Are You Poorer Than Me?

Writing

I’m so sick of being poor. Yes I may have a roof over my head and food in my fridge but when you can’t decorate your rooms or make meals beyond tins of soup and sweetcorn then what’s the point? I might aswell be living in The Amazon, atleast then I’ll avoid the council tax and eyewateringly long queues at the supermarket checkout. 

 

Yes I may be whinging about a first world problem but I believe this is a key reason for my upheaval in the first place. If I did infact live in a tribe in a forest then I wouldn’t know what I’m missing necessarily. How can I miss the sight of some dope dealer sporting the latest balenciaga’s, or the gluttonous geezer buying the ‘extra special’ range in Sainsbury’s when I wouldn’t have the foggiest what either two of these concepts were? You can’t miss what you’ve never witnessed I guess. I would be comfortable and content with my relationships and my tribal lifestyle. 

 

Perhaps that’s just it, in the society I live in, less emphasis is placed on the value of social relationships, instead these are sidelined for the stars of this farcical pantomime I call life – materialism and capitalism. The terrible twins. They are the children you grimace at and purposely attempt to swap at birth, only to find them crawling and clambering their way into your back pocket as you exit the hospital. 

 

My experience living in London has made me reevaluate my perspectives on numerous things, none moreso that the value I myself place on money. Putting it short and sweetly, I now understand why some people may force themselves to do things others may deem shameful. For example, we can all hold our heads high, point our noses in the air, as we scoff at the single mum shaking what God (or her surgeon)  gave her in a strip club. But you put yourself in her 6 inch stilettos for merely a second and maybe then you would begin to empathise and understand that she may have a young mouth to feed on her own. Why? Because the dad walked out as soon as he found out she was pregnant. And let’s face it city ‘living wages’ need to be rephrased as city ‘suffocating wages’. Unless you are in the finance sector or as old as time itself then I’m afraid for the rest of us, youth and inexperience comes as a pretty big financial burden. 

 

I ask myself – why did I move to this city? A question which is becoming worryingly frequent. I’m from a small town in the middle of Northern Ireland, the rent I pay in London could have me living in two places twice the size back in a rural setting, so why am I here? 

 

The old line of ‘there’s loads more opportunities’ is becoming undone, fraying and feeling further from reality. Yes, there may technically be more ‘opportunities’ but let’s face it, no one’s going to throw me a wad of £50’s to take up the opportunity to soak up a West End show, or meetings with top CEOs. Unless ofcourse I turn to sugarbabying, which is a completely different can of worms I wish not open in this moment. 

 

Today, I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wards away threatening voices in their mind’s eye, tempting them to smash open their piggy bank into a million little pieces, only to find not much more than a hundred little pennies in the remnants of Mr piggy’s once round stomach. Financial hardship makes itself known to all of us at some stage in our lives, I have no doubt, but I say it has outstayed its welcome. So my question now is, how do I kick them out?

Rid them from my minimalist overpriced matchbox flat, where the walls lay bare out of fear that I may maim it’s clinical appearance with so much as a smudge of a marker, or stain from a sticker. Landlords in cities like London make Sherlock Holmes look like a babbling unobservant buffoon when it comes to hunting down the most miniscule of marks on a tenants leaving day, wouldn’t you agree?

 

And with this thought lingering I wonder whether I should indeed make myself scarce of it’s confinements, escaping the financial restrictions once and for all and bid this city goodbye. 

Home: Rent Or Buy Which Is Best?

Writing

As I wipe a tear from my eye each month as I watch more than ¾ of my salary fly out the window towards the cost of renting here in London, I ask myself – is it all worth it?!

 

This matchbox size of an apartment, does it really warrant the equivalent cost of a very expensive bottle of Brut annually? I think not. On a salary so low I’ve considered donating a kidney and a neat little portion of the liver to the black market, I have no choice but to rent.

 

I’d love to own my own home there’s just no feasible way I could afford to buy a property outright. And it seems with the way renting is going, savings will quite simply a foreign word for the next decade of my tender life. But before you pack away your violin too quickly, I’ll give you another reason why renting is the bane of my life – the landlord!

 

Yes you thief of the night, if you’re reading this please note that I love the fact that you send your builders round at the crack of dawn to fix blinds I requested fixing months previously. I love how you put the rent up year on year despite the conditions of the flat deteriorating daily! And last but not least, I love how you walked in on me while squatting on the loo and proceeded to tamper with the fire alarm and ask me how my day at work was in the process. Ahhh renting, don’t worry, you’ll never be alone, your landlord is practically your flatmate! Who’s only nice to you when you hand over the remaining entrails of Mr. Piggy.

 

All I can say is – please God, let me win the lottery soon!

Peanuts To A Monkey

Writing

They say religion is used to control the masses when really the truth is that it’s money.

We give value to pieces of paper and metal, to invisible numbers forever changing in our online accounts. As humans, as a society, we have given value to something which if you really think about it is valueless. You might as well pick up a leaf next and start paying your taxes with it.

