These are from my Twitter stream yesterday-
- You have X amount of dollars you spend every day on “frivolities”
- You drive.
- You can afford in the most technical sense (as in having 2.5-3 times your rent in income) to live where you do.
Now a lot of the language around these things is very paternalistic and designed to induce guilt if you as a poor person ever treat yourself to “frivololities”
All of us poor folks have heard it. I got it a lot while I was writing for XOJane because obviously I can’t actually be poor if I ever have a nice thing (a Clarisonic), I waste money because I like makeup, I waste money because sometimes I want a beer or a slurpee, I’m terrible because I “encouraged” poor folks buy themselves things if they want to.
I bring this up because I believed it. Up through my early 30s, I still in my heart believed that my poverty was because I was too ignorant to make good choices, that I was somehow morally inferior to other people. I internalized the things I was taught from childhood up, that mingled together to fuck up my self esteem. It caused me to really spend a lot of time feeling like a shit person because I couldn’t afford things, I couldn’t “stick” to a savings plan, I couldn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps out of poverty.
All of this created a cycle of terror, self hatred, shame and panic that became really vicious. I devalued a lot of the poor folks skills I have/had. My ducks ass tight budgets, my ability to even pre-internet access find ALL them deals, my ability to barter, ways I learned to live a better quality of life while being in poverty. It wasn’t good enough.
Looking back over the years, I’ve endured some financial fuckery. Being stolen from, having a landlord go SUPER mega slumlord and rook me out of about 5K, being rooked out of 3-4.5K in shitty dental work. Things that were huge and ruined my entire life.
Fast forward to right now.
I have done a lot of work on this. I have spent so much time reteaching myself and figuring out what I actually believe.
Thus lately I’ve been struggling. I have a deep desire to improve the quality of the life my partner and I are living. We need some stuff and haven’t been able to afford all of it and it sent me into a bit of a shame spiral.SO I was doing that thing, the obsessive balance checking, the self loathing because there was personal self-care stuff I needed, shame because I also need some other stuff like pants and shoes.
But the silver lining is that after my obsessive checking and budgeting, I realized today that we’re 100% on target this month and last month. There has been a dip in my side hustle income through not much fault of my own, but, damn it we’re doing the damn thing.
I am able to plan for my partner’s birthday, we are eating good, satisfying food, I got partner new pants and supplied with his preferred medications.
AND today I realized that I have a little bit of enough mad money to get a new pair of walking shoes and maybe some facial masks.
I realized today that holy fucking shit I am DOING THE DAMN THING. No, I can’t afford to buy name brand shoes, I can’t afford to move and I’m still living in poverty, but I am not living in miserable poverty.
There’s less coming in but life is good.
That is huge.
Okay, if you struggle with this sort of thing, y’all- it can get better. If I can learn to not abuse myself and let myself live a better quality of life because I fucking deserve it, not because I’ve “earned” it..you can too.
I leave y’all with this.
I love y’all. The next post I’m gonna have some natural hair struggle bus updates, soon another wig review and I’ll give some beginner hair care tips I wish someone had given me.