Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why white trash has nothing to do with money

Being a white trash woman has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with money and everything to do with life choices.

I could be a millionaire, and it wouldn't change the things I've done. I've come to learn the truth about white trash, and that truth is, that most people have things in their past that could give them white trash status.
Mind you, there are plenty of outward signs of white trash that lend itself to the stereotype. But I'm not talking about those. As was pointed out in a comment to my prior post, I don't have kids that think that underwear is normal all day everyday go anywhere apparel. Also, Jeff Foxworthy's '...redneck' comments and observations lend itself heartily to the stereotype.

I do believe that white trash implies a certain disregard of the rules of ettiquette & mores of general society. It has also been pointed out to me recently, that you may not know what those are depending on how you are raised.
So it occurred to me that it may not be so much what you do, but whom you do it around. Maybe. See, in the family that I grew up around, I am most definately, without doubt or reservation; White Trash (capitalized white trash, in case you missed that part)! However, in my husband's family, I am most decidedly NOT white trash, in fact, some of my day to day behavior lends to the belief that I can be quite hoity-toity.

I love my husband's family for a fair number of things. Most of all, because they are without pretense. What you see is what you get, hell be damned if you don't like it. To them I'm not trash, I've merely made some bad decisions, and who the hell hasn't? I've got a good heart, and for all my 'uptown' ways, that's all that matters to them.

My family, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is all about the manners & the appearance and for the most part, are the most protencious bunch of people I know. They have beautiful warm hearts, they're just burried under 3 feet of ettiquitte, strict morals, and judgement of others. Poor decisions are not looked upon very kindly, espically when the general belief is contrary to that action. If it looks bad enough, it is punishable by disownment.

Example for you... I was living with my ex-husband, who made good money, and our daughter. We bought a new home, had nice furniture & drove pretty decent cars. I worked for the state and my income was gravy. My daughter had all kinds of toys and a nice yard to play in. Yes, it looked good, nearly great. But what was hidden on the inside was a verbally & physically abusive marriage fueled by alcohol & drugs. And yet, even as the cracks showed to my family, they approved, were good to us and were in very regular contact with our little piece of good looking hell.

Well, I finally left that marriage and after a few short months, I met my second husband. I was separated but not divorced when I gave up my job and came with him to Texas. We were pregnant almost immediately, and together with our son on the way, we moved into his inherited single wide trailer 5 miles from the nearest town. I no longer work outside the home, it is normal to go outside to the porch and see chickens in the yard and cows over the back fence. My current husband makes a fraction of what my ex-husband used to make. We have one car, a little gas sipper that he commutes with and we all squeeze into on family outtings. And on the inside? We have a healthy relationship of mutual respect and love. We don't drink or do any drugs and we raise our son in love instead of the shouting & punching matches that my daughter had to witness. But it looks poor and amoral from the family viewpoint that I was running off with a new man & having his baby while the divorce from my ex-husband wasn't final. I've been all but disowned.

I've seen both sides. I've lived them both with all that is in me. I was raised with manners and attention to the morals that our family adhered to, so I can understand all about, "how it looks".

That is why I know full well that dirt-poor and white trash have nothing to do with one another unless you let them; or unless you have been surrounded by judgemental people your whole life.

And, that is also why I'll be happy to be considered White Trash by my family for the rest of my life; cause I no longer give a damn about how it looks over the reality of what goes on behind the scenes...and I'm still waitin on my lotto ticket to hit--so I can get a bigger ashtray.

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