Still poor, but a little less so at the moment. Found someone to sublet while i’m away, GST cheque when i got home the other day, and a place to stay in New York which i was hoping to go to, but couldn’t because of money, lack of money to stay somewhere. It feels weird to put this down, after being so negative below, a little tail between the legs feeling, anyway there it is.
I hate being poor. Most people think i’m not because i dress okay. I am. Money poor, rich in my mind. I imagine i can go away for a month, pay my rent before i leave and when i come home, and still go away, go to 2 cities, spend 4 nights in a hostel, bus there, which is banana’s since i get easily claustrophobic, and have trouble sleeping in reasonable conditions. I am challenged by my reality at this moment. Lack of education, money and what it means to not be educated and to be poor in the culture i live in, in the city i live in. It means my upstairs neighbour who is 6 lives better than i do and will have more opportunities because her Mother is educated and owns property. I am sick of this, i’m sick of feeling less than, because i didn’t pay for what i know, because my father sold cars and my mother has been sick in about 80 different ways and i have been looking after her since i was child, looking after all of them like i was their servant, uneducated servant girl. There are days like today where i feel like i’m being wasted, and then like i’ve hit a wall with the amount of knowledge i have, and that i can’t go any further without more tools. I think i should go to school, but i don’t know what for. Everything?
I hate the word class, its a put down , its a compliment. You have class, you are working class, and god forbid you are middle class. I think i came from all of it. My mother grew up with money, my father with none, we collectively had some, and then none. My father tried to fit into my mothers idea of classy, and he never was, it wasn’t him. Its like spontaneous, people who say they are, never are. I work in a community where being poor is a badge of honour, being working class, even better, any thing past that and your a service provider. I don’t want to benefit from someone elses poverty but i already have, i have for years now. I also live in relative poverty, i don’t know how to live with money, i don’t know how to hang on to it, and i never have very much to hang on to. I feel somewhat ashamed of being poor, it is not a badge of honour for me, but it has provided me with a small amount of credibility and some insight into the community i have lived, worked and volunteered in for the last 15 years. I also think i have been really resourceful with not alot of resources. I imagine sometimes if i had more i could do more in the world, and then i get lassoed by my ego. I look at people i know who move in the world with such confidence and have the ability to act when they witness injustice, or have great ideas that they can put in to action. They are also people who have sufficient incomes, education, stable housing and a partner. I don’t. I have been able to act on a number of occasions in relation to projects and issues, but i haven’t been able to sustain my participation.
I’m in a writing spin, thought spin, about money, feeling less, because i have less. I know i have other things, people kindly tell me all the time, how talented i am, sending me job postings, pushing me to go to school, offering their time to flush out ideas with me about what i should do with my life. I feel well loved by my friends, they just want me to be happy, not struggle so much. I have felt a bit like a burden though, not having money, having friends who treat me a lot, knowing that. Friends who have offered their homes, when i have been without one, and being there for me and listening when i have been in pain. I’m conscious of wanting to keep things fair, i cook for friends, help them out with their kids, their gardens, their pets, and listen to them when they are struggling. I am generous with my time and skills, because it is the currency i can share. I like the barter system, it recognizes the value in work that is often undervalued, that we all have something to offer, it is also feels good to exchange goods and services outside the legal currency, the papers and coins.
I have worked in a neighborhood where charity is the dominant paradigm. I think its been helpful and devastating at the same time. To not place value on someone or something implies worthlessness. I have been doing it for years giving my time away like i’m some middle class art maven that can afford to volunteer, and i can’t. I see others giving their time away constantly, who also can’t afford to, but do, because it gives us something to do, gives us meaning, to feel needed. The devastating part of the charity in the neighborhood, and not just in my neighborhood, but all over the place is that it often does not recognize capacity. You can’t take care of yourself, so i will do it for you. I will feed you, clothe you, listen to you, and you don’t have to do anything, or be anything. The reason so many people suffer is because they feel worthless, not connected or needed in the world. I just seems like common sense to me that if someone is suffering and not feeling valuable in the world, then the best kind of giving, would be the opportunity to give back. I have seen it hundreds of times, people donating money from their welfare cheques for a man who had died to be sent home to El Salvador, another woman donating money towards the craft supplies, and so many other people, helping set up for events, helping in whatever way was necessary. Its a way to feel a part of things, not feel like a burden, to feel like we are needed and valuable human beings, and we can do that without money, we need to do that without money.
I look at this endless post today, and i realized nothing was resolved. Not like these posts are all meant to resolve something, there more like questions, but this is one i want to answer for myself. I want to answer it because the quality of my life is at stake.