Money is something that I have a very complicated relationship with, I’m guessing I’m probably not alone in this. Like with food it’s one of those things in life that you can’t just avoid or ignore, it’s part of life and you have to try and have a good and healthy relationship with it.
We were never rich growing up but there was always food on the table and a warm bed to get into at night. We didn’t have nice holidays or new toys all the time and we were the family who had to walk and bus everywhere whilst the neighbours turned a blind eye and got into their cars to travel, quite often to the same place we were heading but that was OK, it definitely could of been worse and I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.
My relationship with money actually took a very dark turn when I was 18 and I travelled to New Zealand for a gap year. My gran had very kindly paid for the flights and I was going to be staying and volunteering at a local school so I didn’t think I would have to worry about money. I had saved about £700 in my bank account from working weekends as a waitress at a local pub and to me that was a lot of money, I’d be fine and for the most part things were fine.
Once the summer holidays came the people I was volunteering with wanted to travel to Australia, off we went and again I didn’t really think much about 3 weeks away. About half way through the holiday I completely ran out of money and I became reliant completely on the people I was travelling with, this was not good.
One of them made me feel like the smallest piece of dirt every time we had to get lunch or pop into a supermarket and she had to contribute a bit extra to help me out. I’m not talking about big posh dinners now, I’m talking about a pot noodle or a sandwich, literally enough to survive on. The other – who was an ex boyfriend – basically made me feel indebted to him and like I had to get back with him and be with him to justify what he was giving to me. I felt so grateful at the time that he wasn’t leaving me penniless, I probably would of done anything he asked. It really was one of the lowest points of my entire life and I wish I could of been stronger but at the time I just wasn’t. My OCD was bad and my life experience was just non existent, now I look back I was scarily vulnerable and it makes me so sad.
Fast forward to when I came home and off I went to university, because isn’t that what every teenager does? I still had no money and was in a terrible mental space because of my OCD. I remember one winter I didn’t even have money for shoes and so wore my flip flops, man it was cold. I used to eat rice, frozen veg and tinned tuna every day as it was all I could afford. I eventually dropped out of university as I was spiralling downhill very quickly and pretty much moved in with the aforementioned ex. I’m sad to report that it took me about 5 years to start to build myself up again after going through multiple toxic relationships and jobs.
There are probably many issues I need to deal with from this situation but for now I’m focusing on the money. I guess it is unsurprising that I now have an obsessive relationship with money, checking my bank account a lot and keeping spreadsheets of every transaction. Of course this behaviour is not healthy for me and I’ve reached a point currently where it is completely unnecessary. I shouldn’t have to look at my bank account all the time and so I am going to try not to.
In fact I am going to try and not look at my bank for a year!
Yes that’s right, one whole year. Personally I will be amazed if I can do this but man I would love to so I’m going to try. I will keep you posted.
It makes me sad that so much of modern life revolves around money, we can loose so much of ourselves in the quest for it. It can give other people significant power over us and make us feel unworthy and less than.
Writing this blog post has been tougher then I thought and it’s bought up more issues then I expected but I’m glad I’ve managed to make a start on unpicking some of my yucky past. I hate looking back as it makes me so sad but if I don’t how else will I heal?
Stay Strong xxx