Here’s a disclaimer. I think I’m about to sound like a real Scrooge, and I don’t mean to harsh anyone’s cheer, but I’ve got a lot on my mind that putting into a diary just ain’t helping me get my shit in the right frame of mind. And I know I’ve been whiny lately here, too. And I think one of my new year’s resolutions, which I may just revamp in the spirit of New Year’s (what was I thinking doing all of that six weeks ago??) is to work on the positivity here.
And this post may go poof, too, because I fear I really do sound classist. But it’s really more about how judgmental the following people are toward those who do not make the same decisions they did.
There’s a lot of stuff sticking under my craw right now. And this has nothing to do with anyone with whom I’m FB friends who actually read this blog. Mostly it’s to do with my sister in law, my brother, and my cousin and a friend of mine from Home City. And I’m afraid that this is going to make me sound classless, classist, and frankly like a big fat bitch, but here it goes because the judgmentalness of these people bother me and it breaks my heart when there are actually REAL families in need. And I have NOTHING against living off Hamburger Helper (though I think one can make a better meal, on average, for roughly the same price) and I have NOTHING against buying clothes at a thrift store. The J has incredible luck at thrift stores. Me, not so much. This is not my point.
Look, I think there’s a HUGE difference between being “poor” and being just “broke.” I think one can be less than affluent, in the lower middle class, but still not “poor.” And this is what pisses me off because there are legitimately poor people out there, all year long, not just during the holidays, who have few resources to even get themselves out of their situations. And I think the most tragic of this group are the working poor because I think ironically, if they’re working, they have less support because they’re making money and beyond the scope of a lot of help.
To my Sister In Law, my Brother, and my PITA Drama Queen Diva Cousin: You are NOT poor if you own your own home, keep up with the mortgage and own at least one car. In the case of my SIL and bro–you own two cars and you have a scooter that someone left to you. And your parents buy most of your kids’ shit. You may only make $50K combined a year, but you are not freaking poor. You just don’t have a lot of disposable income. There’s a big difference. But we all know that you have a ton in savings for yourself because you insist that you are “poor” and make your parents take care of your kids. That’s not poor–that’s just selfish, imho. And your Christmas gift expectations are ridiculous. You expect us to spend hundreds of dollars on you and your children and you dole out “family” gifts that are $5 gift cards to starbucks. And we’re cheap if we do the same–the “oh, that’s it? Um, thanks?” comment is not cool.
To my cousin: You own a freaking house with a goddamn pool! And a Ford Expedition! And you drive that Expedition around a majorly congested Texas city. You are not fucking poor. You just seem to have made some poor choices, but if you are not having trouble making your mortgage payment, feeding your kids or gassing your car (indeed if your only complaint is that you can’t get two cars and you want another car because it’s more convenient to your lifestyle), then you’re not poor. You’re not poor because you choose to feed your kids Hamburger Helper (which she claimed she feeds them that because she can’t afford to buy filet mignon for dinner, a ridiculous comparison because really, who the fuck buys filet mignon for a regular weekly meal for their kids??). Actually, you could save money by NOT buying Hamburger Helper and other boxed processed foods that are bad for you anyway.
And to my dear friend–please don’t complain on FB about how you have no money to buy your kids the latest things so their friends will think they are cool and then turn around and drop over $300 on a brand new iPhone (so you can be cool) when there’s nothing wrong with the phone you have just because you can have an upgrade. And then refer to your giant Christmas tree as a “Charlie Brown tree.” No. You are not poor. You make poor decisions.
And I’m not saying I’m any better. But here’s the thing–don’t fucking judge me because those aren’t MY decisions. Sure, I’ve made a lot of poor decisions in my life. I have destroyed my credit and we’ve done some stupid shit in the last few months and our savings have dramatically dwindled and I won’t get a paycheck between June and September and the J is still unemployed and we’re struggling, but it would be an insult to poor people if I referred to myself as poor. We’re just broke and borderline stupid. And we’ve done some stupid shit. But the fact that we own two cars, one new, dear cousin, doesn’t make us “rich” or better than you–it means we have two sensible sized vehicles, appropriate to our needs and to where we live. And I have every fucking right to be excited about that car without you passing judgement and the “oh it must be nice…” comment. It’s not like I bought a fucking Audi for crying out loud, and if I did? Bite me. And you know what, I don’t actually care that all your kids’ clothes come from thrift stores or are hand me downs. And neither does any body else. Besides you home school your kids, so what other kids are going to make fun of them? (which is one of her complaints). But don’t judge me because that’s not where I shop. And my SIL and Bro are the same way. I hate the “oh, must be nice…” comments. This really is the thing that gets to me. Their self-righteousness. And I think it’s insulting to people who actually are in need–to those who can’t even get a clunker, who don’t own their homes and can barely pay rent, who need government assistance to feed their kids (I can’t imagine how demoralizing that must feel–not that it’s a bad thing AT ALL), what it must be like to not even be able to provide the basics, to be without insurance. It’s not a “hard candy Christmas” if it’s that you’re only spending $1000 rather than $3000. And then complain about how everyone else’s Christmas will be better and “oh, it must be nice…”
And it’s my fault that it’s letting me ruin my Christmas spirit. And I’m sorry for spreading the negativity, but why does it have to be about stuff?? It should be a time of cheer and niceness and being with family and friends, and loving your life even if it’s not what you want it to be and hope. And that doesn’t even have to be religious either. Even spending Christmas alone doesn’t have to be depressing either. I’ve done it many times, so I’m not just talking out of my ass here.
I don’t care if you complain that you can’t do what you want, buy what you want, lament not being able to do more for your kids or yourself or whatever. That’s fine. I wish I could have picked out something extravagant for Christmas for the J to get me. I wish he could get me the Xbox Connect so I can play that Black Eyed Peas dance game. I so wish we could get a t.v. for the bedroom and another for the guest room with a Blu-Ray player so I can turn that room into a workout room. Sure, it’s not fair that the J doesn’t have a job and maybe if he did, I could get all of this stuff. I wish I could go get my hair done for Christmas. And I really want a giant fucking gift card to Banana Republic and Williams Sonoma and Origins so I can go shopping. I so wish all of these things were possible. I wish I could get the J something really cool and expensive. I wish I could buy bookshelves. I wish I wouldn’t have had to use my bday money for groceries. And if you end up with an Xbox Connect and the Black Eyed Peas game, I will be jealous and will come over and play, but I would never throw the “it must be nice comment” at you. And if I do, please respond with “you know what, it sure fucking is! Fuck off!” Because all of those things would be really nice. But it’s stuff. It’s cliche’, but I’d rather that the J is here with me than in Afghanistan than have an Xbox. Seriously. And I don’t even have any presents under the tree (the J sent them to Home City accidentally because he didn’t switch the billing address), but that doesn’t ruin Christmas. I just don’t get the who Christmas is an excuse to get a bunch of crap you don’t need. (My sister is bordering on this, too. Nobody gives a fuck that you can’t spend a stupid amount of money on gifts. Seriously–well, except my bro and SIL.)
So do I sound like a total bitch? I will post some Christmas cheer here soon.