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13 things growing up in poverty taught me

1. Never pity yourself. Ever. There is always someone who has it worse than you, no matter how bad it seems relatively. Self pity is whiny and counter productive, and also rude for not thinking of what you are blessed with compared to some others in the world, so stop doing it.

2. Pennies add up. When birthday money pays for tolietries for the year, you learn budgeting early. You may want that 5 dollar dove shampoo now, but you better settle for Suave if you want shampoo in 7 months.

3. You are responsible for your own success or failure, nobody else. Poverty can make it tough, but it teaches you that you start determining your life trajectory with your high school grades. High school leads to college leads to your future, and without monetary support from parents, you know every step of the way is on you, no one else.

4. Poor people are the most fun. Albiet at times with crazy conspiracy theories, they know how to let loose and be crass. Sure your Uncle's knee high moccasins, wolf shirt, and du-rag emsemble used to embarrass you in high school, but when you grow up you learn to solidly appreciate people that just don't give a shit, especially after you've seen the other side of the coin: pretentiousness.

5. Never touch drugs. Growing up poor, you see the toll drugs had on close family and friends, and you probably lived by the motto of 'never being x, y, or z' person. As opposed to the weathy suburbanites who only saw the short term benefits of the drugs they were doing, you refused because you have seen those drugs 30 years later tear families apart.

6. Fuck people who cat call you and stare you down. Politeness is not for the guy in the truck who slowed down to a near stop and stared you down without saying a word.

7. Most gang graffiti (at least in our area) is made by kids in high school who think they are cool by affiliating with it. Its less scary and more of a nuisance.

8. Laundromats are a happenin place for drug deals for some reason.

9. Keep a stock of potatoes and rice. It may not be appetizing, but its cheap and keeps well.

10. Make fun of yourself. No one can beat you down if you don't take it seriously. Always be ready to make fun of yourself first, especially before poking fun at others. Besides, no one is that important to get offended at some light jabs anyways.

11. Work hard and do what you're told.

12. No matter how much you have, always give. You recognize how much that $50 dollar wal-mart gift card means to the lady at the Housing office, and so you give it to her.

13. There's nothing like family; they're your struggle buddies and no one can take the place of that shared experience.


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