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November 17, 2005

Comments

david

was anyone else thinking "If she is so poor why does she have her own blog?"

jim

don't listen to that "oh please" fucker. that sucks and I'm so sorry, Bron. I guess the good news is that houses are a lot cheaper outside of the city.

me2

um, you guys are jerks. poor people blog too.

and bronwyn - yes, i know how you feel. i'm not totally broke yet, but i am close, and i'm worried about getting presents for everyone this year. i'm more stressed about the holidays this year than i have ever been in my life. ugh....

Janey Yonkers

Dear david, she doesn't pay for this blog herself, it's the WFMU blog.
Dear oh please, have you ever been broke? If not, I hope you will experience it soon.

Jacob Haller

It's never easy being out of money, but the holidays are particularly tough. I hope things improve soon.

Would it be any use to send a box of yarn from my stash to you c/o WFMU? (I couldn't guarantee the colors and materials would be anything you'd like, of course.)

ben

If you have regular access to a computer this could help you out, it's a big step up from cruising the nice neighborhoods on trash day
http://www.freecycle.org

The Kudu

Perhaps the lesson here is that money is necessary and loathsome. Maybe presents are what people need during Christmas, maybe we just need other. I'm not suggesting "boycott capitalism", but maybe we all buy useful stuff from the 99-cent store and write or sing or share a meal this year. The world doesn't need more stuff, it needs more love.
<><

Jeff T

Sorry to hear about your cash trouble Bronwyn. I've been there but things aren't as bad now. I hope things look up for you as soon as possible.

john bellows

I think your homemade address books sound really charming. Maybe a friend can buy you a roll of yarn early for christmas this year. That would be a gift that keeps on giving.

Gramps

As far as being broke around the holidays sucking :

How much of that angst is because of the cosmetic nature of this culture ? IE, that we all want to look our best and put off the signs of aging the longest, so that we can fool eachother and ourselves into thinking that perhaps we Wont actually drop dead one day... and then go to hell. Because even the MOST saved xpistian (Christian) might misstep and find hisself roasting in eternal flame. No ? My hypothesis is that the dogma of this wretch "church" has convinced you and me (if only through exposure to it in public school with the pledge of allegience) that we aren't fundamentally divine and also that we should just be "folks, doing the best we can. Keep m' head down and don't make waves".

E-Man

I hear you, Bronwyn. I think there are a lot of people just hanging in by a thread. Every time I get a little ahead, something comes a long to drag me back.
Recently managed to start up my first serious savings account in years only to have to cover a family tragedy. I'm feeling old and worn and I'm in my early 30s. I think Marx referred to it as the gradual immiseration of the working-class or something.

Ian

Well, the standard of living's getting lower and lower each year, so more Americans are becoming "less fortunate" and are indeed sharing your situation (or something akin to it). Eerily enough, in the infamous Project for a New American Century document Rebuilding America's Defenses, it's claimed that lowering the standard of living is necessary so the conservatives can pursue the imperialist conquests they outlined. I can't recall exactly why, but it's infuriating to the umpteenth power to realize that all of this is intentional.

corey

I am poor but feeling greatful that I have some sort of safety net of loved ones who would keep me off the streets if it came to that.
People don't expect store bought gifts from me. Maybe they do but they keep their disappointment to themselves.
If a Christmas gift becomes just another debt to be payed you might want to consider the quality of your lender.

Jack Lyons

Am I the only one in this situation?

No, you are not the only one. You have described my situation perfectly; no cost of living increase for the last six years, and no other jobs to move to that pay more. Learning a new skill or trade would actually cause me to start a new job making less than I do now. House? It was a wonderful dream, so long sweetheart. When my car dies, I won't be buying another one; I'll have to rejoin the public transportation caste (ok, it's more environmentally friendly, but it's hard to pick up your kids from the Ex every weekend using the bus).

This year my children will be getting, for christmas, maybe a few things I found in the thrift store that I think they'll like. The remainder of the presents will be to take them someplace special (free), and spend more time than usual with them. That's about it. They seem to take it well.

Good luck, Bron, and don't let nitwits like David get you down.

sid bators

oooh, memories of poor christmas past...we had a drawing of a christmas tree with arrows pointing that said things like "pine smelling". My GF wrote to the SLIM JIM company explaining that she was a poor college student and her boyfriend LOVED Slim Jims and could you possibly send some promo stuff.
sure enough, a box arrived with a letter from a woman explaining they don't normally respond like this but she has a daughter in college too so please enjoy some complimentary slim jims. (I still have the wristbands included!)
we didn't have heat, we didn't have a ham, but man were those slim jims good!

Krys O.

One of the best Christmases that I had as a giver was when I made almost every gift that I gave. I was about 16 years old then and I baked cookies, made a bib for my infant nephew, sewed an apron for my brother who loves to cook etc. Looks like I'll have to do something like that again this year.

Bartelby

I was really broke in 2002. I took up with a woman I met on the web who was worse off than me and we shared the apartment for a few months. She was living here a few days when a close relative of her's died. I helped her with her resume and we were both working in a matter of months.I landed a gig at a Law Firm in Short Hills There are a few people who make less than me there but in terms of who is on full time I suspect I am at about the bottom. Even given that it is the best salary I've ever gotten and I wonder what I did before. If worse cam to worse there was always my mom's couch.

