having little or no money, goods, or other means of support:
a poor family living on welfare.
Law. dependent upon charity or public support.
As I’m doing some Back to School shopping at the Salvation Army I find myself in a conversation with an older Black man who after seeing me pull my wallet out to pay for my items says, “I wish I had seen you pull your wallet out before I went to the car to get my money. He’s joking of course, but I tell him, “Nope. You did the right thing by going to get your own money.” We laugh.
A few moments later as I am paying with my debit card in a separate check out lane, he says to me, “I knew I should of had you pay for my stuff!” He’s still joking, but I’m wondering why he’s obsessed with me and this particular joke. I don’t give a damn if we are at the Salvation Army, you can pay for your own shit. I tell him, “I only spent $14. We’re both shopping here so we must be in the same situation.” “What situation is that?” he asks. I reply, “We’re poor.”
That’s when he got even louder. “Oh no! I’m not claiming that! I’m not poor.” I started to tune him out and by this time I was on my way out the store. He’s still going on and on and as I am walking out, I say, “I am poor. It’s the truth and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
I understand his attitude, but I think it stinks and it’s stupid. I hear it all the time – “Stop claiming that you’re poor.” Why? I AM poor! As if saying I’m poor is why I’m poor or as if I start saying I’m rich that my bank account will magically swell up.
I am poor.
I think the real issue is that when people think of poor, they only think of people like this:
No, sweetie. Poor people look like me too! Many of us look like we have our shit together. We are the “working poor”.
Besides, why else would I be shopping at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill or other various consignment stores if I could afford new clothes? Granted, even if I was living comfortably I would still shop at these places, but not as often as I do now.
I’m one of many. There are millions of poor people in America and all over the world. I don’t know about anyone else, but it was not my dream to grow up and struggle for a living. However, I will not let the stigma of the word “poor” make me feel ashamed of my current situation.
This week as I was preparing to take my daughter to the dentist, my car would not start. My car, a ’97 Ford Escort, has been giving me the blues for many years by way of draining my wallet of any extra money. I am currently unable to get it up and running which means I cannot work outside of the home at my job as an HIV Testing Counselor and Community Health Advocate for Wellness AIDS Services.
I have created a Go Fund Me campaign and I am asking anyone who is capable or inspired to do so to please donate. Click the highlighted words below for more info. Thanks!