Shut Out

Being poor means you get shut out of so many things.  For instance I'm a member of an online group of women who all got together when we were pregnant with our Jan 98 babies or shortly after they were born.  I've only ever met one of these women but I've know the rest for 17 years now.  They are a wonderful bunch of women but I always feel like an outsider in the group.  One reason is most of them are from the US and the Canadian ones are all from Toronto and Nova Scotia and PEI.  So not close to me at all geographically. 

What really makes me feel like an outsider is when they plan gatherings.  Yes, these women travel to places and get together every couple of years.  I have never been able to afford to go.  I can't invite them here either because our little town has nothing in the way of amenities or fun things to do.  Most of these women would not enjoy any type of outdoors activity like hiking or camping and that would be all my budget could allow.   We don't have water parks or museums or much of anything that a tourist would enjoy seeing or doing so having a gathering in my area is not going to happen.

Even with my own family I'm left at the curb because they take trips together and I don't go because we can't afford it.  They have never once asked if I could suggest something that we could afford to do and then we all could do it.  No one is interested in staying home and playing board games and I don't blame them.  It's just sad and depressing not to be able to socialize with people.  I want to hang out and do things but I can't even afford the gas to go places. 

This summer has been such a huge struggle both financially and emotionally for me.  I want to do things but I can't.  The kids want to have a holiday like everyone else has but they never get one except for a couple days of camping and now that they are teens they don't want to go camping anymore especially with their parents.

I thought living frugally was kind of cool at first.  We lived on so little and we got to spend lots of time with our kids.  We cooked from scratch, line dried our clothing and made do and mend.  We didn't have to have expensive clothing or stuff cause no one really needs that?  But over time the frugal life style is only good if you aren't so poor you have to be frugal because you don't actually have any money.  It's no fun to know that the roof on your house is going to need to be replaced soon because it's 17 years old and is looking pretty bad.  It's scary to worry about how you will possibly afford that and pray every time it rains that your roof doesn't leak especially in winter.  It's scary to have only one car and not be able to maintain it so it gets run down and things break on it like the a/c and you can't afford to get it fixed.  You contemplate how much worse your life will be if your car stops working and you have to walk everywhere or take a bus.  The buses only run a few times a day so you may have to leave many hours before you need to get somewhere or wait many hours to catch a bus to go home.  There may not even be a bus stop close to where you need to go.  You could walk or ride a bike in the summer but when it's 40C out there I doubt I'd get very far before I passed out from heat stroke.  Winter won't be much better.

So I stress and worry because I have no power to do anything else.  We have sold most of the things we can do without.  We own very little that is new or worth anything.  I've looked for jobs but no one is hiring and when they are they don't want a woman my age who hasn't worked in 20 years.  I'm tired, stressed and worn down.  That's what being poor does to people.  It takes away your hope.


Birdie said…
I spent so many years living in poverty. It is only since I started working in Home Support that I have extras. Living in poverty just sits with you and festers. It never goes away and lets you catch your breath. Getting groceries, even just bread and milk was a gamble. Was the debit machine going to say INSUF FUNDS again?
Maybe things will get better when your kids leave. Having my son gone made me realize how much we were spending on groceries.
Is going back to school an option for you?
Sparkless said…
Birdie, I would love to go back to school but once again I can't afford it. There is nothing worthwhile in courses offered here unless I want to be a mechanic or secretary. Not saying those are horrible jobs but just not ones I have any skill in. My typing skills are horrible because I have no hand eye coordination. I couldn't bend all day fixing cars at my age either. Plus all these courses cost money we don't have. We can't have any more debt or we literally will not be able to pay our bills, it's touch and go now as it is.

I think I'll sit on the corner and sell lemonade or maybe read tarot cards or something. Too bad I don't have any lemonade or tarot cards.
christina said…
Perhaps you could pick up a part time job? Put half of your earnings in savings,use the other half for whatever. I live in B.C too, I know how hard it is to just make ends meet here.
christina said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparkless said…
Hi Christina, welcome to my crazy blog. I have been looking for a part-time job and would love to find one but there are so few of them and they don't seem to want to hire an older woman for part-time work. They see I have one of those useless University degrees and they think I won't stick around so they don't hire me. Or maybe there's another reason they don't want to hire me. I have had my resume, what little there is of it looked at by the people at the skills center and they said it was good. In small towns you pretty much have to be related to someone or be friends with someone they know to get hired. So far I haven't found a job with any of my relatives or friends, unfortunately I'm not well connected enough in this town.
I'll keep looking though, sooner or later something has to show up, right?
Birdie said…
It is so hard in this province. For most, there are no options at all. We can hold our breath that things will change with this coming election but even if the Conservatives are not a majority government we have a long way until things improve.

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