Odd title, yeah? Well, I reckon it’s gonna be an odd post so it seems fitting. In any event, let’s get on with it.
So yeah, I grew up a poor white kid. I’ll prolly lay on some more detail with that in a later post, but I’ll go ahead and get some basics outta they way here first. I spent the early part of my life- first 15 years or so- in Colorado. We lived near the very edge of the Denver City line, not in the downtown area, but not Suburbia either, kinda out there off I-70. Like a block from the highway. Not much out there at the time really…some houses, a couple factories, things of that nature. We did have trees though, old ones even! Anyway, we lived the four of us in tiny ranch style house, 2 bedrooms, one bath, living area, kitchen. That was pretty much it…and bars over the windows. No AC, which believe it or not, it does get hot in Colorado, and heat that worked sometimes. Electricity paid sometimes. No fire place. I know the unfathomable joy of government cheese. Clothes that did not fit right cause they had belonged to my older brother- whom I shared a room with- first. My uncles often had them before him. Sharing a room was never one of those things I thought of as kinda odd until later. Privacy is one of those things folk who do not have much in the way of money do without, and get used to. Oh, and plastic bags rubber-banded over your tennis shoes in winter, because actual boots are not things you had. We went to the doctor for yearly school mandated check-ups that the school charity programs helped foot the bill for otherwise something had to be obviously broken, you were bleeding profusely, or you were spikin’ one hell of a fever. I broke 8 fingers that were never set and remain crooked to this day, and I was 17 the first time I ever saw a dentist. Medical Emergency meant just that. So yeah, there are some basics. Thing was, in my neighborhood, all the kids were like that, and we all knew the same drill. You carried around extra rubber bands in case your friends broke mid snowball fight, and you expected if you were over at a neighbors house, you might be leaving your coat on because it was likely they might not have heat either. It’s just how it was…and we all knew it. We all, in my neighborhood, knew that Mr. Kowalski, who lived across the street from me, had an ex-wife who never came around, a new wife who was about the same age as his oldest daughter and did not ever seem to come outside, and when she did, she had sunglasses on even when there was no sun. His dogs were mean, and when he was really lit, he’d fire guns in the air. We all knew that the lot down by the highway overpass was a good place to toss around a football, but you were gonna risk broken glass and other kinds of trash and debris to play there. Hell, most of our first exposure to condoms was kicking used ones out of our lot. And as it was, all of us, the kids in that neighborhood, we accepted that’s all there was and for a time, none of us knew any better…and we were, looking back on it, probably pretty content. We had fun. We did things like normal kids do; built forts, played games, explored drainage ditches we were told to stay out of, set off M-80 fireworks and managed to keep all our fingers, talked about the Local Sports Teams, had snowball fights, even had birthday parties where presents like coloring books and matchbox cars and things of that nature were a big fuckin’ deal. Most of us knew what it was like to have one or more unemployed or seemingly always looking for work parents, and at least one relative who was doing time for something. And yep, sure enough, all the kids in my neighborhood were white kids. We also fought, the girls and the boys alike. Someone disrespected someone else’s parents or family? Yep, fists would fly. Someone picked on someone else’s siblings? There was a kick coming for them. Someone chanted or jeered at you? You answered that with a punch. It didn’t happen often, but it happened enough that unwritten rules of conduct were written amid us, rules we’d prolly picked up from parents who would do the same, and that was the way of our world…and not a single one of us figured anyone else’s world was much different. Until we went to school that is. Then we all learned the world, that big bag huge wide place past the highway and our neighborhood, was a vastly different and not everyone lived like we did or by the same unwritten rules. When the school day ended and we came home, it was game on, life as usual, but there was not a single one of us who returned home with the impression that our world was the whole of the world, and we all learned quickly that kids like us, with families like ours? Well, we weren’t looked too highly upon, not at all, and any expectations of us? Well, they were pretty bad.
