Tag Archives: families
So dredgirl from fuckthepostpolitical and I often discuss class envy. We’re both from quite solidly working class backgrounds – where debt was just a fact of life and savings were a pipe dream, where life was hand to mouth, where *differences* like using big words were pissed upon as snooty up yerself airs to be knocked out of stupid little kids who outta know better. Where education had stopped for the adults in our lives in their third year of highschool, where no one we were related to had been to uni. Families with secrets and rage and repression. Childhoods of anxiety and nervousness. Food to fill bellies rather than to build strong bodies.
I know this doesn’t *all* belong in the working class/es…but…poverty has a way of compounding these issues…and how can it not? How can parents think straight when they don’t know how to pay the bills? When they’re locked into patterns from which they have no idea how to escape.
I just…some days I am utterly floored by the class differences in this country…and it goes both ways…I mean, from my perspective it seems amazing that people actually get to go to university without massive HECS debts, that people our age have not needed to go into debt to finance their education, or to live in the city – it’s hard not to feel a bit ‘ripped off’, or a bit like those people will never understand how hard you have to work, how much sleep you’ve lost over finances etc…how much they get to take for granted having grown up with good nutrition and skin and dental care etc…
And then…And then, right then, when I’m about to feel sorry for myself, I catch myself out in another type of ‘class moment’…I did get a place at university, I did have parents who told me I should keep studying, I had books in my house, I was read to as a child, I lived close to medical facilities, and medicare took care of me and my family. Mum made sure I had dance lessons, even when they had no savings and dad kept money from his pay to get pissed on and mum didn’t find out for years – even when they were in debt up to their neck I guess that seemed important to her.
I got into debt (and the traps of casual work) in order to get my degrees, to live where I wanted, to send my son to school somewhere I felt comfortable that he wasn’t going to be crushed like a bug, to be somewhere I felt *alive* and hopeful…and I had to fight a lot to be cut breaks where I needed them, or to hop up and down and fight when things were unfair (and you know, as the single mum of a kid with a disability whose ex doesn’t chip in ever to help pay bills or to co parent, they were often shitty or unfair) yes, but I *was* often cut breaks and it’s been slowly but steadily coming together – doors opened for me when I took chances (cos while women are still disciminated against every day in the workforce, and while working class education and health lags behind middle class education and health, I still have a shit-tonne of white priviledge working for me).
So sometimes…like when I’m unstacking the dishwasher drawer in my flat and I go to get the shits over the fact that the itty bitty dishwasher and I disagree over exactly how clean my cutlery should be…sometimes I feeling like a fucking toolbag to even dare to talk about class…
But…can we take both points on board? Because they both point to the lies involved in the story that Australia is a classless society. We’ve got lots of classes, but just like lots of families…we don’t like to talk about things like that.