Money – evolved as a means of bartering and trading now as a status of power and segregation of class by wealth. I wonder to myself, what would the world be like if we didn’t have money? Not just you or I, but all of us. With no monetary value placed on materialistic items would capitalistic attitudes and habits of consumerism simply dissipate? Would we instead put value into the relationships we form, into the experiences we have? Would we see people for who they are, not what they have? Or is this Utopian dream merely deemed a damnation, a falsehood which would never truly grow wings?

It saddens me that society decides the value of a person not by their own morals or merits, but  by the numbers in their bank account. I ask myself where did this all start, how did it all begin? And for this we must look at the psychology behind what it means to place value on something.

The psychology behind value – post up tomorrow.

Poem – My Red Mustang

Writing

Counting the pennies,

I just helped rescue from the jar.

It won’t be too long,

Till they’re exchanged for a car.

 

A red shiny mustang,

With matching interior.

With a waxwork shine so dazzling.

Making all other dull cars look inferior.

 

Counting the pennies in the jar.

I won’t have to count for too long.

For mum’s just turned out the lights.

So my red mustang will be but a dream once more.

Why You & I Both Hate Shopping

Writing

Nothing sinks my heart further into the pit of my stomach than the sight of two mums fighting over the same cable-knit jumper in the ‘Winter’ aisle, or better yet, one of them fighting with yours truly. Not that I would ever buy a cable-knit jumper or anything remotely resembling it but the point still holds, going clothes shopping is like going off to war. Left, right and centre you have the fear of God struck into you by the bullish and brutish ways of the everyday shopper.

I’m not saying every passerby has their heart set on making my shopping experience a living misery, but I am saying that there are a modest few that do, and don’t they do their damndest! Here are 5 of my favourite worse case scenarios when it comes to getting the groceries in:

  1. The Fitting Rooms

You think trying on clothes in a fitting room would be a very ‘individual’ sport (unless ofcourse  you’re one of these people who takes baths with their dogs and showers with their neighbours). Atleast it’s meant to be a solo activity until you are at your most vulnerable, as naked as the day you were born and the changing room curtain suddenly wafts open thanks to the ever-so-speedy shop assistant who keeps racing up and down the changing room corridors collecting coat hangers. The curtains billow as if a tornado has just graced us with its presence all in while your modesty as a result goes out the window. Cheers coat hanger girl, your wind gush running really made my day!

  1. Have A Good Look

Picture reading the tiniest of fonts on a label the size of a postage stamp, you focus with great intent, eyes squinting, beads of sweat drip from your forehead. You need these details! Success! You’ve read that the item isn’t machine washable so you turn to head away from the product only you find yourself cornered from all sides by blank, expressionless, unfamiliar faces. That’s right just as you decided to read the label so too did 5 other people who had nothing better to do with their lives in that moment than to make you feel small and trapped in your little local mall.

  1. The Awkward Shuffle

Shopping aisles are no place for claustrophobe’s or anyone who isn’t the width of a shoestring by all accounts. We’ve all been there, heading down the aisle, opposite traffic is on the move towards us fast and steady, we panic, which side to choose? Too late, you and the geriatric have both went left when you quite clearly should’ve went right. You almost clash heads, it could’ve been worse, it could’ve been the lips. This happens to me all the time, I always awkwardly do the same shaky shuffle as I desperately try and dodge another body only to find myself grazing mine against theirs in the most inconvenient of manners. I’m sure you can share this embarrassment atleast once in your life, that is ofcourse if you dare to venture beyond your welcome doormat once in a blue moon. 

  1. Walk The Line

I know that good things come to those who wait but when you’re waiting in line and have an unruly kid upfront and 2 gossiping grannies behind you really do have to weigh up the need to even buy food or clothing at all sometimes. It’s times like this I wish I could just abort the mission of trying to live in a civilised society and run off to the Amazon.

  1. The Cashier

I don’t care if I’m the 250th person you’ve asked ‘would you like a bag?’ to, is it too much to ask that you don’t look like you’ve sucked all the lemons down the fruit and veg aisle? What is with some people that they can’t just fake a smile once in a while even if they’re dying inside? Why does the curse of lethargy and snark strike just as I step up to pay for my camel toe inducing leggings and bottle green V-neck? Check yourself out check out girl! Or I wanna see your damn manager!

 

So tell me, am I being overdramatic or does shopping turn out to be full scale warfare in your eyes also? Let’s just say, I totally get why Amazon has become a multi-billion dollar company.

 

 

food man person eating job hunting emotional stages

The Erratic Emotional Stages Of The Jobhunt

Writing

Whether you lost your job for screaming at your manager who took the risk and asked you to staple the meeting pack together on one of your ‘fragile’ days, or, you quite simply swanned out the door without slamming it (as I would’ve done). The matter of the fact is, finding that next job can be a challenging experience to say the least, and arguably moreso than what it takes to lose a job. With the fear of financial instability looming over you, but the pull of  pursuing a passion prompting you, there’s no doubt about it, the emotional journey of a jobhunter makes that of a perimenopausal female look quite poised.