And I will admit, without much shame and without much pride, I lived up to those bad expectations. My brother? In those days he was without a doubt the tough one, but in a non-traditional sense. People made fun of him for certain, but rather than fall to the bait, he made good grades, developed an amazing wit and sense of humor, and managed to be everyone’s friend. And for a guy who, at the time, was the short, fat kid with a bad limp from a dog attack and hand me downs and rubber bands around his tennis shoes, this was no small feat. Me? I kinda went the other way. I got in fights, I flunked classes, I got suspended, I did not make friends. I got told I would be dead, a junkie, or in prison by the time I was seventeen. And once told that, by a teacher no less…I sorta did my damnedest to live up to such low expectations. Hell, the other girls got told they would get knocked up and be married to a dude who kicked the snot out of ‘em by seventeen. I did not rate that prediction. I rated true low life, and well, if enough people tell you something, you start to believe. I was out and away from the strange but comfortable coccon of my neighborhood, and well, white kids in Denver at the time, especially white girls? We don’t rate gangs, unless they are Neo-Nazi ones (which, uh, no). I saw how other people lived, what they had, and learned really, really early on what they thought of people like me, how they treated us, and what expectations they had of us, so I decided long about second grade, if folk were gonna think the worst of me…I might as well give them reason. And I sort of did. Thing that was funny was, well, I did not suck at sports. I may have gotten in fights every other day (I did make the mistake of popping a girl who made fun of my clothes straight in the mouth, never knowing she was the daughter of my schools Vice Principal), and I may have barely managed a D in any subject other than Gym or Art…but yeah, I did good at sports- which cut me a lot of slack, even as a white female, and I admit that. But that sorta thing? That’s a double edged sword. A whole lotta people have asked me over the years how I could stand using my body, like in the sex industry sense, to make a living. My answer? Hell, I been using it since I was 8 in one form or another to get by- from school sports to sucker punches to stripping…it’s been my way. But unlike my tougher in a non-traditional sense older brother, whom I kicked asses for and he made me laugh when I thought I had forgotten how to…that realization, that me, my family, my life, my neighborhood, was vastly different from the rest of the world and the way people viewed us was bad? That had a very, very profound effect on me. He rolled with it and shrugged. Me? I got mad. Very, very mad.
So, as fate would have it, and for reasons I ain’t gettin’ into here, me and my family? We ended up moving to FL. Much bigger house, first one my folks ever owned, bought real cheap because the previous owners? Double murder suicide. The room that would be mine was the one where the suicide happened….dude offed his wife and sister in law in the guest bedroom then did himself in by the closet of my room. And we got to clean that shit up. That sorta…does something to you, I think. But for me, FL was a new start; new not quite so trashy neighborhood, nicer (once it was “fixed up”, in countless ways) house, more multi-cultural, all that…and I was pissed off and mad about it. I actually, since it was a new start, and people did not know how it had been, started to work in school. Got better grades. Made friends. Fought less. Made it to seventeen without being dead, a junkie, or in prison. Or even knocked up and married to a wife beater. But I still had a lot of hate, a hate on for people who disdained people who came up like me, just because. I still didn’t have money, a car, the right clothes, (a dentist), and all that shit other people had. Add that to plain old teenage angst and bullshit? Uhh, yeah….So sure enough, I did some crazy shit…went places I shouldn’t have, hung out with people I shouldn’t have, did shit I shouldn’t have….because as truth had it, I did not give a shit about anything other than proving “those people” wrong, or right depending on my often fluxing teenaged moods . I had a 4.0 by age 16, I also felt no compunction about breaking already crooked fingers on someones face for calling me various names, white trash among them. And then I noticed something….
