Dear The Entire Internet,
With all of the information out there, I understand it's really hard to know who to believe. I've been there. This one time, I really wanted a burrito, but not just any burrito...the best burrito in town.
So what did I do? Why, I consulted the internet, of course! I Googled "Where can I find the best burrito in town?" and to my dismay, there was...more than one answer...
That's right, kids...I had to...decide for myself who was telling the truth. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but the availability of tons of restaurant reviews helped me narrow down my decision, leading me to choose an excellent burrito.
That being said, I'm here to talk about something far more important than burrito-choosing: what do you do when you read a viral blog post about someone who has thoughts on poverty, only to find out later that she might not be who she says she is? You read article after article from various media outlets, including one from the very platform from which she disseminated her viral post, all of which question her identification as a person living in poverty?
Being bombarded with all of these conflicting pieces of information understandably makes it incredibly difficult to decide who to believe.
We, the commentariat of Crosstalk and Groupthink, are here to help you decide.
Below is a collection of comments from Crosstalkers and Groupthinkers who have had direct personal interactions with Linda Walther Tirado, known around these parts as KillerMartinis. Many of these personal testimonies include links to timestamped interactions with Tirado herself.
Please consider this information in your evaluation of Tirados' integrity as a writer and as a person. To my knowledge, none of the media outlets that have bashed her have taken the time to read through her comments with other users of this platform.
We are all witnesses to Tirados' rise from a mere internet commenter to a viral blogger with a fantastic writing career ahead of her. Through winning over internet strangers with her gift for personal expression, she is in the process of pulling herself out of poverty so she can raise awareness of its insidiousness. She is a living testament to the power of the internet to launch the careers of individuals who would otherwise remain nameless. Through her work, she will be giving a voice to the voiceless. As our country's income inequality rises to historic proportions, we need Tirado's work more than ever. Despite the copious amounts of scientific research documenting that poverty is more often a cause than an effect, many segments of our society have yet to accept this fact. If we are ever to even the playing field, allowing greater access to health and prosperity, we need more activists like Tirado whose writing talent will have a far-reaching impact.
In terms of the donations themselves, it all started when Tirado informed us that her electricity was shut off. Greenheart was kind enough to spearhead the efforts to collect money so Tirado could have her electricity restored. Tirado soon followed up with a post thanking our community for our efforts.
Tirado later wrote a more extended post expressing her gratitude (I encourage you to read the whole post):
You guys are amazing. This is a bit surreal. I am grateful.
I really want to be clear about this, because it is important to me: I did not mean for this to happen. I really was making a fairly relevant joke, because it made me giggle in my head. And then I took a phone call from my boss, and when I came back a bunch of people had gotten together to stave off an incident in my life. It was wonderful, and it was amazing, and I am glad to know I have friends willing to do that, because it also means you are willing to listen to my shitty jokes and random rants, and that is what I value here. That I have friends. But money tends to make everything weird, and I didn't actually mean to bring it up.
Below is also a comment from Tirado herself on her original viral post in which she consoles a person in poverty who was critical of Tirado for what she perceived to be "bad decisons." In this comment, Tirado offers this person some of the money that's been donated to her:
I am sorry that you are struggling so much. But I would like to note that I very clearly was simply explaining the logic, not excusing it. Nor am I asking for pity or sympathy. I was explicit about that. So while you are entitled to your rage, because your life provokes it, you should know that I really don't want your pity. That wasn't the point. Justifying and explaining are different, I think.
Please get in contact with me on Twitter or this blog. You cannot study when you are worried about eating, and while I have appreciated the many offers of help I am only on the margins. A few hundred dollars could actually change your life and let you relax through the rest of this year before you graduate and do great things. I am certain that many people would be more than willing to let me transfer their offers of help to you, as your circumstances are much more abject than mine.
