You guys, I’m poor.
I just want you to know, I’m poor. Maybe you don’t believe me. I have a good job and (I think) I’m paid a fair, reasonable, maybe even above average amount.
But I’m poor. You must believe me.
I don’t mean like “I’m poor because I can’t buy everything I want,” I mean “I’m poor because I have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck.”
But I also DON’T mean “I’m so poor I live on the street and I don’t know where my next meal is coming from.” I guess I’m like “middle poor.” And in that I am lucky.
But, when I say I have “no” savings, I don’t mean I have such a negligible amount, like $200, that it seems insignificant. I mean that I have zero dollars saved. A total. Of zero. Zero hundred dollars.
Also please know that this is difficult and embarrassing for me to talk about but I was like maybe this is worth discussing in a public forum and will help empower others to also discuss it which I am all about so here we are.
How did I get here? It’s totally my fault, obviously. I simply spend more than I make. I live beyond my means. I have LIVED beyond my means for over a decade. My means were already limited, and in a cruel ironic twist, spending beyond my means has limited my means even more.
Reason number one is, I’m terrible at math. My brain does not understand math at all. Numbers don’t make sense. They swim across the page, they twirl around my head, and within seconds they become irrelevant.
It’s difficult for me to conceptualize what math even MEANS. More than once and in more formats than I can count I have tried to create and stick to a budget. Sometimes with parental and even professional assistance. All of these attempts have failed miserably. These dead husks of financial failure pile on top of each other to form the barren wasteland that is my net worth. I don’t even really know what “net worth” is but I assume mine is at least a few thousand below zero. Negative thousands. That’s a math?
I hate numbers so much that I simply ignore them. Much to my detriment of course. But I still hate them. And things that I hate or no longer have a use for just get ignored like they aren’t real or never happened.
Just like with anything, I’m sure I could google like, “Coping tools to deal with limited math skills,” and teach myself ways to be better. Maybe I’ll get there someday. But for now, I’m poor.
Second is that I am obsessed with stuff. Just…ANY STUFF. Anything that I like, anything that catches my eye, I must own it. I must bring it home and have it where I can see it and keep it as my possession always. The more stuff around me the better I feel.
Stuff stuff stuff.
Stuff for my face, stuff for my hair, stuff to wear. Stuff to read, stuff to clean, stuff to eat. Stuff to simply sit and enjoy reflecting upon. I’ve tried the whole Marie Kondo thing and it’s impossible for me because everything I own brings me joy. IT BRINGS ME SO MUCH JOY.
I have completely bought into the part of capitalism that says it’s great to have stuff and I am sorry. And I’ve bought a lot of it so I’m poor.
And finally, I always have to be doing something. Let me say that again because this is the biggest thing, I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE DOING SOMETHING.
Doing things costs money. Doing things costs A TON of money, especially around where I live.
But sitting inside my house and doing nothing is my WORST NIGHTMARE AND I CANNOT STAND IT. I feel that I NEED to go out into the world and drink drinks and eat foods and travel to fun places and do fun and exciting activities. I NEED to do all of this because if I don’t I will SURELY PERISH.
It’s true, I will LEGIT FREAKIN PERISH, YOU GUYS.
The other day I was thinking, I was deep in thought, among my stuff, and I had a thought, and that thought was “I think spending money has become part of my personality. And when I can’t spend money I’m incredibly depressed. Because I need to spend to keep up with all the things I love.”
And that made me feel weird. Like wtf. That’s not how we’re raised to behave. That’s not how people are supposed to see “stuff,” is it? In a way it seems immoral. I’m supposed to say, “no like health and life and my relationships mean more than stuff.” Because that’s the right thing to say.
But the question is, do they? Maybe stuff means just the same amount as all of that other…stuff, and we’re all just lying to ourselves. We’re taking the moral high ground and we’re lying to ourselves.
I mean I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. I DO know that I had a conversation with a friend the other day and it was like “No one ever talks about money but everyone is always buying and doing stuff and perhaps it’s questionable that anyone can really actually afford it. But no one talks about it so no one would really know. And we all want to keep up with life so we don’t want to say no and not do or get things we can’t afford. And most of all there’s a lot of shame associated with talking about money.”
So this is me saying I truly CANNOT afford it and that is of course shameful but also maybe it will help you in some way. And help society as a whole because if we talked about it, just like with anything, it would be less shameful. And then everyone would gradually get better at money because they would feel comfortable saying no to things they can’t afford and they would save money and we would all be rich AF.
Maybe we’d even own PROPERTY or a CAR or SOMETHING because most people I know don’t have that. Any of that. For me personally those are things I can’t see myself ever having. At this point having a down payment for a house or a car is the same thing as having a million dollars. It’s as impossible and as unlikely. As a million dollars.
It’s like that for a lot of millennials, right? Please agree? We got screwed by the gig economy? And student loans? And the recession in 2008? And also the other recession now?
I’m not here to blame outside factors though. I take responsibility for this being my fault. Because it is.
But I will end with another thought, someone else’s thought. I used to go to this writing “salon” that I really enjoyed called Novella and one day one of the speakers was a gal named Ashley C. Ford and she said something that really wedged itself into my brain and is still there, kinda like buzzing and pressing against my skull. She said, and I’m paraphrasing, “We have to talk about money. We can’t be afraid to talk about it and ask about it and ask to be paid fairly. Because the people that have the money WANT us to not talk about it. They want us to be too scared or awkward to even bring it up. Because they know that’s how they keep the money. If we don’t talk about it we don’t get any. So talk about the money!”
So then I did. Thx.