Writing the Self 4: Pity

Jaycee and I were best friends for only a little while before she invited me over to her house. It was huge, and obviously incredibly expensive. Her mother owned her own company, and her stepfather came from a wealthy family. I had been intimidated nearly instantly, since I had never experienced a house that big. At that moment, I felt like Annie when she first was in Mr. Warbuck’s house. The excitement fell flat after about an hour of seeing all of their possessions. A huge kitchen, a living room full with expensive furniture, and a television in every bedroom. Jaycee, who was twelve at the time, had one of the first iPhone generations there was. At twelve, I didn’t even have my own bedroom. I went home terribly sorry for myself.

 

My dad was rarely home. He worked out at the Mosaic potash plant to keep a roof over our heads. With four kids all under the age of fourteen, we were growing children who needed a lot of food. My grandmother also lived with us, and her health problems inhibited her from getting a job to help out or even leave her bedroom. My mother had a not-so-well paying job as a front desk clerk, often working nights as children we had to fend for ourselves during meal times. Kraft Dinner, hot dogs, or even just a bowl of cereal would have done sufficiently. At the time, we couldn’t afford eating out or ordering in at all. Some weeks, we could barely afford to even put groceries in our cupboards.

 

I refused to let Jaycee to ever sleep over at my house, since I was embarrassed. My family was considered lower-middle class due to the fact that there were two working adults and four children, plus an elderly woman to take care of and next to no money to go around. When I finally agreed to let her sleep over, she didn’t say anything about the few possessions my family had. We had a wonderful time, watching a cheap movie we rented from Blockbuster and eating more popcorn than we could handle.

 

Today, I’ve started to feel that same pity I had for myself back then. I’m scraping by on money that the government gives me for student loans, rarely able to get through the month without running out of groceries. My boyfriend’s family has a huge home and each have their own iPads, computers, and recently just got back from a Disney cruise. Their mother has been on nearly twenty Disney cruises, and I’ve barely left the country. However, Max loves me for who I am, whether or not I have money.

 

Looking back on how I felt as a child and how I am now as an adult has made me realize that someone’s class doesn’t matter. I was fated by society to drop out of school and become a criminal, stealing food for myself to eat. Anybody can become anything they want, despite whether they were raised in the slums or in the richest neighbourhood. One day, society will wake up and see people for who they are, and not judge them by their class. I hope they do, at least.

3 thoughts on “Writing the Self 4: Pity

  1. Danielle, your story had very descriptive words and made it easy to picture your story in my mind. When you talked about Jaycee house I could imagine everything perfectly. I can only believe the terrible feeling you had realizing she had lived in this mansions while you didn’t have your own room at age 12. For your family a place like the Kinsmen Sportsplex would have been nice to go to because it was something your family could’ve done without it costing you any money. Reading your story made me think of the saying my dad would always tell me and that was ” You have to work hard for what you want, nothing will be handed to you.” Anyone with high or low class can work hard and be rewarded. Like you said “Anybody can become anything they want, despite whether they were raised in the slums or in the richest neighbourhood” Thank you for sharing your story!

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  2. Danielle, Your story was so detailed I could picture it so vividly in my head. When you mentioned in your story ” At twelve, I didn’t even have my own bedroom.” I could only imagine the thoughts running through your mind when you entered her house and seen the countless amount of expensive things she had when your family was struggling to put groceries in the cupboards some week. The connection I noticed was that Free Fridays were a place your family could have gone and enjoyed yourself without worrying about how much it would’ve cost you. I also agree with your closing paragraph about how “Anybody can become anything they want, despite whether they were raised in the slums or in the richest neighborhood.” As long as people work hard for what they want, no one should be judged based on their families class.

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