Your anger is useful. It keeps you going. I have had moments in which self-righteousness was all I had. I can't imagine how irate I would be reading this post and assuming it was a pity whine if I were in your shoes. That is why I wanted to be clear about its intent. But it isn't, and if you are willing I would like to make sure that you can study over whatever kind of sandwich you please. Think of it as a well-deserved scholarship. 11/13/13 11:44am
Tirado also humbly expresses her hesitation to launch her writing career in her post Words and Responsibility (I highly encourage you to read the rest of her post as well as the comments):
I know many people with much more interesting stories than mine, much more heart-wrenching and outrage-inducing, much more beautiful, much less messy. But the people living them did not go to the best schools and did not worry about their SAT scores and don't know the word prose. They can't tell their stories in a way that makes sense to the media system we're working out. And so I wonder: maybe the thing I should be doing is translating their stories into something that uses the right words.
And now, some words from her supporters...
BELOW IS THE COMMENT THAT STARTED IT ALL! From onetimemaybe:
Hi, I'm not sure if this is appropriate or not - so please forgive me if it's in any way out of line -but I would very much like to help you with your teeth. I can very much relate how bad teeth affect you as a person. I was fortunate enough that my family, while far from rich, were able to help me get my teeth fixed and I would like to help you. Is there a private way I can reach you? If you are not comfortable with that - I understand, but I still want to say thank you for sharing your story. It's an honest perspective that more people need to be aware of. Thank you.11/03/13 3:25pm
TyrannosaurusBataar details how Tirado's rise to viral blogger began:
She literally didn't even want to write the article in the first place. Some of us on Groupthink encouraged her, I happened to read the post which she posted on her personal Kinja page. I offered to share it to Groupthink since I thought it was really good. That's where this all began. She was incredibly hesitant to accept any recognition just within the Groupthink community, let alone the entire world. She posted an entire post debating whether to take a relatively small amount of money (couple thousand dollars; small compared to what she's raised at this point) to get her teeth checked out; she is literally that humble and taken aback by this support.
Anyone is this thread questioning her motives or authenticity is talking out of his/her ass and I'd like to see some evidence backing up these ridiculous claims. 11/26/13 11:35am
When the original article was shared to the Jezebel main page, a commenter reached out to KM offering to set up a fund to help her get her teeth at least checked out (if not fix them completely). KM posted about her dilemma—she considered it a moral dilemma to even think about accepting this help, which at the time was intended to be a relatively small amount of money (maybe $3,000 or so in total). She ultimately accepted at the urging of the community.
That GoFundMe page blew up pretty quickly, exceeding the intended scale. Some people were quite wary of sending money to a total stranger internet commenter (who was even less of a known quantity than KM herself), so KM decided to set up her own page to ease anyone's fears. She got lots of requests/feedback saying that she should write a book, that her writing is great, and that people would want to read more. She made the focus of her GoFundMe page to raise money to allow her to quit her second job and focus any extra time and energy (between already working and taking care of her kids and husband) on writing a book. Her goal was quite small (less than $5000 if I remember correctly). From there, the original post got shared far and wide, from Gawker to HuffPost to the Atlantic. That's why people saw the GoFundMe and that's why the total raised skyrocked to over $60k.
Absolutely none of this has been out of egotism, or begging for money, or claiming that one person is more deserving than another of help. KM herself doesn't consider $62k a "modest" sum of money. I do not want to speak for her here, but please read some of the background before jumping in to comment on a thread written by someone who is a known troll grasping at straws to try to pull down another person in some way. 11/26/13 1:25pm
I don't think anyone would shit on you if you did start a GoFundMe for your needs and raised money to pay off your student loans and to fix your car. That's what the site is for. People put up things they want to raise money for, others decide what is worthy of funding, and they give money to those things. Do you object to the whole concept of GoFundMe? I don't know what you're getting at either at this point. I really don't want to break out the "jealous" card, but that's really, really what this sounds like. People run kickstarters and GoFundMe pages for all kinds of shit that's way less worthy than this, so I really don't get the ire.
