I’m Broke and I Hate it.

Lately work has been quiet and I mean really quiet. It isn’t uncommon for workers here to do a shift and go home without having had one job and with zero dollars in hand. I work in a brothel, shifts are 8hrs long but you only get paid when you have a job (60% of the booking fee). When it is busy this works out well and you can make far more in a shift than you would working in another industry where you were paid an hourly rate. But when things are dead like they are now you can spend 8hrs of your day sitting around, unable to do anything that you could be doing if you weren’t at work, only to go home with less than minimum wage (if you divide your earnings by the hours you were at work). Yesterday I made a grand total of $65. As frustrating as it was to make so little, I at least made something, when I went home 2 of the 4 of us that were on still had not had any jobs.

I really need to start travelling for work, the industry is just too dead here, largely down to people just not having much of a disposable income. Currently travelling for work isn’t something I can do easily as I have sole care of my child, which means lately things have been really tight with money. I’ve had to borrow money, I’ve had to decide which bills I can pay and which I can put off, even if it means having no phone or internet (so far my internet has been slowed but not cut off, yet). The country may have avoided being in recession but it makes little difference to those of us who are feeling the financial crunch and struggling.

I hate not having money, I hate it in a way that is hard to understand if you have never experienced not having a home to go to or not having food to eat. It scares me, it makes me feel sick in my stomach when I check my bank account and see nothing but at dollar or two (if that). Because of this I come across as more materialistic and money focussed than many an anarchist but while society is too fractured to offer real community support to those of us in need I will do whatever I can (within reason) to avoid being in need. For this same reason I can never understand why anyone would want to be poor. Some people who have made the choice to turn their backs on large incomes seem to wear their more humble finances as a badge of pride. I feel no pride in not being able to provide the things I wish I could for my child, only anger at the inequality of society and shame (which is me internalising that anger). I also know I have no one to rely on but myself. I have had amazing friends help out but they are rarely in any better financial position than I am. Likewise with my family.

We really do need more grassroots initiatives like food not bombs. Running a kitchen may not be as exciting at shouting through a loudspeaker at a rally but supporting the community is one of the most radical things you can do. We need to build grassroots, non hierarchical connections that will not only challenge the capitalist model but give support and strength to those of us who are hurting under capitalism.

Trying to access state based support or even support from most charities is an exercise in humiliation. Recently, due to a combination of having been sick and not earning much on the days I had been able to work, I attempted to access some sort of financial or charitable support, only to find out I couldn’t jump through all the hoops that stood between me and any form of help. To add to my financial woes I’d filled a form to get rent assistance out wrong and had had that payment cut, it wasn’t much money but it was the difference between having the money to scrape by till I was back at work or not. Unfortunately because I had no money through my own fault (or mistake, as I didn’t intend to fill the form out wrong) I was not eligible for any financial assistance or a referral to a charity that could give me a food voucher. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t my daughter’s fault but that she too would pay the price for my mistake, all that mattered was that I was responsible for my own financial woes and so not deserving of anything but contempt. Fortunately for me I was able to borrow enough money to last me until this week but it shouldn’t be like this. When people are struggling they should not have to prove themselves worthy of receiving help to access basic rights such as food and shelter. Every human is worthy of such things.

This is why we need to offer anarchist alternatives, not only does it prove that anarchist modes of organising do work and do address injustices but without grassroots initiatives people will continue to fall through the gaping gaps in the state based safety net. I am lucky, I didn’t fall through the gaps, because ultimately I still have the support and options to get by but many people don’t even have this.
I have to give a call out to one community who do support and solidarity so well it is almost an art. I have had so much support from other sex workers, from offers of places to stay if I go to a city to work, to help minding my daughter while I am working, lifts to work (because I often hitch now that I’m not earning enough to justify a taxi) and an ear to listen to my problems. All of this means so much, and is something I have never experienced so strongly outside of the sex work community.

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8 thoughts on “I’m Broke and I Hate it.

  1. Dan OConnell

    When you said last week that you were going to write something soon, never expected this, but at least I know that you are always honest. Just wish I had not read this last night right before going to bed, I might have slept a little better, though I guess none of us should have restful sleep while there is such injustice and poverty in the world, even in our supposed “1st world economies.”

    I would like for you to share with me, at some point, anarchy philosophy or reading since this remains foreign to me. My understanding has always been from history books and it seemed the only thing anarchy wanted to accomplish was disruption and destruction, without any real other goal or purpose. Anarchy was the goal. Share with me please.

