Your perception of your identity is a crucial factor in your development as a human being. If you don’t know who you are, you are going to spend precious time trying to figure it out while you could be working towards your life’s dreams. I was born into the Lower Class in America and value this fact over everything. This part of my identity has molded me into the person I am, and I thank god that my life has unfolded the way it has. Whether it be the early aged responsibility I garnered from being poor, my rejection of modern day materialism, or the fact that as a result of my hardships I am now a highly driven and motivated individual, I am thankful for the different aspects of life I have encountered thanks to being born into the lower class.
In my own personal opinion, which could differ from person to person, I believe excessive materialism is one of the ultimate downfalls of humanity. Through the media and music, materialism is forced down our throat until we become infatuated with the idea. After this infatuation with materialism sets in to our mind, we as a people place so much value on money and what it could buy that it interferes with what is truly important in life. You can call me a psycho conspiracy theorist, but I also personally believe that the mass infliction of materialism through the media and music is a divertive tactic by the ruling elite in our country. If we as a people are placing all of our values on materialism, we are not paying attention to these crucial and corrupted times that we live in. Growing up in poverty, I learned to appreciate the essentials in life. I was never blinded by materialism and I am proud to say I will never be. In my youth, if I had a full stomach and a warm bed to sleep in, I was having a very lucky day. Growing up in homeless shelters while eating off of SNAP benefits disallowed me from placing all of my value on material objects. For one, I didn’t have cable television to rot my brain out, and for two, I couldn’t afford a radio to listen to musicians talk about money, cars, and women. I instead read books and made my own music. At this point in my life, I am quite happy with my second hand clothing and my rusty, 1993 Nissan Sentra.
The third way that being from the lower class has shaped my identity is the fact that throughout my struggles I have become a very driven and motivated person. Since first grade I understood that nothing was going to be handed to me, and that I’d have to work hard to achieve anything. I think this is crucial because in my short nine-teen years on Earth, I have seen countless examples of middle to upper class children growing up to be lazy young adults taking everything for granted. Their work ethic and drive is inferior due to the fact that their mothers and fathers granted their every wish. I’m not saying this is the case all the time, because that would make me stereotypical, but this type of scenario does happen. A real life example of my motivation is the story of a day when I promised my girlfriend I would get to her house to spend some time with her. Unfortunately she lived twenty miles and three towns away and neither I or my parents had a car. I wound up finding a bicycle and putting it on a RIPTA Bus’ bike rack as I took the bus across town. When I reached the end of the bus’ trip, I got off the bus and rode the bicycle the remaining 13 miles to my girlfriend’s house. At around 11 o clock that night when it was time for me to go home, I rode my bicycle the twenty miles back to my house. No matter how impossible the task seemed my motivation and my being resourceful led to me keep my promise. I am very sorry for the corny example, but I think it displays my drive and motivation as result of being a poor kid. In a middle to upper class family my mother or father would have simply driven me round trip to my girlfriends house, and I would not have had to work for what I wanted at all.
Obviously being bred into the lower class in America can have numerous downfalls, but I truly believe it’s not that bad. Without the different aspects of life I have explained I would not be the proud person I am today. I recognize that in other countries, their interpretation of lower class consists of no running water or electricity. It could also consist of plague infected civilizations where the adult’s children are destined to die young. I am glad to say that I am in check with my own personal identity and without the added responsibility and rejection of materialism along with my strong motivation to overcome my struggles, I would be an entirely different person. Throughout my escapades in the lowest social class in our beloved America, I took on a large amount of responsibility at a young age. Some people never grasp and encounter responsibility in life so I am thankful I have had my share already. Being the oldest sibling of two sisters piled the responsibility even higher on my shoulders, and at times it became pretty heavy. I admire how hard my parents tried during our struggles, but they did slack off and falter. When this happened I did everything I could to aid them in their duties. Since a young age I’ve always tried to make sure that my sisters had the essentials and I even try to give them words of advice. There also comes the times where I have to make sure they are at home and in bed at a reasonable hour because the city we live in is dangerous. It would kill me to see something tragic happen to either of these girls because I almost feel like a father figure. I am obviously met with an uproar of conflict on this matter because they are at the pubescent age of their lives. No matter how much they hate me because of this, I am still the one feeding them when they’re hungry while I’m trying to lead them in the right direction. This is a portion of the responsibility I face and I believe that this is setting me up to be a good man and father some day. Without being born into the lower class, I doubt this would have ever happened.