Be pissed at the circumstances that put you in your position. Be pissed that you can't get ahead because this economy sucks, higher education sucks, wage structure in the U.S. sucks, or whatever else. Don't be pissed at strangers for doing something good for someone with something to contribute. Your judgment is not needed.
Your comment is boiling down to what some of the trollier trolls on this thread have been saying: she's not poor enough and she's not being poor the right way. She's not managing her money in the way you would want her to. She's not handling media attention in the way you'd want her to. Basically, there is no need to try to micromanage this or give your opinion on what a total stranger should do with money that is not yours. 11/26/13 2:56pm
From Dr Mrs The Monarch, here is a link to her comment on the Gawker article that slammed Tirado. In this comment, she debunks much of what the author said. Also from Monarch is her first comment on Tirado's viral post:
This is amazingly coherent. Killermartinis, I hope everyone reads this. I hope it's required reading in schools. 10/22/13 3:37pm
Here, Monarch responded to Tirado's concern about her commercialization of her work.
Here, Monarch encourages Tirado to accept donations in a post Tirado wrote expressing hesitation over doing so:
Your writing is affecting me in a profound, meaningful way. I mean, you are really good at this — as good as any other writer I've read around here and plenty of other places, and I know some professional writers.
I say this because I wish there was a way it might not be charity. Maybe it's not charity... maybe it's payment for this incredible service you're doing. What service is that? You're speaking from a place, and with a perspective, that often isn't heard. And not only that, you're doing it with an inarguable eloquence that is deeply powerful.
I can only imagine how uncomfortable the idea of speaking for others about things so personal is. I know it's not your intention. But I think that, in maybe the best way possible, you are giving people a voice. Reading your thoughts makes people — I have seen this personally — with great privilege reconsider their opinions about class.
That's really something. And while I know this is naive of me, I want so much for any gifts you receive to not come from a place of pity or charity (though I like charity as a concept) ... I want them to be sort of karmic payments, for the good you're doing. Can you think of it like that?11/08/13 6:02pm
I am one of the people who gave KillerMartinis money, and I am glad I did. I read her piece right after she was convinced to publish it on GT and I thought it was absolutely great. I grew up poor as well, although not as poor as other people in my town and not for my entire life. Nonetheless, I recognized aspects of myself in the piece. It resonated with me. It made me think. It solidified some of the things I had always thought about poverty and it made me rethink others (such as the smoking aspect). Never did I think that she was writing just about her own life, or the life she currently lived, because I actually took the time to read the piece. I don't think a lot of the people currently talking about KM really read it, or understood what it meant. I read it when it first came out and I understood it to be partly about her own past, partly about her present life (not as poor as she had been), and partly about general observations on poverty.
I was also one of the people who encouraged KM to start her own GoFundMe account, because I wanted to contribute to her. Originally I wanted to help pay for her teeth, because I also had bad teeth for a long while due in part to not being able to afford care when I was young, and I knew how painful, embarrassing, and dangerous to one's health it is to have bad teeth. But I wanted to give my money to KM herself rather than the other person who had started a tooth fund for her. I was glad when she notified us that she had set one up. I gave her money because I have been where she is. Was I living in a gutter? No. Was I starving, wearing sack-cloth, with my face dirty and my hair unkempt from the inability to pay for a bath? No. But you can be poor and not be a Dickensian character or Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl. You can be poor and struggling. You can be on the verge of poverty. You can have a home but worry every night that if something goes wrong it could all be taken away. You can have enough money for taxes and food and you can even have enough money to pay for some things that aren't strict necessities, but still not have enough money to fix your teeth.
The notion that someone has to actually in the gutter before they "deserve" my charity is ludicrous to me. I give money to organizations and people of varying types. I give coats to the coat drive. I don't ask whether the coat is going to someone who has absolutely zero dollars or someone who has some money. I buy toys for needy kids at Christmas. I don't ask how needy they are; I figure if they are needy enough to subscribe to the Winter Wishes campaign they need my help. I don't require people to prostrate themselves for me, begging like lepers in a Biblical story. Some of the comments I have read about KillerMartinis come from people who really do seem to want her to prostrate herself before them. And lest we forget, she did not originally ask for a dime. I was asking KM to start her own GoFundMe account so that I could give her money she didn't ask for. Because I wanted to and it's my money and I get to do what I want with it.
