remembrance of a bougie wallet

why

 

I couldn’t figure out my camera for a sec here, but I feel like this is an apt image for what I want to write about, or rather what I want to question. This pic reminds me of Victorian pics, and when I think of those I immediately think of those creepy tricks where people appear to be ghosts. Something to do with aperture or something I don’t know and don’t care. The thing is; it looks kinda creepy and desolate to me. It emanates what I’ve been feeling these past months. I know I need not remind you, if you’ve been following me through this time anyway, that I’ve had a lot of money issues. Wait! This post isn’t going to be me whining about being broke yet again. Just wait a little. The thing is, that it struck me recently, that not having money has been making me feel really, really, most incredibly worthless. Of course in part that’s due to feeling restricted immensely, but I’ve come to wonder; is it really only that?

We all know that commercials and increasingly so the media in general is focused on selling us things as a, or probably the only, way towards happiness. And so you buy a little something here and there an you get some momentary happiness and you know it won’t cause you true joy but you enjoy it anyway. Eventually you toss it aside and wait for a new trinket that will make you breathe again just for a sec. You just move on, go through the motions and don’t really notice the amount of venom that’s being injected into us day by day via commercials, secret product placement, magazines and the internet alike (Treat! Yo! Self! p.s. for something more in-depth on this internet phenomenon you need to check out the convo Beth and I had in Doll Hospital Journal! Here’s our kickstater!). But what if you’re on the opposite of that spectrum? Is it so that you just shrug it off and try not to look at it, or is it rather that more and more these ads tell you, that you, you penniless worthless human being have no right to shop and therefore right to live? What is life but consuming? To shop is to live. (I’m not trying to be deep here.)

That is how I’ve been feeling. And I need to unlearn this, but how do I do this when I cannot escape even the littlest part of this? To survive I cannot escape buying food and other necessities, to do this I cannot escape any kind of consumerist imagery. And furthermore, I am a commodity myself. I am here for you to consume me, and I consume you.

The thing is, I am still broke, and I think I’ll be so for a long while; our new right-winged government took care of that. So all I can do is learn to live with it. I am scrounging and sometimes shamefully check empty lockers for which you need to put a euro in, I look at the floors a lot, I panic when 5 cents falls out of my purse. Two years ago I found a wallet at the art exhibit I was working at, I looked inside and saw 200 euros, I felt feverish and panicked because I couldn’t buy my own food back then (still, actually), all these people are upper-class bougie folks anyway, I thought. Stealing it crossed my mind for exactly 0.02 seconds. But I was raised to be painfully honest. So I stuck the wallet in my purse, afraid the co-workers I hardly knew might think up of some devious plan and waited till the bougie folks came back. When they saw me pulling their wallet out of my own purse they had a righteous and disgusted look in their eyes. To this day I still think, I should’ve fucking stolen that bougie wallet. What would they have used it on? A silk ascot?

But all of this I need to unlearn. But how? Can you help me? Can anyone help anyone out of this system? Can we help each other?

3 Comments

  • I used to love buying small things and shopping to make me happy but one day I bought a £2 skirt which I liked and never wore it. I felt so bad that it sort of imprinted on me and I stopped spending money on anything. I almost never buy anything that isn’t necessary now. Actually to an unhealthy point sometimes because I have avoided buying food unless it is THE CHEAPEST POSSIBLE and I’ve waited to eat until I can get home even when I’ve been really hungry sometimes. But nowadays I find so much joy in making my own rich experiences, like going for walks and making drawings and things. Those are things that make me so happy, and they’re free. Spending money makes me feel nervous. It kinda makes me feel unsafe? idk. I’ve found so many ways to enjoy the things around me that don’t cost money! It’s tough though… money controls so much. I’m kinda scared of it.

  • Oh this is everything. Yes!

    Having £0 since September has impacted on my mental health in ways that are not logical or expected, I guess money symbolises a sort of freedom, a quiet superpower that I lack. There is a shooting star gif on tumblr and I look at it nearly ever day and wish for financial stability.I don’t know why it upsets me quite so much but I find my situation to be an incredibly stressful spectre in my life? Always there, always present, a sort of monster, poltergeist type thing.

    Also in regards to Victorian photos have you seen these ones of mothers pretending to be furniture? (I can’t remember if I showed you before) I find them incredibly traumatic in ways I can’t quite explain!

    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2013/dec/02/hidden-mothers-victorian-photography-in-pictures

    • Yes, I feel the same, it’s such a huge load. But in a world that continually tells you you have to buy stuff in order to be so and so and so and so and also happy, and when you cannot even participate in that in the slightest way possible, then what are you? Nothing? You don’t have the right to exist. And I think money not only symbolises freedom but is in fact, pure and total freedom (in our society anyway).

      Anyway, I try not to think about it so much anymore (not easy lol). Whenever I don’t have to I am not allowed to think about it!! I’ve also installed moneywise app on my phone that allows me to keep track of possible incomes (my income is never stable, being a freelancer and all that) and sometimes it helps… a bit.

      And yes!! Slightly terrifying, terribly horrifying and I don’t know why??

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