money

money

eye of providence, eva ekeblad

Money is another part of my culture that I never talk about in society. Most would not know that when my parents got divorced, my father made my mother homeless. She remained homeless for one year. I often had to give her money so she could pay rent. My friends all assume my life is perfect.

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I felt some of the questions in the “could you survive” activity were a bit too personal, especially questions in the lower class section asking if I could survive without electricity or a phone. My family went through this for years. It brought up painful and depressing memories for me personally. I don’t want to go into the details of what we had to do, but I can imagine thinking two things: how would those that were in upper class be able to adapt to those living conditions and what other people in my situation had to endure. I don’t believe that I could explain the same feelings to those of my friends who have families from middle to upper class.

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I do not come from money by any means. My parents are struggling just to keep their heads above water with my mom working two jobs and my father not being able to find work. Thus everything that I am doing with school, joining Greek life, living costs, and all other expenses, must be financed out of my own pocket without the help of others. This is something that a lot of my friends are not able to understand. Since they have their parents paying for their schooling, rent, and everything else, they do not know what it is to have a job and balance working the hours that I do with everything else. On the flip side I struggle to understand those people that are privileged and come from money. Since they have their parents paying for their schooling, rent, and everything else, they do not know what it is to have a job and balance working the hours that I do with everything else.

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The strong work ethic that has been stressed to me so frequently while growing up is very important to me culturally. Since I was young, I was taught that hard work and individual accountability will help me get to where I want to be. Since I was of age to get a job, I have always had at least one, but more commonly two, jobs at all times. Building a strong work history and leaving positive impressions wherever I work have been core values since I started working, largely because my mother taught me by example.

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I come from a town that is generally upper-middle class. It is where I lived my whole life and it is all I have ever known upon coming to school here. Sometimes, I feel ashamed and embarrassed that I am from this town. It is a large town that has a reputation for being filled with white, stuck-up, rich people. Although that reputation is a bit over exaggerated, it is true that the suburb is upper-middle class and not very diversified. Consequently, when people ask me where I am from, I feel reluctant to say the name of the town. I do not want people to judge me and assume that I am also just a white, privileged, and sheltered person. I do not fit that stereotype. It was important for me to move to Madison and try to get away from that. Ultimately, it is hard for me to say where I am from or invite people to my house because I do not want to be judged. I am my own person regardless of where I grew up.

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