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People Who Grew Up Poor Explain Which Things They Thought Were Completely Normal


People Who Grew Up Poor Explain Which Things They Thought Were Completely Normal

"People who grew up poor, what did you used to think was normal?" –– This was today's burning question from Redditor CharlesMuhDickens, and it's a doozy.

Growing up poor gives you a starkly different perspective on life than someone who grew up comfortably.

Whether it's wearing clothing that others would not (because it's second hand and cheaper) or not eating fresh vegetables (because they'd be too expensive), there are lots of things people get used to because they lack the means.

"For my school's spirit week..."

For my school's spirit week, they had a "thrift shop" day, where most everyone dressed in old ratty clothes, or the weirdest stuff they could find in a thrift shop. Needless to say, as someone whose clothes were 80% second hand, it was an eye opener.

"I was totally shocked..."

I was totally shocked when I learned that some people go out to eat more than once a year. Also when I learned there are people who don't skip meals.

"I remember being so happy..."

I was shocked to find out people eat out on a "regular" day, like not anyone's birthday or any other celebration. I remember being so happy when my mom rewarded me with fast food fried chicken meal for school achievements in elementary school. When I was in undergraduate, my sister told me my mom would skimp on their meals just to buy me those.

"Also now..."

Everyone in the house going into the kitchen to see what groceries were brought home and being so excited as if it was Christmas.

Also now that my family is doing a lot better then when i was growing up we find ourselves hoarding food (stocking up on canned goods, buying things in bulk on sale) as if we are waiting for those rainy days to hit again. Does anyone else experience this?

"My mind was blown."

As a kid I didn't know there were multiple settings on a water heater. I assumed everybody had to wait an hour or so after somebody uses the shower to get some hot water going.

I am embarrassed to admit that I recently found out about continuous flow of hot water 5 years ago (I was 25). I spent the weekend at my then future in laws house. The conversation went something like this:

Fiance: I'm going to shower before dinner. Me: But your brother just got out 5 minutes ago.

Fiance explains how they never run out of hot water. My mind was blown.

"I can't imagine..."

I never saw my parents because they worked so much. When I was in elementary school, we lived in an apartment above the bar they owned. My time with them was spent working in the kitchen, doing homework at the bar, and then walking upstairs to put myself to bed. We eventually moved and I was always alone. From Wednesday morning through Saturday, I would wake and walk to school, come home, make dinner, do homework, and go to bed with no contact from an adult. This continued throughout secondary school, from 6th through 12th grade. I was so incredibly lonely, but it was normal for me. I can't imagine how my world would have been different if they didn't need to work so much to scrape by.

Going on "vacation"...

Going on "vacation" to the local hotel in our hometown. We got to play in the pool and order delivery pizza (a rare treat) and we always had a blast.

"When I was about 15..."

When I was about 15, my family went from being dirt poor to...closer to stable but still under the poverty line. But, from 4-15, these were things my family did that I didn't realize were abnormal.

  • Not seeing my parents for 10-14 hours out of my day, because they were working as hard as they could manage.
  • Starting work at the age of 10, because my parents owned a business and couldn't afford employees.
  • Saving every last scrap of leftover food and using it to make something else.
  • Finding my friends' lives of cool toys and yearly vacations to be luxurious and fairy-tale-esque.

Now I'm living relatively comfortably, but man if these aren't still something I think about.

"I always got depressed..."

I remember going to university and my friends would complain about how their parents were "forcing" them to go to Cuba or Aruba on a family vacation. Hell even down to Florida or to see the Grand Canyon. I was always shook. Like wait people want to PAY for you to experience things and it's a problem?!!?!! I always got depressed listening to it.

"Whenever we went anywhere..."

I grew up thinking food was a scarcity. Whenever we went anywhere my mom would tell me and my sisters to not accept food from people. She didn't want our hunger to be someone else's burden. Now that I'm in college and go places (like my boyfriend's family's house) it's seen as rude to refuse food. My automatic response is to politely refuse even if I hadn't eaten all day. Even after years (and now being able to mostly get by by myself) it still sometimes feels like being hungry is a normal state. I sometimes still forget to eat, my stomach will tell me I'm hungry but because it was so ingrained in me that that hunger is normal I typically won't realize I'm hungry until I get a headache.


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