Growing Up South of the Mason Dixon

This prompt comes from The Daily Post. Each day they post a new prompt. It really helps get the creative juices flowing. Check them out for yourself. You might find just the inspiration you’ve been looking for.

Map of Mason Dixon Line

Growing up in Oklahoma was an experience I wouldn’t want to relive. You often hear people reminiscing on their childhoods and wishing they could go back. Not me. Not ever.

First I was the kid with “that family”. Then I was the “foster kid”. Last of all, I was “the orphan”.

Growing up for me wasn’t snow-cones and sunshine. There was little frolicking in the snow and building whimsical gingerbread houses. The better part of my childhood was spent merely trying to disappear or survive.

I was born to a mother who had an extreme drug problem and by the time I came along had already given birth to three children. I was her fourth. She was twenty-five. The children she had given life to before me were all being cared for by the state of Alabama or someone else. As far as I can tell, that’s where my mother is from. Alabama. 

She lost custody of me when I was eight years old. 

All that aside, growing up in the south isn’t easy for most of us. The south has extremely high poverty and crime rates. Religion is either thinly veiled or outright taught in schools. For someone like me, a born atheist, life could go from uncomfortable to outright dangerous in minutes. 

Poverty rate image

I went to a small school. There were twenty-one kids in my graduating class. The education wasn’t great but there were a few teachers who gave their best. 

When I look back on all the uncertainties of my childhood, I can’t fathom why so many are angry at the poor for being poor. They balk at the mere mention of policies to aid the poor. They mock the poor for wanting higher wages. It’s a never ending cycle. 

As a child, I often went hungry. I experienced homelessness. I was ostracized and ridiculed for my poverty. None of this was my fault. Being poor is not always the fault of the poor.

Let’s take a closer look at the people next to us. Let us see them as human and worthy of opportunity. Let us make opportunities widely available. Stop the division. 

United we stand….remember?

poverty quote

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One thought on “Growing Up South of the Mason Dixon

  1. Pingback: Spoken Word Poetry – “The Infinite Self” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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