Personally, I don't care if KM uses my money for her teeth or for a well-deserved vacation or for a new handbag. I gave it to her because I believe in her. I believe that she represented herself and her ideas very well. I believe that she is human, and as such is not going to be a perfect replica of a "poor" person, whatever that is. And I am fine with that. Nobody is "perfectly poor." Everyone has inconsistencies. I do, too. And I am perfectly happy with helping KM out. I imagine she will do good things with a bit more time on her hands. And if she does nothing else? I'm fine with it. Because I realize that KillerMartinis owes me exactly nothing. Yet she has already given so much of herself. She's been patient and far kinder with people who are shitting all over her than I could ever be. I am in awe of that. I'm glad she wrote that piece. It got people talking and thinking about poverty in a way they don't normally do. To me, that alone is worth all the money she has gotten. People certainly get far more for doing far less than she has already done. 9 minutes ago
I hope she stands strong and survives. I want her to get her accounts of others out, I want the working (or non working in my case) poor to get heard. I want there to be this discussion, I just wish their wasn't so much crap. And thank her for making me feel like even if I stay this poor I have a future and I don't need to apologize for the way I badly spend money sometimes. 9 minutes ago
Because I feel this from the inside of my bones, I'm reprinting my comment from that article (which I know I already shared to GT but I guess I'm being attention whorey for my sympathetic audience....
She definitely craves attention (as writers do), and she has supporters in a safe place online, more than willing to attend to her in exchange for her meandering missives.
From my "safe place online" going heart to yours [meaning the author],
FUCK. YOU. 9 minutes ago
In the following comment, Groupthink moderator Chritter responds to a commenter who is critical of Tirado:
Okay, so she's not your platonic ideal of a poor person, she's not Tiny Tim. As she herself has said many times. And, frankly, it's her own self-awareness of that, and her own ruminations on that, that has given the internet GOTCHA crowd fodder for these silly attacks. There was absolutely no misrepresentation. She discussed just that, being broke, struggling, making choices that might seem questionable when viewed from afar (a pack of smokes can keep me going through two shifts, etc.). The notion that you must be "the right kind" of a poor or struggling person in order to talk about this is puzzling to me. Today 5:57pm
From Celia, a longtime internet friend of Tirado:
I do want to state that for disclaimer sake I have seen KM post here for years. The same sort thing everyone else posts here. She often reported trolls to #trollpatrol when that was still possible and was a good help to me. I did not follow the story for the most part once it blew up, and that's why I'm not taking a stance on it. It would be unfair since I know her and since I would need to read a complete story anyway. Today 6:45pm
I've "known" her for at least a year, I would guess. I am very careful about my favorites, even on GT, partly because I'm a former mod and partly because, well, I'm picky. I say that as someone who loves everyone on GT! I'm taking favorites, and KillerMartinis was one of my favorites.
If I'm wrong about her ALWAYS being honest? ALWAYS being kind, involved, sincere and brilliant? ALWAYS generous with praise, help and ideas? Then, shit, I don't know her, I guess. But I can't see it. All I know is the woman I've gotten to know on the internet — but in GT, that means something. And I think I know her. And I think "her" = awesome. To say nothing of sincere.
