Woman who grew up in poverty and experienced homelessness reveals what it’s like to be married to a man who was raised in an upper-class home in a series of eye-opening videos
A woman who grew up in poverty and has experienced homelessness has opened up about what it's like to be married to a man who was raised in an upper-class home.
In a series of three thought-provoking TikTok videos, Michaela and Alex Akins detailed how being raised in two vastly different economic classes has led them to develop certain habits and idiosyncrasies that sharply contrast each other.
'These things aren’t discussed very much, and I think many people don’t even realize how their socioeconomic status growing up shapes their personal habits as an adult,' Michaela, 26, from Los Angeles, told BuzzFeed News.
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While she grew up with food insecurity and was homeless at points in her childhood and early adulthood, Alex went to private school and had a cleaning service come to his home.
'I wanted to highlight some differences in living together that I've noticed because of how we were raised,' she explained in the first video, which shows how their upbringings have affected their eating habits.
'When eating a meal, I always finish my plate because I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished my plate and was told I was wasteful if I didn't,' she said. 'My husband will eat until he's full like a regular human.'
Michaela went on to say that she will keep all of her receipts in case something is wrong with what she bought and she has to take it back, but Alex will just throw them away and buy the item again if it's defective.
'I have a collection of jars in case I can reuse them. I was taught to never throw anything away,' she continued. 'Alex will throw away or recycle stuff when he is done with it.'
One of the most unexpected differences is that Michaela likes cold lunches because that's what she ate as a kid, but her husband doesn't.
'Alex only likes hot lunch because he ate his cafeteria lunch at his private school that costs more than all of his four years of college combined every day,' she said.
In the second video, which has been viewed more than 4.8 million times, Michaela touched upon their different shopping and cleaning habits.
'When grocery shopping, Alex would always get the name brand,' she said. 'I had to teach him that store brand is just as good with a few notable exceptions.'
She noted that her husband is better at picking up after himself than cleaning because his family had a cleaning service his entire life.
'I'm better at cleaning because if I wanted something to be clean, I had to do it myself,' she said. 'But I am just naturally messier than he is.'
Michaela went on to point out that she and Alex are the same age, but he has 'never bought a car, laptop, or cellphone himself, while she has purchased every major expense in her adult life.
Even the pets they had were different: Alex grew up with purebred poodles while Michaela's childhood dog was a mixed breed from the pound. However, they found common ground when they adopted a pit bull mix from a shelter in Atlanta.
For the third video, the couple switched it up, with Alex walking viewers through his wife's habits.
'First, Michaela keeps everything from every takeout restaurant we've ever ordered from,' he said, panning the camera to the plastic utensils and condiment packets on the table. 'There is a whole drawer full of this stuff.
'She also keeps all of our gift bags, which is great for holidays, birthdays, gift-giving. Makes it a lot easier,' he admitted.
Michaela is a stickler about not wasting electricity after growing up pinching pennies and is always turning things off on Alex.
'Every time I leave a room and leave the light switch on, she will turn it off — even if I am going right back into that room in a minute later,' he said.
Alex also noted that he likes to finish their leftovers, but his wife will leave them in the fridge for next time, and they end up going bad.
'This is a byproduct of her growing up with food insecurity and not necessarily knowing where her next meal would come from sometimes,' he explained.
'Everyone has differences in how they grew up,' he added at the end of the video, 'but if you can figure out the big things, the small things will work themselves out.'