Saturday, February 21, 2009

Money Depression

In the myriad of things that pile up on me making me feel as though I cannot breath, money is definitely one of them. Funnily enough, despite the nursing shortage I did not find a job for quite some time. Well, a job I would want to take. Finally I got a great offer in a CICU at Big City Hospital. I don't start until April, which thankfully gets closer every day. I'll have benefits! And will gain immeasurable experience! I'll be challenged! But still, I graduated in August. This is a long time for a family to live without a paycheck. I'm doing a temporary stint in health education, which is fine and bringing some money in for us-- that is, if my check ever gets mailed to me.

Luckily I have a family who is willing to help me out to a certain degree, but there are a few things I have noticed about not having money as opposed to my days with money, and the most troubling is the judgement. It seems that everyone is rife to judge what I spend the little money I have on. Pay for coffee? Huh, probably could use that to go toward therapy. (Ha! And therapy itself is a judgement too, but if you've been reading here at all lately, you know how vital it is that I am there.) Bought a lotto ticket? That's a silly choice when you don't have any money. Bottle of wine? Well, don't you need milk more than that? (Of course, I do. And I'm stocked on milk right now, thanks.)

It's slightly annoying. When we had money and made big decisions about the money (house, trips, cars, fertility treatments), no one questioned those decisions. Somehow in the process of getting poor, people we know seem to assume that we have become less smart, that perhaps it's our own stupidity that caused our fall from grace. But if you know me, I don't think I'm in any danger of dumbness. Perhaps there were some unwise choices with money. Maybe the dim decision was being involved in the housing industry, but when we were pulling in bucks, no one would have questioned this.

It's a testimony, really, to how people implicitly feel about the poor, which is unfortunate. Maybe, however, it's self protective. If we believe people are poor due to some defect, we can protect ourselves from feeling it will ever happen to us. After all, we're smarter/more resilient/better savers/harder workers/etc. The problem is that there are thousands and thousands of people, more every day, who work damn hard but still can't make ends meet and lose a little ground every day.

It chafes me every day that I may not be able to buy the wee little house we found on my nursing salary. How is that one can work as a nurse, a vital profession, and not be able to afford a 975 square foot house in a modestly sized town the Midwest? I could leave Ann Arbor and perhaps afford a better living, but I want to live in this liberal town, more or less safe place, and our little quiet street. I'm not living palatially anymore. I just want to be able to qualify for and afford the mortgage on a this little blue house. How could that even be questionable while working full time in nursing?

I get angry and my stomach starts roiling. I feel annoyed with the judgement I feel from people closest to me. No one is better than me for making more money. I feel horrible to think I might have thought that way once, albeit unconsciously. I hate not having money right now. I'm pretty sure I see an end in sight, but it's a little ways off-- it certainly doesn't stop with the advent of my full-time gig.

Until then, pardon me if I continue to have a little glass of three-buck-Chuck at night while I watch my cable tv. And if you don't like that decision, I'll ask you to hold your tongue.


Blogger frog said...

That's it, exactly. If "we" are not like "they" are, "we" are not at risk for becoming "them," for becoming poor.

I fucking HATE that.

3:44 PM  

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