Kick ass, KM. Even more. We fucking love you. Today 6:48pm
There is a whole branch of psychotherapy that looks primarily at the narrative and that the way the narrative shapes reality, which means narratives has a tendency to be complex and often contradictory. Anyone who spends a lot of time assessing people's lifestories don't look for absolute consistency but greater truths and systems of meaning. KM, like most people, don't have a consistent narrative, including around class and poverty because, as evidence shows, most low income people's financial situation fluctuates but their are greater issues around the lack of asset building, the lack of a safety net and the potential for real hardship during dips. Many people indulge in things and events that aren't absolute necessity. But I think that denies the greater truth which is that we have a high degree of income stratification. We have millions of people who are working poor, 1/3 of families by some estimations,who live in a consumerist society where both our safety net and infrastructure and our wages are declining. This is the greater issue.
You can focus on KM's story and worry about whether she has been poor enough to actually justify her story and make vain attempts to poke hole in her narrative, while pretending that no one could poke holes in all of ours, but it is a way of really ignoring the larger picture of financial inequity in our country and how people experience the chronic stress and difficulty around it. 46 minutes ago
KillerMartinis, thank you for your contributions to GT and for giving me the motivation and the idea to start the Emergency Fund. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your article on being poor - I've shared that with a lot of people and I think it has the potential to make the world a better place. Don't let this shit get to you. 52 minutes ago
KM did not make this all about her; everybody else did. Her essay is about poverty, not about herself. Some of what she knows about poverty is from personal experience, and some of it is from observation of people around her — people the rest of us may never have been around and may not understand. That's why she wrote the essay, to make these people's choices understandable to the rest of us. It's everybody else who's made it about her, both the people wanting to help her and the people attacking her.
Anyone scouring the essay for weak points needs to look back at the first line: There is no way to structure this coherently. The person who wrote that line knows that the essay is an imperfect attempt to communicate an idea. All attempts to communicate are imperfect to a greater or lesser degree. What KM communicates about poverty is clear, however, and yowling about how much of KM's biography is or isn't clear in an essay that is not about her biography is simply a willful refusal to hear that message. Today 7:08pm
People hate to see generosity because it makes them feel guilty, so they bash the recipient. If you feel guilty, give to causes YOU support, and we'll do the same — and we won't pass judgment on your choices and PLEASE LEAVE OURS ALONE!!!! KM, get that smile and enjoy it — your friends, fans and supporters want to see it on you!!! Today 6:51pm
Killer Martinis, I think you are awesome, and wonderful, and I love you. You said some really nice things to me back in September when my depression was out of control, and it made a difference in my life.
All of those people trying to pull you down right now are so full of shit.
You are a kind and good person. This will blow over eventually, I promise. Just hang in there <3 Today 6:47pm
KM, thank you.
Thank you for articulating many of my own feelings about the less-than-ideal circumstances my family is in. You managed to make those of us who are just poor enough to be completely ignored (because we're still one paycheck away from being destitute) relatable to people who see poverty as some horrible infection. Oops, can't get too close to their reality, we might catch it.
I appreciate the few conversations we have had commiserating together over things like "wasting" money on Pizza Hut because we are too exhausted to stand at the stove and cook a meal of beans and rice. Or the fact that we will most likely never enjoy a retirement. Your posts have brought me to tears and made me rage against the lack of empathy in this world.
You have a great sense of humor, an interesting perspective, and an amazing mind. Use those things because it would be a shame not to. Plus you can tell the masses to kiss your ass. You deserve all the good things that have come your way.
I am proud to know you, even as just a fellow internet stranger. Today 7:00pm
From Bingo, Carlos:
I have always really liked KM. Nonstop. Very fun. Today 6:49pm
KM, I applaud you for doing what you could to try and open up people's eyes to what it's really like to be struggling with poverty. So many people have the wrong idea of what being impoverished is like, and the fact that you were brave enough to try and share what it's really like is incredible. I wish you all the best, and I've got your back on this! Today 6:51pm
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm proud to know KM, I believe her story (the original essay, as well as the stuff that happened just prior eg, electric bill), and I understood that she was mixing part personal experience, part collective knowledge. And that's okay.
