In the comments section of my last post, On Being Poor and Why It Really Sucks, Part 1, someone asked this:
So where’s the ‘donate’ button
I really appreciate people being interested in helping me (which I’ve experienced a lot of within the secular community; it seems to be full of kind, generous people, even if there are a few assholes). But this does bring me to my next sucky thing about being poor: accepting help.
Another thing that really sucks about being poor is accepting help when you need it. I grew up in modern American culture, which tells people that everyone can become rich, if only they try hard enough. So when you come to a point in your life where you’re barely even surviving, it’s hard not to blame yourself. I know I do. Any time people offer me help, specifically financial help, I have an overwhelming sense of failure. I’m very aware how stupid and unreasonable it is to feel that way, but when you’ve been feed the “bootstraps theory” (aka: pull yourself up by your bootstraps) your whole life, it’s hard not to internalize it. I even have a hard time with friends buying me a snack (there have been more than a few times that I was very hungry because I’d been away from my apartment all day but didn’t have the money to buy anything and a friend offered to buy me a snack only to have me turn the offer down).
Despite my feeling of failure, I’m beginning to learn to accept help when I need it. I’ve know for a long time that “anyone can become rich in America” is a myth, and others have begun to realize this too (as illustrated not too long ago by the 99% movement). I feel like I’ve come a long way on this issue of mine in a short time. I’ve even added a “donate” button to this blog (as you can see in the sidebar). But it’ll take more time for me to unlearn some of the things ingrained in me by a lifetime of being poor (even if it’s been a short lifetime so far). And until these things stop being a problem, I’ll keep talking about them