Its hilarious to me how everybody and their asshole seems to have an opinion about how poor people should manage their finances.
If you’re so poor, why do you have a laptop? If you’re so poor, why do you have a phone? A fridge? A cat? A television? Why aren’t you working? Why are you working so little? Why do you eat out? Why don’t you cook more? Why do you spend anything on yourself? Why don’t you get an education? Why don’t you get a better job?
Listen to me: if you don’t know everything about someone’s situation, you are not in a position to judge anyone else.
Do you know what’s required to function at the level that we routinely expect people to function??
The mental strength that is required to endure endless amounts of penury and hardship, to deny yourself all pleasures in service of achieving your goal, to be able to work that hard each day and keep it together enough to wake up the next morning and do it all over again? What it takes to endure that life if you don’t have that mental strength, but you have to do it anyway for the sake of your own survival — for the survival of the people who depend on you?
The absolute fortitude it takes to simply exist when you are facing the hardships that we routinely foist on poor people, in this society? How dare we judge someone for not being able to thrive, when they already are so burdened?
Poverty means not ever having known the feeling of living in safety. Knowing that whatever you have might be ripped out from under you at any time.
Poverty means having to live without the protections that more well-do-to people have the means to access — it means not having a guaranteed roof over your head, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, not knowing where to go if you fall ill, not being able to rely on anyone for help if something drastic happens.
Poverty often means that everyone else you know is poor, too. Which means you likely know someone worse off than you, and you are probably helping them out with any extra cash you have, if you ever have any. Which means that it is nearly impossible to save any money — which means that you can very easily find yourself destitute.
Poverty means that you are living with about fifty times the stress of a person who has always felt safe, sheltered, and protected — that you can’t help but feel powerless, because experience has taught you that there’s very little you can do if life decides to slap you around.
And that stress means that you are much less able to do all those great glorious grand things that an ignorant bystander suggests that you do to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. That level of stress means that there are things that you might not be able to deny yourself, even if you don’t have the means to have them. Rest and relaxation are not luxuries; they are necessities. Even a person without means deserves a chance to do something that calms their nerves. A person who is terrified every night that their next paycheck might not cover the cost of groceries — well, even they have a right to watch a damn movie, once in a while, if it helps take their mind off things for an hour.
Mental health is a prerequisite for living in this world, do you hear me?
Don’t ever judge anyone for doing what they need to do to feel sane, in an insane situation.