Let’s have a quick glance at the stages you have to look forward to, don’t worry, we’ve all been there:

1) Week 1, As proud as punch – high fives all round as you sashay out the door, you my friend have just swerved the possibility of a blue-rinse and dentures while still tap tap tapping on the keys of this shabby office’s keyboard. You beam with pride as you think of the endless and limitless possibilities that lay before you. The world is your b*tch now!

2) Month 1, Curiosity killed the cat – It’s been 4 weeks since the walkout, you spent a week surfing in Marbella, got a grocery shop in and bought some new skirting board for the back bedroom. Perhaps it’s time to have a browse on Indeed.com you pensively ask yourself. Scrolling and scrolling you spontaneously investigate roles you never heard of: injured stunt dolphin rescuer, butter churner, seat warmer. All jobs you turn your nose up at, you, my friend,  have your eyes set on bigger prizes. You know you want to be the next Tom Cruise, you fantasise picking up that academy award, you recite your thank you speech in the mirror daily. Scrolling for office jobs and dog walking opportunities just isn’t cutting the mustard you say.

3) Month 1.5, If your dreams don’t scare you then they aren’t big enough – Being repulsed by the latest searches Google as splurted up and bored of TV repeats, you embark on a bit of work experience to get you that one step closer to being Tom Cruise’s next biggest threat. AA – Actors Anonymous pops up and you attend every Friday. Adding it to your CV alongside the Christmas play you performed in at age 12 and the extra on the cereal commercial last year. Things are looking up.

4) Month 2, Sh*t Sh*t Sh*t where’s all my money gone? – The piggy bank looks rather tempting to crack open at this stage, you look at your bank balance and realise that it will only make do for another month once bills and rent are taken out. What now? Suddenly the butter churner idea seems like a God sent. Back onto the job sites you go only to find the churner role has been snapped up, you lower your standards in desperation and start wildly applying to every job left, right and centre. CEO, Account Executive, Senior Director…….everything under the sun is getting a look in at this stage. Tom Cruise is all but a faded figure in your escaping memory of hopes and ambitions, your rent won’t pay itself you pitifully murmur to yourself.

5) Month 2.5, Bullsh*tter of the year goes to…. – you bag some interviews, none of which are remotely related to acting but necessity brings you right back to the place you didn’t want to be – fearful of your finances. Now it really is time to act, you practice the reasons why you really like the role, why you’re a fan of the company, why the position is a good fit. The question now is……do you proceed with the interview?

Why do we let money rule our lives, why do we let money ruin our lives?

5 Short Courses That Could Save You Money.

Writing

Money can be tight sometimes, but before you get the hammer out to smash open Mr. piggy bank, let’s take a look at some courses which may cost you a bob or two today but may save you a fortune down the line:

1) Embroidery courses – so maybe you don’t fancy yourself holding a pair of knitting needles anytime soon, but do you think that button missing mid-way down your shirt is going to sew itself? Learning to mend clothing and other materials (a tear in the tablecloth, the stitching in your child’s teddy bear) may save you on forking up on another shirt for the sake of a few buttons or teddy to pacify the fidgeting toddler. Example 1, Example 2.

2) Bike Repair – Is the fear of encountering a tyre puncture or a broken gear while en route putting you off  cycling to and from work? If so, then fear no more, think of the amount of money you could save on the commute, why not throw yourself into a repair workshop where I’m sure you’ll pick up a range of tricks and tips for fixing bicycles issues. Or maybe even use the hints to fix your children’s as you teach them how to ride a bike for the first time. The bike will definitely need some TLC as you accidentally push you kid so hard that they crash into a tree. Yes, my dad did that to me! Example 1.

3) Cooking Classes – Perhaps you never paid attention to grandma’s recipes growing up and now you’re paying the price, quite literally,  as you often buy lunch out from fear of poisoning yourself from your lack of culinary know-how. If you want to learn how to make a decent pack lunch for yourself, how to balance meals, how to budget plan for meals or how to maybe even COOK meals then a cookery class may not be completely out of the question? Example 1, Example 2, Example 3.

4) D.I.Y. Workshops – Not much of a handyman? Not to worry, soon you’ll be sprucing up the kitchen with a lick of paint and re-aligning that dodgy picture your uncle gave you as a Christmas present in the front hall. Think of the amount of money you could save in all seriousness just by picking up a few small hints. Example 1, Example 2.

5)  Finance Classes – Not as intimidating as it sounds, perhaps the root of all of our financial problems isn’t that we don’t have substantial funds but maybe because we just aren’t handling our money correctly? Budgeting tips, what future planning and saving schemes are out there? Checking if you’re eligible for certain bursaries or whether you’re even registered in the correct brackets for certain financial circumstances may be incredibly useful in the long-run. Example 1, Example 2.

 

I hope these 5 were helpful, yes, it could be argued that all of the above can be resolved by a bit of YouTubing but where’s the fun in that? You don’t get to meet people while learning a cross stitch and you certainly don’t get the reward factor of helping someone peel a carrot or vice versa!. So give it a go!