It was only after the cashier declined my card that I checked my balance. Having -$76.61 in your account instantly kills the mood of any evening. It’s this pain that eats away at your insides without you noticing.
When you’re broke and young, people tell you that’s the way it is. You’re busy paying student loans and making mistakes. Fuck that. It’s shit not being able to support yourself, to do what you love, to buy a fucking cookie for your girlfriend.
Poor is when American turns to American’t. I have friends that Harry Potter’d and slept in a closet beneath the stairs. I have friends who had to drop out of school because it was a choice between being homeless and a job. I have friends who were making money to support their families at 16 while juggling class and a dead-end job. They still had to pay rent.
When a bank account punches you in the gut, you’re forced to make decisions. How little can someone eat? Can I live on the couch? It’s the feeling you get when your house is 50 degrees because you can’t turn on the heat. Then you find out that the heat pump is broken anyways because the landlords were cutting corners and you can’t help but laugh.
It’s the hatred you feel to people you don’t even know. People that cashed your check too soon or too late. You swear you had a paycheck coming in. Your package was stolen from in front of your door. It really wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t. You tell yourself. It wasn’t. No one gives a shit. Houses are made on the bones of debt.
It’s the sleep you get when you park your car at a Walmart. You’ve run out of couches to sleep on. You’re about to run out of gas. But you need to tell yourself to push the damn car. Run until your feet bleed. Crawl. Fucking crawl.
But this is being an adult right? You’ve just got to let it happen. Taking three jobs that don’t pay so you can get one job that lets you go after a week. Exposure. We’ll pay you when we get funding. Sorry.
Fuck that. I don’t want to sell your drug. Because in the end it’s all just different kinds of drugs: coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, porn, weed, financial software. It’s all the same in different forms. Money. Not really contributing to anything but continuing addiction. Work. Netflix. Sleep. Repeat.
Turn off, tune out, pick up. Pick up work wherever you can. Forget about it. It’s fine. Everything’s okay. Dreams are something you do when you finally can sleep. Insomnia comes from having energy. You’re not struggling. All you know is happy smiling faces staring from your glowing screen. Beautiful complete people. Social media doesn’t cost a dime.
You tell yourself it’s concentration you lack. It’s the weight that you gained, or the hair that you’re losing. The bald spot no one knows about that you nervously pick at. The acne scars on your face from believing that you can fix it by digging deeper. That’s bullshit.
What you’re scared of telling yourself is that the burnt toast you had this morning, or the parking ticket you got, or the car that splashed you in the rain like you’re in a fucking rom com is all meant to move you.
This pain, this deep-seated millennial anguish blue-period starving in the streets of America pain, is energy. Let it feed you. When you’re as close to as dead as possible, you find inches of life. This is why I’m not worried:
- I can eat full meals on less than $75/mo. I will not starve.
- I have family and friends who support me. I will not freeze.
- I do not have health problems. I will not die.
- I have access to the world. I will learn. I will create. I will connect.
Many do not have these things. Many have less in their bank account. Many let worries consume them and stop dreaming. Give me time. I will not. ER.