I am broke this year because of stupid errors on my w-4 and my computer dying the very weekend I was splurging on some new furniture. The dollar and half price bins at the downtown Strand are a good place to look, including the review copy CDs. Housing Works bookstore is a great place for mens clothes. It's a bit ghoulish but gay men die of AIDS and leave fantastic wardrobes.

There's a homeless fellow who I think has HIV and I see him nearly every day. Lately unless I am super broke I give him a buck or two.

It was very humbling when he gave me a framed picture and a large decorative Chinese style fan. The picture, of cats and a bookcase, is up behind my couch. Figuring out where to put the Chinese fan is another story.

E. Scrooge

Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?

La Luba

Poor is a state of mind. Money comes and money goes. Now, BROKE.... I've been broke for years.

As for Xmas gifts, why not just custom-make some crafty, humorous, sexy, witty, arty, etc. cards? Or make some sock puppets with the odds and ends in your sewing box. Or only give gifts that you found on the street. Ironic gifts are the best as most people don't need a present they'll end up not using anyway, and will feel less guilty giving these away to the thrift store or chucking in the trash. They just want to know that there are people out there thinking of them.

I wish you all the financial success that you deserve. Best of luck. And, by the way, that no-winter-coat tale really pulled on the old heartstrings.

Cynthia

the fact that you have these financial issues makes me assume, hopefully rightly- that your health issues are under control and that you are doing well. I say this because usually money woes take a back seat to health woes. If you are doing well in that regard, refer back to the old cliche about having your health. Cause, well... it's true.
Also, having money woes and brooding over them doesn't attract money. Try to pretend like you want for nothing. I don't mean you should be reckless, but don't watch every last penny. You'll see things start to turn around. It sounds like maybe, in your head, you're still living in the throes (and fears) of past poordom.
Personal, thoughtful cheap or homemade gifts from a friend or family member mean more to me than any expensive crap, and dare I say, anyone expecting a particular kind of gift kinda doesn't really deserve one. Do whatever you can, and still give them something though. Cause my bet is it'll actually feel better than not.
Smile, be happy, and be healthy.
xoxoxo

Robert

When I was growing up in southern CA we had to steal electricity with a buried wire from the neighbor's house so we could have lights. For my sixteenth birthday, my Mom gave me a carton of cigs and a pound of twizzlers. At that moment and for years afterwards it secretly upset me to have gotten such a meager gift (we hadn't always been so bad off).

It took me 20 years to realize how hard my Mom was trying to make everything "be okay" for us and what it must have taken to get me any gift at all. Thank you Mom. ^_^

MWDB

No way, you're not the only one--in fact I started an entire blog about this very thing (www.midwesterndeadbeat.blogspot.com). I typed "blog" and "poor" into Google today to see if I could find any others like myself, and was led here. God, I'm so sorry. I know firsthand how much this sucks. My husband has a bona fide job but I can't find enough work (I'm doing the freelance thing, too), so we're essentially living on one salary, and even though we live VERY modestly, it's not enough. I have no clue how we'll buy Christmas presents this year--I've even considered hocking my wedding rings. Anyway...I won't go on, but I just wanted to say a) your life sounds very similar to mine [poor childhood, hand-me-downs, college as the ticket out, being hungry, etc.] and b) hang in there. I feel like an ass saying "hang in there;" I know it's cliched, and small encouragement, but man, I can commiserate. Here's hoping some sort of miracle will occur for both of us.

emma

bronwyn,

it sounds like things are bad. but can i let you know that i have taped alot of your shows that are archived and for christmas i am giving my mother those tapes in a yellow box that is called 'a ray of sunshine'. that's you. i listened to your programs while i taped them, usually i was working out in the mornings, sometimes i would be doubled over with laughter at your comments, and i honestly swear the mornings became easier for me. you may not have a lot of material goods, or feel that you can contribute that way over the christmas period, but you have spread alot of joy and made me happier (and my mother, i am sure) happier and that's the best gift in the world (i'm trying not to sound too corny here). i live in new zealand, wellington so just think how far you have travelled around the world:)
i'll be thinking of you over christmas and hope that you and sluggo *do* have a good christmas regardless of money. i am like you, have lived in poverty my whole life, but i'm lucky to have family that i have chosen and i have an excellent foster-mother who's made life alot easier, i think i know some of where you're coming from. basically i just wanted to thank you for being you.
love listener emma

Caitlyn  &    Tatiana

Hey we were doing a class project when we came to this page. It really hit us and made us really see the meaning of christmas. I hope things get better for you. Sometimes people don't realize that Christmas is more about giving than getting, and I think you will show many people the difference and why it is better to give then to get. We really love you. YOUR HOTT. <3


Catiee. Tattie.

SoulStorms

Bronwyn,

You are not alone. I used to live on a food budget that was so small and so tight that if I spent one extra dollar, I would jeopardize my ability to pay my monthly bills. I learned to cook so that I could afford to eat.

After reading about your financial situation growing up, it occurs to me that it may have taken its toll on your psyche. You are obviously talented in so many ways, and I agree with Emma that through your work you have given in ways that I don't think you realize.

To get to where you want to be financially, and to benefit from your talent, you may have to change your thinking and emotions about money as it relates to you. When you can do this, I think you will find opportunities "miraculously" opening up for you.

I have been doing this, and I can point you to some free resources (with which I am unaffiliated) if you suspect I may be right.

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