Wednesday, August 29, 2007

UU and the Working Class

I just finished reading a great article on how class relates to UU. But having been written by a professional it seems to miss the point. It's a start though.

I am UU. Unitarian Universalist that is. And I am very much working class. I find that being both of those things is such a struggle. How can I honor my place in the world and still go to a church every Sunday that feels I need to be improved. I mean sure, I am welcomed. They'll have me but do they really want me. Do these professionals really want their children to see that you can be happy without a college education. Blasphemy!

The college educated always seem to think that the rest of us want to be just like them. I fear not. I've lived on both sides of the tracks. I was born in New Castle, DE to a plumber and a waitress. They both sold drugs to make ends meet and my mom did them in order to stay awake for her graveyard shifts. I was supposed to be the "one". The one who was good, the one who stayed off of drugs, the one who went to college and the one who got a career rather than a job. All of this was pounded into my head before kindergarten even began. My goal in life was college. I had to go. There was no other option. I was a stressed out, straight-A, train wreck of a kid. That kid who freaked about every test and then got 100's. My life was pointed straight towards college. To further that end, my Mom left my Dad at some point and moved to Havertown, PA to live amongst the middle class. The Main Line. The only main line I had ever heard of had to do with heroin. She lauded the schools, had me choose between my father and her. Pointed out the pros and cons of the two school systems. I would never get into a good school with a Delaware education. I needed to move to Pennsylvania. It was so clear. So I left my home and moved to a strange land. Being low class and living side by side with "rich kids" does something to your self esteem. I went from being top of the class to mediocre. I went from normal to poor. My situation hadn't changed any. We had just as much money as we always had. It's just that my perspective changed. Suddenly I had to compete with the sons of doctors and lawyers. Suddenly my clothes and hair and shoes were not good enough, could never be good enough. It destroyed me.

I never did end up going to college. Kids like me didn't go to college. In Delaware all of the kids were like me. Some made it and some didn't. In Pennsylvania, only the rare few of us working class kids made it out. Instead I took a few years off and then joined the Air Force when it became clear to me that 19 year old cashiers don't get very much in this world. There I became a computer programmer. I have the equivalence of a degree in IT. That's fine for jobs but when it comes down to it, I never went to college and I will always be less in some peoples eyes because of it.

I have straddled the class fence for 20 years. I have never fit in either category. So where does that leave me. I am not a professional. I personally love waitressing. Love it. My mom did too and now she loves bartending. Does that make us less than someone who loves engineering? Does that make me any less liberal religiously? I know plenty of people who could be served by a liberal religion. Who could be UU if UU was more about the spirit and less about liberal politics couched as religion. I think UU needs to look long and hard at itself and see if it is speaking to a universal condition or just an upper class one.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Blog? What's a blog?

My goodness! Has it really been nearly 3 months? Where have I been? All over. We joined the pool again this year. The major difference between this year and last is my license. That's right, I can drive. And, boy, do I drive. I have not been home since the day I got it. I've driven to Ohio twice this summer. I put money down on a house only to back out after inspections. Oliver is talking and Nathan has a best friend. The boys have blossomed socially at the pool. They have confidence that they didn't have before. I've found a forum that feels like home, drama and all. All in all, Life is good.