There is some type of indignity that comes with being broke. Especially since in my entire life of education I was never broke. My parents were and still are staunch believers of ensuring a child has peace of mind when studying. And pocket money contributes to that, so every start of a new month or week, my pocket money was sent. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to cater for my needs.
Now imagine jumping from that into joblessness. Having no money of my own and not studying brings some shame into it when asking for financial assistance from my parents. At least previously I only needed to say some necessity needed repleshining before I got it. Now I only ask for the extreme bare needs and even those it takes me to be in the worst possible scenario for me to ask for them, and even then, I can feel the lethargic way the money is sent if it is sent in the first place.
Lacking money and having no source of looking for that money is extremely undignifying. I just can’t find another word to describe the feeling of hopelessness in the face of need. It strips me of the worth I thought I had.
At first its about the ego. I have a big ego. Scratch that. I had a big ego. There are lows I wouldn’t scoop to get what I wanted. They aren’t average lows necessarily, but when you have plenty or enough and an independent mindset like mine, then asking anyone for money besides my parents was a no-go zone. Until now. In some situations, I have had to strip my ego and ask for help from unlikely quarters..and the cringing that happens in that process is enough to grind a full sack of maize literally.
And the worst part of being broke and jobless at the same time, is that borrowing money becomes a landmine. I only borrow money when I have a payback plan in mind. And I can’t be looking for a job with an mshwari loan and lots of debt. So I brave this burning winter alone.
And then there is meeting up with friends. That’s a whole topic on its own. You can’t dictate people meet up in free parks because of you. And on the other side, you can’t request someone to cater for your bill when everyone else is footing their own end. So you struggle and find ways of ensuring you attend social events, the bare minimum that is, like the ones you can’t afford just to not go. There is the whole debate that goes on with people saying they wouldn’t let their broke friends suffer when they go out, but the catch to that is that that broke friend needs to tell them first..because how else will they know their help is required?
That’s the hardest part. I’ve finally understood why depressed people give off this ‘I’m doing good’ demeanor on the outside then go home to cry themselves to sleep alone. If explaining something to your own mother is hard, then how about a friend with their own problems too? Especially an age mate?
I’ve gone through many things in life, but being broke with no hope of a rescue, was the only thing that got me thinking that regardless of what, I would never ever let any young person I’m related to in any way, go through this.
You see with mental problems like depression and stress, its a little personal. You only let in the people you are comfortable with like your close friends and therapist maybe. But with being broke? You can’t help yourself at all. And there is nothing as painful like looking at your hands and admiting to yourself that there is nothing you can do. Helplessness and hopelessness are a recipe for disaster.
All in all, in life , there is asali( honey) and shubiri( something bitter). I’ve taster various types of honey. I’ve had my share of shubiri. But so far this is the bitterest of them all.