What it’s like to be poor and anxious

I do not currently have enough work in the month of June to justify buying a bus pass. Sometimes, if the discrepancy isn’t too big, I’ll buy one anyway just to avoid the constant stress of worrying about money every single time someone asks me to come out somewhere. But this time I’d be essentially wasting $100 or so if I did that, so individual fares it is.

And this is the point where I start doing endless calculations and bargaining in my head to try to save even more money. See, psychologically speaking, if I have a bus pass then every time I go places I’m getting my money’s worth out of the pass. Without a pass, I’m spending money every time.


Some of my upcoming gigs, I could walk home from (albeit it would take a couple of hours). I’d save on bus money doing that, but the extra exercise would make me extra hungry so I’d end up eating enough to negate that savings. But, exercise is good for fitness, depression, and weight loss anyway so maybe I should walk. Buttttttt, it’s summer and I sunburn like a mofo so walking home will also require me to be slathered from head to toe in expensive sunscreen, so between that and the extra food consumption, walking would put me way more in the hole than just spending a couple of bucks on bus fare. Oh, not to mention the wear and tear on my shoes.

If you’ve never had this kind of conversation with yourself, congratulations! You’ve either never been poor or you don’t have anxiety disorders. Probably both. I’m genuinely happy for you. But I hope this post has given you some insight into how other people live.


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10 responses to “What it’s like to be poor and anxious

  1. I’ve had this kind of conversation with myself more times than I can remember. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it ‘translate’ for someone who hasn’t lived it. Just like my best, most descriptive narrative about surviving in a slum won’t really give someone insight into the fear, violence, and psychology of those who made it out – or didn’t. That said, i appreciate that you try! Be well…

  2. Reblogged this on dave94015 and commented:
    what it’s like to be living paycheck to paycheck…with anxiety!

    • play

      Actually, this is describing life without a paycheck. A regular paycheck, however small, can feel like a giant increase in security to *cough* some people.

      • Precisely. I love what I do for a living but the fluctuations kinda kill me. Even in times when I’m doing well and making “extra” money, I feel I have to hoard it for the slow times.

        With a regular paycheque I’d be able to budget shit out and spend money on fun stuff once in a while, knowing that my bank account would replenish itself at a certain rate.

  3. Almost everyone I know has some anxiety about their future these days. I bike around most of the time except when I have to carry a lot of stuff. I think I’m working off calories & not supporting the auto industry – a win-win for me. I wish you a more prosperous summer!

    • Thanks for the well-wishes!

      I’ve thought about getting a bike, but traffic in this city is terrifying and I’m fairly sure I’d get killed trying to share the road.

      Also my job itself is pretty physically strenuous and I don’t wanna use up any of my limited spoons before I even get there (which is why my post mentions walking HOME from gigs but not TO them). 😀

      The first issue might be solved by me getting some bitchin’ old school roller skates instead, so I can use the sidewalk (I guess I see people using bikes on the sidewalks, too, but as far as I know that’s not actually legal. I think roller skating is. Maybe.)

  4. Ugh. I’ve made those calculations a million too many times and it’s paralyzing and I’m so sorry. Even now finances are…stable, barely, I find myself grocery shopping/eating as though I’m food insecure because what if the few dollars saved by skipping a few meals is what makes prescriptions affordable next month? So yeah, being poor is the worst and anxiety is the worst and together they are a worst-worst sandwich that’ll probably give you food poisoning 😦

    • Total shit sammitch.

      I actually ended up springing for a bus pass, anyway. I think I mis-crunched the numbers the first time, plus I got a few more gigs, so now I stand to “waste” only $40 by having a pass – but it’s worth it to me to be relieved of the CONSTANT anxiety over paying for individual bus fares.

      Plus I’ll have the freedom to go out with friends and check up on the store where they sell my art, and those trips will probably absorb most if not all of the slack.

    • Dietician has me eating less meat and more rice anyway so maybe my grocery bill will be less and things will balance out.

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