I already made a short post about it yesterday, where I said that British public judge success by the amount of debt someone has. Obviously, that is not official and you’re not going to read about it on BBC, but this is what people really seem to think.
I’m sure there are people here who are sensible with money but they don’t talk about it so you wouldn’t know. If one talks about their financial situation in positive terms, they will receive backlash.
I’m 44 now and till I was 30 I was rather poor. I really had to watch my spending, even when I was working as salaries in Poland were low. If I knew that I will need new pair of shoes (and I need to get reasonable quality as the cheapest always end up hurting my feet) I had to give up spending on magazines or cinema for two months. When I’m in the UK, I just go to the shop and buy whichever pair I want and I really appreciate that.
I know that I’m lucky with money the last couple of years as I received money from my ex partner a few years ago and also from my mum, after I recovered from my first psychotic episode. But you know what? When I found a job and got my first salary I paid all what I have left towards my mortgage. It seems to me that British public would think I should spend it on alcohol.
And believe me, I treat myself too. I don’t go out too much but I did some travelling, I was to Brasil, Malaysia twice, Hong-Kong, Morocco, Austria twice, Czech twice and a couple of other European countries. But I always do it within means and usually stay in hostels. And you know what? I had a colleague who told me that if she couldn’t stay in 5 star hotel she wouldn’t go. That is the same colleague who once bought wellies as winter shoes because she ‘couldn’t afford’ anything better.
And the same one who would get M&S lunches on the way to work. And she didn’t even choose anything special. Cheese sandwich was her favourite. Why didn’t she make it at home?
‘I can’t afford it’ is a favourite saying here.
I once went to a club on Saturday evening, spent 34 pounds on coctails and didn’t even get drunk. I guess I’d need double of that to achieve this effect. And yet loads of young people do that because they ‘want to have a life’. If you do that 4 times a month that will be over 250 pounds. And then what about dinners out, coffee out, nails, eyebrows and fake eyelashes?
Why no one says that we need to learn to make choices about what we spend on? The collective narrative is that we need to have everything. People spend money here and can’t even see how lucky they are that they can do that. Their glass is always half empty.
My financial situation is good and yet, I can’t even be openly happy about it because I should be in debt to prove to everyone that I have a life. That has a massive impact on my self esteem and the general feeling of being tired with people.
I also often wonder what impact of this collective narrative has on autistic people (and females in particular, as they are more focused on being like everyone else) who were brought up in this country? It is more difficult for us to find jobs, work full time and find a partner who would support us. It is more likely that we may need to leave a job on a short notice due to bulling or sensory issues or we will meed to go off sick due to being burned out. We really need to be careful with money, but when we are no one will appreciate it. We are being trained to put ourselves in financial troubles, that’s what it is. And it makes me very upset.