KM, if you're reading this, please know, I (we) love you, will stand by you throughout this absolute dreck that is called viral backlash. I'm stoked you got a little vacation! I'm excited to read your book! I have so much faith in you, and you're making such a huge difference for so many people, who get what you write/wrote. Many hugs, and as always, much love!11 minutes ago
KM, know that there is a huge amount of people that care about you. You can't win everyone, no one can. Focus on the positive, the friends, and the people that support you and not the ones that try to drag you down with them. WE LOVE YOU!39 minutes ago
I've been a mostly lurker long enough in these parts to have nothing but the fullest faith in KillerMartini/ Linda. The most telling thing is that in any video/interview/article I have seen her in she has spent the majority of her time talking about the poor , their experiences and the reasons behind it, even after such amount of wilfull misinterpretation, misconstruing and pure utter lies were spouted about her. She hasn't made it all about her despite everyone else trying to, I honestly doubt I would have the grace or commitment to my using my voice to stay on message in the face of such ugliness. I grew up a world away from Linda but her words ring true. I can tell you from my own experience of my life and people I know that being on the internet doesnt mean you dont go hungry, knowing more then one language doesn't stop you staying up all night worrying about rent it just gives your more vocabulary to express your stress.I can tell you my best friends/family dont know how many times I went hungry, struggled to pay bills and stressed to keep a roof over my head so its ridiculous to assume a person you don't know is lying because they have some of the trappings of the "middle" class. I dont know KillerMartini but I've been here from the beginning of this, I saw it all unfold with my own eyes anyone who doubts her just isn't looking hard enough its all there. I've seen more then enough for her to have my full and utter support, shes kick ass and pure class wrapped up in one. 44 minutes ago
KM, the bashing you are getting is a commentary on our society, not on you. You're an outstanding writer and you should pursue that. Get your teeth fixed, take a vacation, get yourself in a place where you can work just one job and get medical care for yourself and your family. Fuck the people who criticize you for accepting the donations. Use them. The amount you took in is not that much for a family to build a safety net on, especially after 30 grand for dental work. If more people got a leg up there would be fewer people a paycheck away from the streets. Take the opportunity and do your best to ignore the assholes because you have a family and a life that are way more important than those dirtbags. 3 minutes ago
I was another person who encouraged her to take a little break with some of that money after I had donated. I have no regrets.
This is an aside, but do you think people are offended because it is Vegas and not some little cabin near a lake? Like they assume that since she has this money she is going to go gamble it all away in Vegas? Without realizing that 1) Vegas is a super easy (and can be relatively inexpensive) hassle-free place to go for just a couple of nights and 2) is literally the closest major city to where she lives? 18 minutes ago
The backlash directed at KM makes me so fed up with people on the internet. Mean, small, misguided people, just looking for someone or something to bash. She was CLEARLY reluctant to accept help for her dental problems; she was most certainly NOT looking for donations to the extent she received them. She clearly stated that some of the experiences she described were not hers. Her writing obviously struck a nerve (in a good way, at first). She has donated some of the funds she received to others. There will always be mean-spirited, negative people, determined to find something to pick at and criticize. I just hate reading the crap they write. 6 minutes ago
KM we are here for you! Fuck the haters and people who have nothing better to do but to be cynical. You are an inspiration, and you have really put a spotlight on how hard it is for a lot of people in America. The struggle with be worth it, as I feel people will calm the fuck down and use their brains (for once) and see that poverty comes in infinite forms, and we as a nation must come together to actually look at things from other perspectives than our own.
You never intended this to happen. You are sticking your neck out to not only tell your own story, but the stories of millions. Shine on. (I guess this whole comment can be included)2 minutes ago
When KM's article really started blowing up, she posted about all of the things going on. The people commenting, messaging, asking for help and advice and commiseration. The stress, the answering comments for 12 hours because she couldn't not answer those people who had a greater need than her. I told her to slow down and take a break, to step away for a few days and just relax. I was afraid she would burn out, because once the piece started to go viral, she exhausted herself trying to do everything. It was clear that she had a painfully hard time not taking care of others. I've read KM's work for a while — not as long as many other commenters, since I'm relatively new to GT, but it is clear that she never intended for this to become what it did. She's earnest and does her best, and she was growing her confidence in herself and her writing here on Groupthink. I'm so proud to say I am part of the same community as her. I love KM, I believe in her, and I believe she damn well did deserve to take a two day trip to Las Vegas if she could swing it. Just now
POVERTY MUST BE A DICKENS NOVEL
Apparently, poverty works like this:
You are a lazy drug addict who deserves to die.
