An extract from a new book acomin’:
Why I came out as being poor
How poor is that then?
I stared potential landlords down with a seven-year-old standing next to me and a baby on my hip, asking to apply for a tiny studio apartment I could barely afford……while I simultaneously worked as a maid, juggling 10 clients between going to class to put myself through college. ……
Yes, a single mother of two also going to college says it’s difficult.
Hmm, yes, suppose so. We never are quite told what her actual budget is after Snap, Section 8 (maybe?) EITC, childcare credits, various church help an so on. But I’ll guarantee you it’ll be well into the top 20% of global incomes, yea even adjusting for local prices.
This is rather fun though:
Eventually, I made my way out of poverty.
After I sank deep into debt to get a bachelor’s degree in English, I stubbornly held myself accountable to it. Maybe because I felt obtaining a higher education was a privilege I couldn’t afford, and that the debt affected not only my future, but my daughters’.
This hindsight made me work harder than ever, late into the night, from home and with a baby sleeping on my lap. Gone were the days of cleaning houses. I put my degree to as much work as possible as a freelance writer. Even if it meant filling content for a local events calendar, technically I was getting paid to write words. These gigs gradually grew into ones with paychecks bigger than I’d had in years. I carried myself like a professional, even stood a little taller.
The thought that you need and English degree to do hack* journalism. Sigh.
*Note that this is the English, not American, meaning of “hack.” Competent, able to turn a hand to most types of pieces, putting in copy to length, subject and on time. Not the American meaning of lying for money.