i remember in 4th grade when i tested into the gifted and talented program at our elementary school
it was something we all strived for, something everyone wanted, something you knew would give you a brighter future
i remember lying about my economic status when i first got to college.
inflating and exaggerating my parents positions
i clawed and i sacrificed and i worked my ass off and look
i “made it”
to the middle class.
i remember coming back to my 4th grade classroom for the first time, and being surprised at how it felt
i had imagined never looking back
i did not realize that that group of people would (quite easily) move on without me
i did not realize that i would no longer be a part of them.
my heart used to jump whenver i read “working class” “lower middle class” “poor white” etc because it was the feeling of someone knows we exist
my heart still jumps but then sinks quickly
i remember a dream i had 2 years ago
it was the first year i began being fully honest about what i came from, who we were.
i had a dream a woman i had never met from my home town had come to my school and was talking to me. i was expressing to her that we were from the same place, that we were the same
in my dream she said
"you may be from there but you aren’t one of us"
i remember talking to my mom a few weeks ago about my frustration with the lack of familiar communities in new orleans
no working whites, no white trash, nothing
i remember when she said
"yeah but if you walked by someone who looked just like you, you would never recognize them as one of us either.
You’re looking for something that doesn’t exist.”