I am often asked the question: "Why don't you get out more?"
I get asked why I don't get out more and relax, get away from all the intense poverty issue stuff I deal with and work on weekly. My low-income, impoverished peers have shared that they are asked similar questions and even TOLD BY counselors and support people - to go out of the house for self-care, spend a little money on self once in a while, etc.
The problem is, for some of us, there is ZERO money to spend on self-care - ZERO. And for others, I'd just like to inform well-meaning persons that it just might be that some low income people don't actually GET AWAY at all from the intense, poverty issue stuff at the end of the week or over the weekends. This isn't a choice for many who live low income lifestyles - heck, even calling this a lifestyle provides a false notion of choice, eh?
Some peoples' weekends are WORSE than the week days because NO HELP is around on weekends; AISH workers, Social Services personnel, many Mental Health workers are taking the weekends off...
Why don't we (individuals with low and below poverty incomes) get out more?
Well - mainly 'cos we're also sometimes VERY CONTENT to go home and be home and have a roof over our heads. Often we're happy for a couple of days over the weekend where, if we can avoid any financial or housing crises for roughly 48-72 hours, we can avoid the multitude of misunderstandings people voice about how we live or what we can and should improve in our lives.
It's so very, VERY hard to take the advice seriously that many of us (individuals on low incomes) receive from well meaning people. It's just time to write about it instead of continuing to agree then make up some shytty "possible activity" I'll do over the weekend to make some agency person, support person, or "supportive friend" feel they've done their job of support... when really, I'm going home for the weekend to do whatever self-care costs nothing.
Seriously - I'm here to clarify - since the above two paragraphs seem quite negative... Sometimes we're not sad and miserable all weekend long because we can't go to the game, the movies, shopping, and on mini-getaway trips away from the city, etc. For some low income people, the weekends are a PLEASANT getaway from
prying eyes and privileged "planners" of our time and (ghost) finances. Sometimes, we're (low-income survivors) used to living on "just needs" items and within less than our means, so weekends are much needed times of rest and regeneration. Isn't that enough? Isn't that taking care of myself?
I'd like to ask others - why don't you stay IN more? Save some money, stop all spending, rest and take care of yourself? What would THAT look like for you and would you honestly suffer if you don't get to go off to Banff or the West Ed' Mall for a weekend? Will your nails fall OFF if you don't get a hundred dollar manicure?
Why have certain kinds of spending and activities become the "norm" for self care when, really, these spends and activities aren't universal at all? They're only for those who can afford them? Why does self care cost at all - it shouldn't cost money to rest and look after yourself...