The rich kids? The really rich kids in my school? They were JUST as fucked up as us poor kids were. They had more shit, and could afford better drugs, and could do crazier things like jet to the islands for spring break, but they were JUST as off, for different reasons, as myself and other kids like me were. The girls weren’t as overtly violent or hostile, but they still wanted to die, a little bit. They’d get drunk and drugged up and do anyone who looked at ‘em like they were pretty. They’d puke to stay skinny. They’d cut themselves up so daddy would pay attention. They’d fuck bad boys so Mommy would notice them and tell ‘em they deserved better. They’d crash their sweet 16 BMW’s because they had no appreciation for work. They’d pick fights with girls like me, and they’d pick fights with boys like me and expect whoever had fucked them last would step in to save them. Which, I will say, having been in a row or twelve in my time with males, I never once believed, and still don’t today, that if you raise your fist in anger to a male that he won’t hit you back. Me and mine, we felt like we had to fight and fuck up because, well, we had to or were destined too…I never got why they felt that had to. I mean, after all, every time they did, the expensive lawyer or expensive rehab place or whatever would sweep in and save ‘em. Johnny with Cash got a DUI at 19? It never fucked up his chance for college. Danny with the Cash date raped a girl at 16? Same story. Seventeen year old Debbie with the High Income Parents? She could be shooting smack between her toes and hit the nice facility and she was “at an elite modeling camp”, Tara , at 18, with the trust fund who got knocked up? She had received early admission to college! The rules were different…but these rich kids had a hate on too. They hated being…bored. They hated being….saved. Shit they had been able to count on, shit I would have loved to have, they hated. And shit that I had…the friends in low places and crooked fingers, teeth and grit? They wanted. But most of all, a lot of em? They seemed to envy my drive, drive that I had because I had it, and not because my parents TOLD me I’d have it. And I envied them cause when they went home, they knew there would be food on the table and the power would be on and if they got sick, they would be able to go to a doctor. And well, when they felt like slumming, I was good enough, but otherwise? Well, I never once got invited to the big nice house or birthday party of a fellow girl jock I told was pretty and she did not need to puke to be that way and her boyfriend was an ass for hitting her and I’d arrange (and did) to have his ass kicked. Chips are down? You went to kids like me. Life was good, we did not exist. Hell, I got the distinct honor of being the girl guys dated not because I would put out, but because *I* would piss off their parents….
But sure enough, that odd drive of mine sent me to college. I was, in my family, the Great White (trash) Hope. Finished High School with the 4.0, the scholarship, the whole fuckin’ shit, right down to the bad teeth and crooked fingers. First one of my Entire Family to Make it to the Four Year Show, with honors. And that is where I really saw it…rich kids with everything who wanted oblivion, and they all managed to find kids like me who had kissed oblivion and had its phone number. Drugs, Booze, Sex, Low life folk, they wanted it all….they wanted the dirt. And a lot of them, they didn’t care if it killed them. They’d fight, they’d get alcohol poisoning, they’d O.D. and fuck anyone and they always knew Someone Would Save Them. But I honestly think, half the time they didn’t want anyone to. They’d think it was cool that I HAD to work two jobs they’d NEVER do, stripping and painting the outside of houses, and sometimes a third, takin’ tickets at the local movie theater, just to put a dent in my bills. It was…edgy. The fact I took speed to get shit done 22 hours a day and they took it for fun and I knew where to get it….that showed me a whole lot…
Kids like me? We wanted to die a little bit because hey, it would make shit easier. Less financial strain on our families, less pain, less being used and mocked and treated like circus freaks and oh so convenient. Odd enough, most of us are too mean, hard, broken and yep, determined to die. Bored American Nobility? Hell, they wanted to die because they were….bored. And their rat race is way worse and its one not any of ‘em, male or female, can ever win. I may envy them to this day for some shit…but I also kinda pity ’em for that. And odd enough? Poor kids can’t ever trust anyone cause they never know who is real and merely likes them for them. Rich kids? Same thing. And that is enough to make anyone want to die a little bit.
But if you bet for one fuckin’ second I have ever forgotten who I am, what I have seen, what I have lived, what I know, and who I am? You better be ready to pass over a pair of snake skin boots. After all, I lived, even if I did wanna die, just a little bit. But you know, I swore to myself, after my second grade teacher told me I’d be a junkie, dead, or in prison, that after I got that goddamn degree I was gonna go back to Denver, find her, and put her in the ER after I showed her the piece of paper. I didn’t. And not just because I fear prison, but because I am a better person than that. She might have even deserved it…but maybe she too, just wanted to die a little bit.