    My own philosophy would be too long for this quick comment.

    However, I am sorry you are going through what you are going through. Here, where i live, our social support net seems to worsen all the time as well. These have been some horrible times. I joked in a tweet about your computer, but it wasn’t exactly a joke or a lesson in computer buying. It was a hint. The things you list on Amazon are nice, but wouldn’t help me, I would never get to see them :), a squat cage will keep you in good health but there other ways to do that as well. A functioning computer, I believe, helps your future. Anyway, sounds like you have more pressing needs, but sincerely, what would it take to “set-up” to travel if that what you need, or something else? You might be surprised what a non sex worker twitter community can do.

    Reply
    1. anarchafeministwhore Post author

      Hey Dan, Sorry for the delayed response but due to my lack of patience with my slowed internet I haven’t been back to my blog since I posted this.

      It wasn’t actually the post I was planning on writing, which seems to be how I do things. I’ll plan on writing one thing and then sit down and something completely different comes out but I finally wrote something which is the main thing.

      Sorry for messing with your sleep, as someone who values good sleep very much I don’t want to be the cause of others losing it. I don’t usually think of my own financial situation as all that bad or unusual but I think that is because I’m surrounded by similar and worse. Which, of course doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to be in a better financial position.

      Being my child’s sole carer means I can only travel for work during school holidays and I need to either find someone she can stay with while I’m away or find someone who can mind her while I work if she comes with. Neither are deal breakers when it comes to travelling, it just adds another layer of things to prepare for and adds some extra stress.

      Do you think I should add a computer to my wish list? My old one is still hanging on to life (just barely) missing keys and all. I do worry about what I’ll do when it dies, which undoubtedly will happen soon. I’m taking this semester off but if I go back to uni in a few months (am not decided on it) I’ll need one.

      Reply
      1. viverebenissimo

        I thought I had written something before but maybe not. I believe you should put a computer on your wish list. A goal to go back to school is a great thing and of course you are good at writing so you must carry on.
        I am also throwing out my first blog and would appreciate some input if possible. Haven’t written much of anything in many years.
        Anyway, yes, I think you should put something on your wishlist. And continue to write!

      2. anarchafeministwhore Post author

        I haven’t been on here in a bit (twitter is free on my phone plan but anything else is charged) so maybe you did write something only for it to get lost.

        I would love to read your blog, I think it is great that you are going to start one. I found, and still do, find posting things somewhat daunting. I can never decide if the wosrt thing would be no one reading it or people reading it but then tearing it to shreads. It is also a really enjoyable and satisfying undertaking though and even though I am not posting each week like I said I would, I find that not only putting down my thoughts but doing so order to convey them to others is a really fulfilling thing. I am looking forward to getting to read your blog.

        I haven’t forgetton that I said I would post some things about anarchism, either. I might come into the library tomorrow and do so. I have to come here anyway to enquire about going back to school (another somewhat daunting task).

        And I’ll put a computer on my wishlist, although to expect a computer off anyone is a lot, I’m no J K Rowling with my writing after all 😛

      3. viverebenissimo

        I agree with you in regards to conveying thoughts through writing, though I never would have considered it for myself. Mainly, I was never good at it in school, so why would I be able to do it as an adult? Give me a complex calculus formula anytime but write something, ugh. Also, I avoided reading blogs since I believed in the old saying, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and most of them smell.” But since I have decided to read some, I have really enjoyed it and learned a lot in the process, though I tend to read people who I agree with :/

        The hardest part is “seeing” the suffering that is going on, and struggling to determine how to do more. Even though I see it everyday, TV, internet, and even at work, I still seem somewhat removed. Even in my office, where I see suffering everyday, I am still somewhat removed, I have to be. Just like you, you might see someone that you seem to click with, but you know that you can’t cross a certain line, you have to protect yourself. I do that too, just a different way (don’t want to get into this too much since it could be a whole new blog.) Back to the original point, all of sudden in this “twitter-blog world,” people seem so much closer, friends, something I am not use too. You want to reach out and hug someone (I put that in there cause i know you don’t like hugs 😉

        Anywho, I hope to do some more blogging and hope to keep up with yours. Okay, hate saying this on the comment, but as I said earlier, I do believe you have a knack for writing, tying in your beliefs with your personal experience, and you need to keep doing it, and I hope you get to go back to school. Though higher education seems to take a bashing these days, I still strongly believe in it. So, I am making an offer to you, if you choose a reasonably priced computer I will consider getiing it for you, and I will tweet what I believe is reasonable.

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