We make lots of assumptions when we look at other people.
I’m sure people make lots of assumptions when they look at me.
What they assume probably depends upon where they see me.
If they see me dropping my kids off at preschool in the morning, they might assume I haven’t showered in more than 48 hours.
There’s a good chance they are right on that one.
But if you saw me here, you’d probably think I was a happy mom having fun with her cute daughter.
If you saw this picture, you might assume I was successful enough to land a segment on the Dr. Oz Show.
If you saw me here, you might assume I was a fit mom who was motivated and disciplined enough to get a run in, even if it meant I had to push these two in the stroller to get it done.
If you saw me here, you might think, Wow! She ran the New York City Marathon! She must be determined!
And you would be right on all accounts.
But I bet if you saw this picture,
you wouldn’t look at it and assume,
That woman is on food stamps.
But she is.
When I was finishing up my masters degree in 1993, I never, ever imagined that twenty-two years later I would find myself in this situation.
In fact, I remember back to when I was an undergrad living off campus. I went to the Food Lion to buy some groceries, and I was in line at the check out behind a woman holding up the line with her sheet of stamps.
I was mortified for her.
And I was also judging the shit out of her.
And here I am.
With a college degree, a fucking masters degree, and on food stamps.
Except now the label has changed.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
And you get a fancy card now.
No more actual stamps.
So why am I sharing this?
Well, I know there are many, many people who abuse the system. I know there are stereotypes.
And I know there are lots of judgemental people out there.
Because I was one of them.
But there are also many, many, many educated, driven, disciplined, accomplished, and fit people who find themselves in situations they never, ever dreamed they would be in.
Hardworking, honest people who rely on the help of others and the government until they can get back on their feet.
And I know that because I am one of them.