I guess we all have our designated place in our friend groups, right? The funny one, the shy one, etc. Well, I guess I’m the poor one. (I might also occupy other positions, but that’s the relevant one here.)
I’m the one who has to cancel plans because I can’t afford lunch out, or I have to eat beforehand and drink water and make excuses about being on a diet.
I’m also the one who has to listen to things like “OMG, I’m so poor” from people whose income is three times what mine is. And by mine, I mean my fiance’s, because I’ve barely been working at all lately. Any money I’ve had recently has come from the Etsy shop, which is currently on vacation because…reasons, both physical and financial. Because it always comes back to the finances lately.
And I’m the one who has to hear about splurges like a $100 night at the bar in the same conversation where I just admitted how embarrassingly (and terrifyingly) small my grocery budget is.
It’s not easy to talk about this. It’s especially not easy to put this on here, where anyone can see it. But I have to get it off my chest. I can’t breathe from the weight of it.
In the past few months, I’ve been reduced to borrowing money from my fiance’s teenage sister, begging for help on the internet, borrowing from friends over and over and over again, letting my accounts be overdrawn, returning things I really wanted to keep, and probably a million other things. I’ve cried almost every day–not always about money, but more often than not.
And every time the subject comes up at home, there’s the subtext of “well, you don’t work anyway, so it’s your job to find a way to make this right.”
I just want my body to let me work. That’s all I want in life right now. I want to be able to contribute, and I want to stop being embarrassed every time I talk to or make plans with my friends. Not that I have many left at this point, after canceling plans so often because I’m broke or because I’m in too much pain or because my anxiety is too high to leave the house.
I just want it all to stop. I want to be “normal,” to not have to compare my life to my friends’. To not look at their gorgeous vacation photos while I try to figure out how I’m going to make it through a week on a dozen eggs and a jar of peanut butter.
I love my friends, and I’m happy that they have the lives they want. I just wish mine didn’t leave me feeling so beneath them, with so much to hide.