Money, I fucking hate it, I fucking hate money, I really do. I hate how it gets into everything, cheapening it, reducing it to a cost instead of a value or a worth. And I hate how it makes us feel, and act, impinging on almost everything we try to do. and I especially hate the way it makes me feel.
Now first things first. I am not someone starving in a garret. I have a job, a good job by most standards, and I own my own home, well technically the bank does but you know what I mean. I have never had to miss a meal because I could not afford food, though it probably wouldn’t have done me any harm every now and then. I pay my bills and have yet to be threatened by repossessions or visits from debt collectors. In summary I have nothing to complain about, right?
Granted, I’ve always been useless with money, very good with figures and numbers but useless with money, maybe on some level I always wanted to get rid of it as soon as I got it? All I know is that if I didn’t set up various direct debits to ensure things like the mortgage and other bills are paid, and a small amount put by as savings, I’d be in trouble. Put it this way, if, every week, I was paid in cash and all I had to do was walk from work down to the end of the street to lodge my money in the bank, and if, on the way there each week, I was to pass a man selling what he claimed to be magic beans, all I can say is I’d probably be destitute and the town would be full of fucking beanstalks.
Earlier in the week I tweeted, half-jokingly, that I’d been to the gym and finished a Simenon novel and now my sense of inadequacy was fully fuelled up. True, quite often it’s hard not to feel inadequate, but usually with some sort of reason. I don’t look like a lot of the people in the gym, I don’t work hard enough, I don’t have the sense of motivation and dedication that is required to attain their levels of physical fitness. Plus I really couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirrors for as long as they do each day without retching. Likewise with writers, I know I don’t have the natural talent, or again the motivation and dedication to achieve what the great writers I admire most have achieved.
But this is what I would call natural inadequacy; others have surpassed what I could achieve by means of natural talent, determination, motivation and hard work, and usually a combination of all of these. I feel like shit comparing myself to them but I can understand the difference. It’s not good to feel this way on a regular basis but at least it can be explained in a somewhat semi-rational way. And you can always try to turn these feeling around and be inspired by them.
But money is different.
You see, there are certain things I really, really want to do. I won’t name them because they don’t really matter to anyone else, just thing I want to do. And the only thing stopping me is money. Now this isn’t a situation where you could say that a positive mental attitude, a song in my heart, a spring in my step and a smile on my face can make anything happen. Likewise what I want isn’t particularly extravagant, it doesn’t involve yachts, supercars, a Fabergé egg addiction or paying the Jedwards to fight to the death in a cage with nothing but one broken bottle. No, what’s required here is money, nothing else. If I had the money these things would happen, nothing else required. As I do not have the money these particular things cannot happen, simple, end of.
And before you start thinking that there are other, more spiritual aspects to life that are much less dependent on material possessions I’d say you may well have a point, but my concern here is with things that are, as I say, purely reliant on having the money to achieve them, nothing else.
Now the problem is I know others can have the things I want, some without much of a stretch. The only real difference between them and me being they have more money. Maybe some are people who have worked extremely hard and are reaping the benefits rather than concentrating solely on increasing the figures in a balance statement each month? Maybe some are people who have inherited the money, just spending what others have worked for, feeling they have a divine right to be superior? Maybe some are grasping, cruel, greedy people who enjoy getting the better of those around them and flaunting their success in the faces of everyone else? Maybe some are just like me but for taking a slightly different path in their lives, going left when I went right, taking different subjects in school or college, and going after one job while I went after another? I don’t know.
There seems to be some notion that people with money are better than people without money. A stupid idea I grant you and one that most people have the good sense to ignore and can go about their lives in a much healthier and happier state.
But my problem is I cannot describe how completely and utterly inadequate I feel when I see what others can do that I cannot, simply because of money.
Stupid, right? There is nothing special these people have over me except money. Quite possibly some simple twist of fate has decided they will be better off than me, nothing more. I shouldn’t feel this way; there is no reason why I should feel like a worthless shite when I see that others can do what I want simply because they can afford it and I can’t, I really don’t understand it?
I’ve always been pretty introverted, probably suits me as a writer. As I’ve said elsewhere when you’re trying to write you have to essentially go digging around inside your own skull to find the elements of the story and try to bring them together, so either by accident or design you end up pondering over these things that hang around in your head unwanted and unanswered.
What is it in me that can spend time around those that have achieved through their own talent and hard work, and applaud them and enjoy their success, and even use their achievements to spur me on in my own efforts? Yet when I am faced with people who can have the things I want or do things I want to do simply because they have more money than me I feel like a piece of shit barely fit to be scraped off a shoe. I really do, honestly, feel nauseous when I come across these things, almost to the extent that I feel the urge to apologise for my own existence and back slowly out of the room, what the fuck is that all about?
Is it just the arbitrary nature of the universe, a cosmological coin was tossed and that’s the way things work out? Shouldn’t I just be able to accept that others will always have more money than me and move on? The old question applies, do others feel the same way or is it just me? I somehow doubt that knowing this is shared would make me feel any better, I know those with the money are out there and will continue living their lives as they want, whether good or bad, and I will continue to feel completely worthless, all because I don’t have as much money as they do. I could work harder, earn more money myself, maybe arrive in a place where I finally can have the particular things I want. But would I then want other things, would that sense of inadequacy remain, just moving up a step for every step I climb myself?
Feeling like this is entirely stupid, completely pointless, a totally unhealthy thing to keep rattling around in my head, a complete waste of time yet it’s totally inexplicable. I really don’t have a reason or an answer.
Essentially I’m fucked if I know.