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The Guilt of the Poor

Fucking money and all the shit that comes with it. Or in my case, that comes with the lack of it.


Well, I’m broke. To the degree where I’ve had to borrow money for rent two months in a row and I am raiding my parent’s fridge when I visit them. It’s horrible and makes me feel like the smallest person in the world, a complete failure of a human being, a waste of space. When I can’t even pay rent, then what on earth makes me think that I’m not just a massive burden on everyone. It’s terrible.

I have had to come to terms with the fact that I’m sick. I’m permanently sick which means that there are several things that just doesn’t apply to me. I can’t become whatever I want. I can’t just buckle down and power through it. The sky is not the limit for me, it’s more like the fourth floor, if I try really hard and can survive a couple of weeks in bed.

It leaves me in shitty situations all the time and it’s a constant struggle to get out of. I’m, obviously, not anywhere near having my head above water. Now, I’m not trying to place any kind of blame on the diagnosis, I have had plenty of opportunity to fix my situation, but I’m also a derp with slight impulse-control issues. I make awful decisions, I have done a fair amount of self sabotage and I have valued my ego more than anything else. I’m dealing with the consequences of that now and responsibility is entirely on my own shoulders.

However, I still have to live. Not just survive, but live. I would rather eat glass than have to borrow even more money, but I don’t really have a choice. I can’t just sign out of society and live in a forest somewhere. You know what would make that option possible? Money. For fucks sake.

The guilt is the worst. I feel the need to justify every single thing I do, not only to myself, but to everyone around me, even if it’s not entirely necessary. I go out and do things that I feel like I really shouldn’t, I should stay at home and look for jobs and not pay for coffee I can’t afford, or a train ticket, or a movie, or anything else. I still do these things, because my friends pay for me, and because I sometimes do the food-math and calculate how much I would have to cut out of that budget, to be able to get coffee with a friend somewhere in the city.

A few weeks back I went to get my medicine, which I borrowed money for, with my kid. It was in a shopping mall and he usually get’s something to eat when he’s there. He really wanted a hotdog and I couldn’t bear to not give him something so small. They cost 10DKR ($1.5) and I did the math again. He got one, I didn’t, and this little kid looked at me and asked when was the last time I had something to eat. He told me that I had become the skinniest person in the world while wrapping his tiny arms around my waist. It made me sick to my stomach and I had to use every single bit of self-control to not just burst into tears.

It’s not true, I’m not skinny but a perfectly healthy size. I eat, but not a lot, because I’m not hungry. But to be honest, I’m rarely hungry because I’ve gotten used to not eating, because I haven’t got the money for it. I’ve valued doing things with my kid and with my friends more than food, and it’s a decision I don’t regret. But my kid still said that. It’s most likely something he picked up from my best friend, who made a comment about how much I ate at some point, it just hurt so much. I don’t ever want my kid to worry about something like that.

This particular month is worse than usual. I’ve spent four days in London and today I’m flying out to Rome for two.

I didn’t pay for the trip to London. I threw up the morning I was leaving, because I felt so disgusted with myself. I cried in the shower and considered staying home, just to get rid of the guilt, to avoid the looks and judgement from people when they found out, because how the hell could I afford that? I couldn’t. Having to explain that to people, that’s damn near impossible, it sounds like a bad lie to cover up basically conning money out of my friends. There was a few hiccups with transport to and from the airport when I got there, which meant I had to get help to pay for getting home.

I paid for the flight to Rome back when I could afford it. It was basically nothing and at the time I thought that I had the money for it. When shit hit the fan and I realized how fucked I was, I wasn’t able to get a refund, because flight tickets on sale are non-refundable so close to departure. I decided to go anyway. Because I also want to live. I am at the completely mercy of the friend I’m meeting there, which means that I am still considering cancelling this one too.

I am terrified of the judgment I will undoubtedly get from doing this. I am so scared that people will think I’m lying and I’m just a lazy fuck that would rather leech on other people than actually go out and earn money.

I feel so guilty that I’m nauseous all the time. It might be a blessing in disguise, because constant nausea means that I’m even less hungry than usual, and that saves me money.

I’m not a special snowflake. This is not something unusual at all, there are so many people who are in the same situation as me. And I guarantee you, they all feel exactly the same way as I do. They are nauseous, they avoid social situations that costs money, they hide things they do because they don’t want to be judged, they are wrapped in a constant cloud of guilt and self-hatred.

This is perhaps the hardest thing I’ve written so far. I feel like it’s a giant excuse, that it’s a way to cover my ass for being the leaching low-life that people see me as. It’s scary and I don’t even have a real point to wrap it up with, but I think it’s important. I questions my motives for writing it, for letting people know just how intensely sucky it is to be stuck here, but it still feels important. I’m putting that feeling above my ego and my pride.

But please, I beg of you, don’t give us pity. Don’t do the head-tilt and the raising the voice by half an octave, don’t grab our arm and squeeze it. It hurts, even though you have the best intentions. Tell us that things will get better, tell us that it doesn’t matter, tell us that you still love us, but don’t pity us. It hurts our pride, which might seem very silly.

But pride is the only thing a lot of us have left and we are rationing it out as best we can.



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