The Move

The majority of my life I’ve lived in a townhome/apartment complex. It didn’t bother me until one time on the school bus in 4th grade, a friend of mine pointed out how shocked he was of where I lived. I guess his shock came from how I dressed and how I acted didn’t match up with where I lived. Honestly I credit that to the fact that my parents raised us to be presentable at all times and made sure we exceeded the standards that were set before us. And granted the friend was young, but the way he said it, with a sense of disgust, shook me a bit and I was silent for the rest of the bus ride. Ever since that point, I understood the impact of living in a world based on socio-economic status. I understood what being in the ‘free lunch’ program reaaalllyyyy meant. I looked at clothes differently, toys, TV, friends, all of that. I became ashamed and really insecure of my economic status, even though it wasn’t bad at all. The shame carried on with me until I went to college…

…I met some of the most diverse people in college. All from differently socio-economic backgrounds. And what moved me is how proud they were of their backgrounds. What mattered to them was who they were as a person and how they can work to be better, and I was floored by that. About two years ago, I spoke about my shame to a room of about 75 people. Our meeting was on the topic of privilege and some people were upset of how society defines them based on certain factors in their lifestyle. I went on to explain my story and out of nowhere just broke down crying, in front of 75 people. I knew the shame was gone, but expressing it for the first time was like facing a pain you thought you’d never see again. It was like I suppressed the feeling for so long so it just hit me all at once. I was embarrassed but thankful for the support my friends gave me after the meeting. I even received several emails of others who have gone through the same thing. It was an awkward moment but very necessary in order for me to move on.

It’s been a week since we’ve moved into our first house and it’s been weird. Good weird, but still weird. It’s put a lot into perspective. For one, I’m extremely happy for my parents. This has been a part of their ‘American Dream’ and they’ve been wanting this for an extremely long time. Thinking about it, though, made me realize that the end result is not celebrated because it’s simply the end result. We celebrate the journey we endured to reach that end result. And that’s the beauty of it. As one of my favorite professors has always said, ‘It’s the hard that makes it great’.

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