was strictly school work and just hanging out with a couple of friends.

However, I felt somewhat disappointed that I didn’t meet more people, and I realized that if that’s something I want to happen, I have to do more than sit in my dorm; therefore I made branching out a goal of mine for the spring semester. Honestly, I am so excited about it.

My roommate and I are basically in this together, and one thing we decided to start doing is work out classes and yoga. This obviously does not sound appealing, but I was willing to try it. I knew that this wasn’t anything I was interested in, but I felt like for the sake of my resolution, it definitely couldn’t hurt.

But I was nervous. I didn’t like the thought of working out in front of other people. I don’t like people seeing me in a state where I am somewhat vulnerable. I was actually nervous to take a class. I didn’t want to have to experience the judgement of anyone else in the room around me. I finally I thought, “You know what? Who cares. You are trying to better yourself “

So, I went. I experienced some of the worst pain ever, but it was so worth it. I realized it was something that I enjoy doing and made me feel good. I didn’t feel a single look of judgement. I felt a room of people supporting each other that are working toward the same/similar goal. It felt nice that all of us had a common interest. We talked to people, we laughed, and we ached.

I tell this story to say that you shouldn’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. A quote by Robert Tew says, “Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.” He couldn’t be more correct. Though I am applying this to something as simple as taking a yoga class, this can apply to many situations in life. We so often find fear holding us back.

I find myself often referring back to lessons my dad taught me. One of the greatest lessons he ever taught me was not to let fear restrict me. I was such a scared child. I was scared of everything. I missed out on many opportunities because of the fears that ate at me. My dad reminded me that I will never know unless I try, so I began to try. I began to see success and growth in my life and my confidence.

I still find myself being scared at times. Most of the time, it’s over something silly, but it is something big to me. If it holds me back, it’s a big deal. Your fears are a big deal, but you can overcome them.

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