Thanksgiving Day Dissonance

by Elouise

Could this be Deep South white shame?
The shame of being almost
but not quite this
or that?

Rich – Poor
Privileged – Underprivileged
Proud – Ashamed
Grateful – Embarrassed
Living one life – Living two lives

Consider the evidence:

Too proud to ask for money, yet
ashamed and afraid to look relieved when it’s given outright.
Friend of wealthy people, yet
beholden to them.
Educated in a private church-related grade school, yet
carrying the stigma of being a charity case.
Daughter of an ordained minister, yet
unable to explain what my father ‘does’ for a living.
Living in a big fancy house, yet
not owning it or having enough food.
Living in a big fancy house, yet
half a mile away are many small not-fancy houses in ‘colored town’.
Relieved my skin is white, yet
embarrassed and never sure what to say or do about it.
Grateful to have a mother, father and sisters, yet
terrified my schoolmates will find us boring and strange.
Feeling I’m finally beginning to fit in, yet
No, I can’t go to the prom or come to your party.

Almost, but not quite this or that.
Grateful for who I am, yet
not fully comfortable in my skin.
Perhaps this is the feeling of being human?
If so, I’ve arrived.

* * * * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 November 2014