Nellie Oleson and Other Monsters

Nellie OlesonThere is nothing worse than realizing your childhood nightmare is actually a reality.

As a child, my monsters were people who thought they were better than others because they were attractive or had money.

As an adult, I’ve discovered that I actually live among such monsters.

Growing up, these monsters were portrayed as fictional characters like Nellie Oleson from the television show Little House on the Prairie.

To most people, that show was about family.

To me, it was an epic battle of good and evil.

Good was represented by the hard-working Ingalls family, and evil was represented by Nellie Oleson and her mother. The ambivalence of society was represented by Nellie’s father who rarely stood up to his wife and his manipulative and self-centered  daughter, Nellie.

Nellie thought she was better than others because her family had money and other families didn’t. Not only that, but she actually looked down at people who didn’t have the same resources.

As a child, I never understood how anyone could actually like Nellie, who never did anything to earn her pretty dresses and easy lifestyle.

As an adult, I am amazed that I still have to battle such monsters.

These monsters rear their ugly heads in the form of  women who have never had to work to support their family. They have married men with good jobs and depended on their husbands for money. (And for the record, living on a budget in college or in early adulthood isn’t poverty). At the same time, they belittle the working poor and call them lazy. Here’s my advice: If you have never had to support a family on your income alone, you have no right to judge others.

These monsters bear their teeth when their beliefs about social status are challenged. Here’s my advice: Don’t open your mouth about poverty unless you have either experienced it yourself or have spent time with those who have.

Finally, these monsters avoid people who struggle as though they carry some type of disease. Here’s my advice: Surround yourself with people who are different than you. Not only will you become a more well-rounded and educated person, you might discover others have a great deal to offer.

This week, I had a realization that I can never slay the monsters I feel as though I am always battling.

But I did realize I have every right to walk around these monsters and keep going.

And if enough people join me, we can show the monsters how we really feel.

 

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on April 12, 2014, in My life, perspective and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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