You are a saintly creature who will suffer in silence until you die of consumption on the snowy streets of a Dickens novel.
RULES FOR BEING POOR
1. You must never be educated. Everyone knows educated people are not poor. Or, if they are, it's because they are lazy drug addicts. Duh.
2. You must always be cheerful. You can never express despair or anger or helplessness. You MAY cry prettily into a blood soaked handkerchief outside the factory from where you've been fired, but that's it.
3. You must never have bad luck. Only rich people get to have bad luck. If you have bad luck, it's because you made bad choices. Only rich people get to make bad choices.
4. You must never make bad choices. You must be a saint. Remember? You can weep prettily into your handkerchief, and if you are attractive, you might get out of debt by marrying a long lost relative of some rich person, but that's it. No bad choices for you! Humanity is not part of what you get to have.
5. You must always be silent and support the rich. You must never insinuate that these situations are exacerbated by the behavior of these people for underpaying you or treating you badly. They want your loyalty! And if they don't get it, you will be to blame for deciding you are a human being who is working hard and deserves a living wage. Back to the poor house with you!
6. You must never live in a house, have a car, a refrigerator, a child, a pet, or anything that means you might enjoy life for even a few minutes. You're poor! Remember?!? You can't go on a vacation. Why, that would be selfish! You can't have a moment of peace from your toil or you aren't a real poor person! Even if you have no money and are scared crapless about being homeless. It doesn't matter. You must not want things that can make you feel good about life.
While still being cheerful, of course. Remember! Poor people are cheerful in their toil and laboring!! Come on!!
7. You must never, EVER mention being poor when someone who is poorer than you are exists. Because that would be unseemly. Since we can't know everyone and what their situation is, this means "keep quiet, you!"
8. If you ever get money at all, you are never, ever allowed to discuss being poor. Because damn! You have money now. Never mind that you still wake up and night and roam the house making plans for if you go homeless again. Never mind that you can't shake the stress from your mind and your heart.
9. You must never, ever get paid for anything that you might be good at. Because you are poor. Give it up. Accept your lot. And remember! the best one! ...
10. You must always believe that, despite the statistics that tell us otherwise, you will rise above it all and be wealthy someday! Doing something you love! (Waait a minute ...)
Anyway, so, just keep plugging along, you cheerful poor person! Just keeping going on.
Well, there was that one time that GT took up a collection and paid her electric bill.
Which, you know, was an awesome example of an online community rallying to help a sista out.
Then later, she wrote this thing about developing an eating disorder because her teeth were so jacked. Through the whole thing she was very humble and wanted our feedback on what to do about it. And pretty much everyone was super supportive and understanding and I think encouraged her to accept help for something like that.
I certainly said that. And she said she loved me for my "utter lack of bullshit", which is pretty much one of the coolest things anyone's ever said to me in my life. And I told her I loved her back and I hoped things would get better. And I was happy for this cool little connection we shared basically because of a common history of poverty and mutual understanding of how fucked up that is.
And then she blew up and people gave her like $60k, and she was all humble about it and conflicted about what it meant; kind of like you would expect her to be if you knew the slightest bit about her.
And then a bunch of morons started bashing her and suspecting the worst possible motives. But, she's been through way worse and will rise above. And GT is still, obviously, the shit.
So it's all good in the 'hood.
TL;DR: Haters gonna hate, but we're here for you, KillerMartinis! We wish you all the best in your endeavors and always have your back!