Some people are born with silver spoons while some people have to carve theirs out of wood with a dull knife. The struggle teaches far more than the privilege yet we are conditioned under that archaic system of classes to believe that the value of a person is relative to the size of their coffers.
I was born the daughter of a man who had an 8th grade education and a mom who graduated high school to go right into marriage and child rearing at the age of 18. We were never rich, the majority of my clothes came from garage sales and clearance racks. I remember the envy I would feel towards the “popular” girls with their designer clothes who always got picked first while I warmed the bench at basketball and volleyball games. It was frustrating, disheartening, and even when I landed myself a pair of coveted Nike Air tennis shoes the rest of me didn’t match the expense.
To this day, as an adult, my origins are as engraved into my appearance and psyche as a battle scar. I have the college degree, earned after 5 years of cloistering myself in a 10×8 dorm room and studying as though my life depended on it. Back then I thought it did. I thought that if I immersed myself in academia I would bleach out my past and be reborn a smart, chic, intelligent woman of the times with high heels clicking down the hallway to success.
The truth is, I never used that degree that I gave up 5 years of my life and a huge chunk of my parents savings for. Instead I work sometimes multiple jobs to make ends meet and while my main source of income comes from an office in which I click around in those proverbial high heels, I am not treading the hallway to success. I am inherently reminded of my place. Sometimes you just have to play by those rules, and then get a backbone and make your own because you know you are better, deserve better.
I’m still that awkward kid in second hand clothes deep down. Yes I dress the part and try to appear chic and put together as the girl in my last post called me. But, I look down at my hands and see dirt under the nails from cleaning barns so I scrub and paint my nails only to noticed how chapped and unsightly my hands are from the cleaning solutions I use. My clothes look cheap and shabby next to the women I see while running errands in their expensive wool coats and Italian leather boots. The silk purse and sows ear adage suits and I duck my head in shame.
I have allowed this false sense of insecurity, yes insecurity, ruin relationships. I feel every relationship is a competition and that the person I am with could do much better than me. I have dismorphia when it comes to my beauty and my value as a partner. Or, I enter into relationships with men who feed me crumbs and I pretend they are feasts. I have so much to give but feel that what I have is akin to giving someone a bag full of non perishables and no one wants things that last anymore. I’m too old fashioned, too much, not enough.
The girl I mentioned in my last post comes to mind and I get over myself very quickly. She was not ashamed of her eagerness to find a job, any job. Although she was shy, she made no attempt to belie her class in society and pretend to be something she wasn’t. She marched into our office alone, unashamed, grateful just to have an ear to listen to her story. And, everyday her wooden spoon was judged and scorned by the silver spoons but that didn’t stop her.
So I tell myself, you are more than just a clothes rack. You are the daughter of people who had nothing but gave you everything you needed to survive on your own. You can hunt, fish, can fruits and vegetables, sew, take on jobs that no one wants, and you have eyes that see not faces but hearts and souls.
Class, money, spoons, they mean nothing in the end. I will take my wooden spoon over privilege any day of the week and I will light that sucker on fire so that others have a light to see just how valuable they are as well!