How hard is it for people to understand that not everyone was born with new shoes on their feet and spoons of good food in their mouths? When will you understand what I mean when I say I'm broke?
I was born into a poor household, because my father worked when it suited him and used his wages for his own luxuries while my mother wasted herself away being nothing more than a mother until we all grew up and she faded into the memory of mum. I went to school without the full lunchboxes that my friends stuffed their fat traps with, I wore worn out shoes because it would cost too much money to buy new ones. Days without washing powder, without heating, without toilet roll. Weeks with no living room light because the bulbs had burnt out, weeks watching mum wash clothes in the bath tub because a new washing machine was something we had to beg and force out of my dads money box.
So I learnt fast that if I was to stand up in this world then it would be alone, if I was to make anything of myself and better my circumstances it would be by whatever means I had. As a woman I had two options: To marry well, or to educate myself. As a plain and shy girl when I made this decision (and being born in 1993, not the 1800's) I chose to be independent. I fight my causes, I work hard, I push forwards. When I eat it's with food I've bought myself, when I keep warm its with electricity and gas that I have paid towards having, and when I go to bed each night it's after checking I have enough money to make it through the next day.
I have luxuries when I can, luxuries I've earned, but of course there comes periods of being poor, people in my situation with my sort of family will always hit these times at least until I have finished my education and risen above this life. Money is always precious to me, it's never certain and I am constantly aware of its easy disappearance. When I sometimes hit these weeks or months of living on beans on toast until pay day I don't budge. When I say I have no money to have fun or to waste I'm not being a prude who's being careful with savings, I'm being a poor person who wants to eat for the next few weeks.
I haven't got parents who put the dinner on the table or make sure I can get lunch that day. Any expenditure I have to deal with, is literally dealt by me. If I am driven to borrowing money for weekly food shopping from my dad it's exactly that-borrowing. I must give that back, I am in debt and it's a debt I will be reminded of regularly. I don't have help, I rely on myself and I know and understand the reality of being poor. I know you likely don't understand because I don't know any one other than my own brothers who have lived this life. Everyone I know is looked after much better than I have ever been. A hardship to some of you is being unable to go on that holiday you wanted or not affording the jeans you want, or maybe you need your parents to help you pay your car insurance this time round, but for me, a hardship is wondering if I have enough money for bus fare to work every weekend, counting up how many days you can live off beans or noodles. I am a student, I took this on to better myself, and I have no help. So don't nag me, don't judge or shrug off my situation. In a couple of weeks I'll get my wages and I'll be able to eat something good and substantial, but right now I'm living on air, the little that's left in my purse and my own determination.