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Friday, October 12, 2012

Simple Words Can Have a Profound Impact

"Beggars can't be choosers."  It is just a simple phrase.  I don't know where it originated, but I am sure it is probably older than dirt.  Four simple words, strung together causally by someone who had never known what it was like to have to suffer deprivation.  Carried forward by generation after generation of privileged people to ease their own conscious' for having more than they need perhaps.

These words played a major role in shaping the person I am today.  But not in the way that they were probably intended.  No, it was actually the exact opposite effect as the one that I am sure had been intended.  

My Mother and I were in the kitchen, I was probably 11 or 12 at the time, and she was going through the cupboards to fill a bag for a local food drive.  I watched as she took can after can out of the cupboards of crap that no one in our family would ever have eaten and put them in the bag.  She filled that bag with Spam, and Lima beans,  and all sorts of other  assorted disgusting things.  Not one single thing went in that bag that any one in our family would actually eat.  When I asked her why she didn't put anything good in the bag, those were the words she used to explain it to me.  "Beggars can't be choosers."  

And when I asked why we had those things in out cupboards in the first place since no one would eat them, she never would admit that she only bought them in the first place to give them to the less fortunate.  The entire experience shook me to my core.  I know the message she was trying to impart to me was that it was bad to be poor, but that was not the one I heard.  What I heard was the sick, self-entitled, bigotry that I would come to build my entire existence around fighting against!

I was truly ashamed of my Mother that day, and I vowed to myself that I would NEVER become like her and the rest of my family.  This is why I chose to live my life in "poverty", rather than striving for riches, because that is what they do.  I judge the value of a person by the content of their character, not their pocketbook, because my family cares only for the later.  Every conscious decision I have ever made in my life was made on the basis of whether or not they would do the same thing.  If the answer was no, I probably said yes, and if their answer was yes, I was generally found screaming NO as I was running in the opposite direction.

If I am crazy for wanting to be Nothing like them, then I am thrilled to be crazy.  I would choose crazy over cruel any day, and that was the choice they gave me.  That is how I saw it then, and that is how I still see it today.  They are the ones who claim to be "Christians" while they worship at the altar of the almighty dollar, denigrating and demeaning anyone who does not choose to live and believe as they say they should.  I want no part of their sick and twisted world view, I find it reprehensible and disgusting beyond words, and if that makes me crazy, then I am fucking thrilled to be the craziest person in the whole damn world!                  

1 comment:

  1. i couldnt agree more...too many generations have been raised as good "Christians", but without apathy, compassion and love for your fellow man.. its sad, really. So, good for you. You are a true lady!