Usually, I’m not one to engage in online debates… it doesn’t get anything accomplished, no one wins, and everyone just ends up salty and annoyed with no real problem solving accomplished. HOWEVER, last week, I was absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook when I saw this. Now, basically, in summary, a girl in Mississippi wrote an article titled, “I’m Spoiled: Stop Shaming Me.” In response, someone wrote an article titled, “A Response to I’m Spoiled: Stop Shaming Me.” In response to that, the original author wrote, “Author’s Response to ‘I’m Spoiled: Stop Shaming Me.’” And I’m writing a response to both… are you keeping up? There’ll be a quiz later. Like I said, usually I don’t engage in this kind of pettiness, but hey, it’s Saturday night and I’m cranky, and I need an idea with an article, so let’s just go with this.
Let me just preface this by giving you a bit of background. I chose to go to a private Christian university, and so many just automatically assume that I’m financially well off, since I’m not going to a local community college. But, plot twist, I’m actually from a fairly poor background. “But Kira,” you say, “You use big words and you come off like you have your life together and you must be totally financially okay.” Well, that’s the thing; thinking that someone has to wear beat up clothes and won’t be well-read or ambitious or driven is actually an incorrect stereotype and I don’t fit into that. Yet, I do remember my mom having to get food from the food pantry in order for my brother and I not to go hungry, or nights of empty fridges because my mom hadn’t gotten paid yet and we didn’t have the money to get other food. There was a point where we came extremely close to homelessness, and it was only through the kindness of our nearby family that we got to have a roof over our head. That’s where I’m coming from.
“But Kira,” you say, “how are you going to a private school? You must be too poor for that.” According to Miss Nicole, her parents “don’t believe that such a heavy financial responsibility should come this soon in my life.” Well, the funny thing about bearing financial responsibility is that it really doesn’t exist if you have parents paying for everything. I worked 30 hours a week last semester to make $1000 dollar payments every month so I could continue going to the school of my choice. My parents not only don’t hand me anything, but they can’t hand anything to me. And that’s why your point of view is simply ridiculous. Nicole’s parents “make sure [she] is taken care of until [she] can provide for herself.” I’m already at that point. I’ve been forced to take care of myself, even if it means having to “fend for myself.” That’s what being an adult is. I wouldn’t think to “shame” someone simply because they are well off, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get dang frustrated when I’m constantly asked why I can’t afford simple things, or why my parents won’t pay for my college education. When I can’t afford my phone bill, I don’t get phone service. I don’t get bailed out. That’s what we mean when we call you out, and that might be why you feel “shamed”: you have a safety net, Nicole. I don’t. So yes, your life is being handed to you.
This not only means physically, but emotionally or socially. Jayde Anzola speaks of part of this when she responds in her article here. However, even Jayde uses the money from her part time job to pay for “eating out, shopping, spring break trips, extracurricular activities, Greek life, and other events.” She doesn’t know the panic that grips your stomach when you look at your bank account and see that you are $347 in the negative (I’m not exaggerating about that… it’s happened so many times to me). While Nicole has the room to focus on her grades exclusively, I get to balance a job at the same time, and that means my grades suffer. Obviously, I’m not flunking out of college, but it would certainly be helpful to be studying during the daylight hours instead of coming home from working and getting to study for an exam until 3 in the morning. Getting the chance to only “invest my energy into my school” is a LUXURY. I’d “low key kind of enjoy” studying too if I had the chance to actually mentally engage instead of cramming three hours of studying into an hour and a half’s worth of time, because I immediately have to head to work. While Nicole has “those Ramen Noodles with the cheese melted on top kind of days,” I can’t afford the cheese, and I can barely get the Ramen Noodles. One Thanksgiving Break, I didn’t have any money to get groceries, so the week before, I took as many pears as I could from the cafeteria, and ate those exclusively throughout the week. So if getting annoyed that you get the chance to “invest your time in things to learn responsibility and skill,” while I can barely invest my time in 5 hours of sleep a night is “talking shit,” well, then I guess that’s what this is.
Nicole would like me to “save the salt for my French fries.” I actually just had a tuition payment taken out, so I can’t afford French fries. Do you mind spotting me?