- Art by Unknown (if anyone else knows, feel free to let me know!)
- 1:10 P.M.
- Mood: defeated.
Man, oh MAN, am I feeling beat up today.
I know you’re probably like, “Already?? It’s so early in the afternoon!”. But, yes, I do already feel like a puddle of fails.
My day started off with a rude-as-hell awakening of what it truly means to be “broke”.
I had to stop and get gas to be able to make it to work without having my car go dead (it’s broken down enough already). So, I stopped by a gas station on the way, went inside, and asked for $20 on pump whatever. I was confident as all get-out that things would be fine, and that I had plenty of money to cushion me until I got paid again. I swiped my card and waited for the lady behind the register to give me the receipt, but there was a pause. UH-oh. “Uh, ma’am, it’s showing that your card was only able to cover $16.61, and you still owe $3.39 for the gas”, said the tired-looking cashier lady. I tried retaining a calm demeanor, but on the inside, I was thinking, “ARE you fucking KIDDING ME?? You’re telling me, in front of this line of impatient people behind me, that I only had $16.61 left on my card??”. I was fully aware that I didn’t have the right to get upset at the woman, and proceeded to try to see if I had the rest of the money in cash. I felt embarrassed, overwhelmed, and debilitated. I had avoided looking at my card balance for a while for this exact reason. I wanted to avoid feeling so deflated when I found out that I wasn’t able to save as much as I thought I could. But, I very well should have checked up on that, and, in that moment, I was sucker-punched and bloodied up by this dose of reality. Some dude stepped up (probably because he was tired of waiting on me) and offered to pay off what I owed on gas. I timidly asked him, “Are you sure?”. He shot me a quick “yeah” without really looking at me, so I shot him a thank you, and quickly scurried out of the gas station. I was definitely running late for work at that point.
Now, I didn’t necessarily believe that I was beyond being broke, so much as I used to think it was some sort of myth. When I was a kid, I had that child-like mindset that when I saw something in a store that I wanted, I was supposed to have it right then. If there were any if’s, and’s, or but’s about it, I was irritated as hell. Such a little brat, I was. But, when my mom (or other adults) would tell me that I couldn’t get what I wanted right then because they didn’t have the money, I felt that, maybe, they were bluffing. In my head, the fact that they were working automatically meant that they had money for decades, and I felt that them saying they didn’t have money solely meant that they were just trying to keep the money they actually had to themselves. Something like that, at least. So, that mindset kinda stayed with me. I thought that an adult always had to have some spare money left to be considered an individual that “had his/her shit together”. And, I mean, I used to be that adult when I first got an actual job. However, though that job paid more and was full-time, I was miserable at best there. I never wanted to be there, and it showed in my attendance (please don’t follow in my footsteps). So, I split and got a part-time job that paid an okay amount. I was stoked about having more free time and not having to be at the job I worked previously. However, the money I had left over from my last job went *poof*, and my paychecks started coming in with less money than I was used to. That’s when I was left to look at the fact that, while the new job paid an okay amount and was less hectic, the hours that I worked made the wage I was paid amount to very little.
Now, I’ve hit a point where my name could be sold to someone for a dollar or less. And it’s not a bluff, as I thought before. I’m actually in this situation, experiencing it for myself, and it’s a lot different than I could have imagined. Though I know this isn’t the case, I feel like the only working person who has hit this point, and like I’ve lost control of my life because I have hit it. Logically, I know this situation only means that I can’t grab quick bites to eat until I get paid. But, it just feels like so much more than that (probably because it’s not hard to get me overwhelmed, anyway). It feels like I’ve either failed at being an adult, or….
That this is just a PART of being an adult.
The truth is that, unless someone’s rich, most people have gone through this situation or a similar one. They’re struggling to make it, think that they have more money than they do, and then end up feeling dead inside when they find out how much money has actually slipped through their fingers. They have to start calculating in their heads if they’re going to be able to make it until they get paid next, and crumble when they realize how much they may have to be willing to put on hold because they just don’t have enough. They feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, and debilitated, and…..holy SHIT, I’m not the only one.
We’re in a broke-ass society, people. Even the ones who work the hardest get paid less than half of what they deserve for it. We’re all trying to reach a better place in life, and we know that, while money can’t buy happiness, it does play a pretty important role in reaching it. We want a luxurious life of travel with our SO’s, to be able to get our kids absolutely everything they could ever dream of having, or to give ourselves the best lives we deserve. But we…just can’t afford it right now.
This doesn’t mean you’re failing. This means you’re trying to live your best life in this economy, like the rest of us.
This isn’t meant to invalidate how others may be feeling right now. My words won’t erase how hard things are when you don’t have money. This is actually a rough reality for me, and I’ll still feel beat-down about it for a bit. But, I needed this to learn to not only get better about keeping track of my money (even if it’s disheartening to watch it go), but to realize that being broke doesn’t equal being an actual “puddle of fails”.
It means you’re alive, and thriving with the necessary skills to survive trying situations. Stop being so hard on yourself.
Also, if anyone needs help (but hates asking their family or friends for it bc pride), I’ve found some websites that could at least start the search for help with finances and well-being:
- List of Resources to Help Single Parents (Moms)
- List of Financial Resources for Pregnant Mothers
- Guide on How To Survive Unpaid Maternity Leave
- Resources for Unemployment Benefits
- List of Resources for Financial Assistance with Utility Bills
- List of Resources to Help Veterans
- List of Resources for Financial Assistance for Housing
- List of Resources for Food Assistance Programs
- List of Resources for Help with Medical Costs While Uninsured
- Guide on How to Get Clothes For Free or With Assistance
- Guide on Different Types of Financial Aid for College Students/More Specific College Funds Search
- List of Resources for Help with Mental Illnesses/List of Resources for Financial Assistance with Antidepressants
- College Financial Aid/Scholarships for the LGBTQ+ Community
- College Financial Aid for Immigrants/Guide on the Eligibility of Immigrants in Financial Assistance Programs
- Some Financial Aid/Scholarship Opportunities for Minorities
- List of Resources for Financial Assistance for People with Disabilities
(Also, if you’re a college student, don’t forget to ask if there are free counseling services for attending. Unrelated, but you can also call 2-1-1 for looking into assistance programs in YOUR area within the US or Canada.)