Straight up: have you ever considered how many steps you are away from homelessness?
I’ve a changed human, pals. Honestly. I feel like this is going to be a very long blog since I just had some deep shower thoughts and since I’ve just finished both seasons of Filthy Rich and Homeless.
One of the main themes on FRH is asking the viewer to consider just how close they are to homelessness. Have you ever thought about it? Because I have not! Ever!
But in the shower just then I was thinking about it and I was like FUCK. NO WAY.
Firstly, I have learnt something from FRH and it is that homelessness is defined as having no permanent address type of thing – it’s not about sleeping on the streets which is immediately what I think of when I think of homelessness. And I guess that really comes from a place of privilege. I’ve never not had a home. Okay that’s a lie. Once I didn’t have a permanent address.
And here’s the thing!!!! I only just realised that in the shower!!! At one stage I didn’t have a home. And did you know how easy it was to fall in to that state of “homelessness” if you wanna call it that? ABOUT A TWENTY SECOND CONVERSATION. That’s all it took to leave me without a house.
I was living with this dude for ages and then he told me he wouldn’t be renewing the lease with me because he was moving in this his gf. I was like okay cool, but sad. We had a really good housemateship and it was comfortable living with him. I tried to advertise for a new housemate but it honestly took me MONTHS to find my current housemate to begin with so I really had extreme anxiety thinking about it. I don’t think anyone ever replied to my ad. There were several factors has to why the house was not ideal. The bedroom was small AF, it was $150 a week for that small af room, it was in a great location but that was about it, it had no fan or ac. But it had been my home for two years and I loved it ahah
Anyway, I was faced with the ever-looming reality that no one was going to move in, I couldn’t afford the rent on my own, I’d need to find a new house. But the timing was really shit and I had to make that decision. Find a new housemate or find a new home. All whilst studying full time and working 20 hours a week :):):):):):)
I had serious anxiety in general at this stage of my life. I really couldn’t make rational choices or exist. I was EXTREMELY picky when it came to finding a house to live in. I would only consider living with one other person, it needed to be in the immediate area BECAUSE MY FUCKING BOYFRIEND AT THE TIME TOLD ME IF I MOVED TO THE SOUTH SIDE WE’D BREAK UP ESSENTIALLY. I was so in love with this dude that I couldn’t even fathom that happening. So here I am, HAVING TO LIVE BASICALLY 5 MINUTES FROM MY CURRENT PLACE TO KEEP THE ONLY STABLE RELATIONSHIP THING GOING.
I was just so lucky that at that exact time my friend who legit lived a few km’s from my house was going to India for a month or two? Can’t remember. She had lined up someone to move in to her room that she was sub-letting but she knew what I was going through and cancelled on that girl to let me move in temporarily.
It was only $100 a week and I remember it was a busy period at work so I was working extra hours for cash. I was saving a lot of money compared to my usual situation but it was FUCKED. I was living in someone else’s bedroom, using someone else’s cooking items and EVERYTHING. Nothing was mine. I felt like I had lost my identity as a depressed and anxious person. Seriously I spent and continue to spend my entire life in bed. I didn’t even have my own bed???? I was also really scared 24/7 because anxiety and also this place had no screens on the windows because it was old AF, on a main road and just made me feel really un-easy.
I was mostly just REALLY FUCKING LUCKY to have a place to live though. But then my friend was coming home from India and it was still sooooo hard to find a place to move to because nothing had changed. I still had ol m8 in my head telling me that if I moved “away” we wouldn’t work. And as an anxious person do you even know what that feels like piled on top of your urgency to just find a god damn fucking place to rent that is within your budget and within your expectations etcetc???
Anyway, the situation got really dire and my boyfriend said that if he was really desperate I could come stay with him while I found a home. It was just SOOOOO stressful because it wasn’t even like I could be like to my friend coming home like hiii can you just stay away for a bit longer until I find somewhere. I was living in her BED and her PLACE.
At the very last moment I found a place. I knew deep down that it was not ideal at all but it was so close to where I’d been living for years, it was affordable and most of all!!! It solved my problems.
I had really bad anxiety. Have I mentioned that? I really couldn’t cope with being a human and I couldn’t cope with these people AT ALL. I remember staying awake all night just fucking LIVID at them. To get to my bedroom you had to walk through the laundry. My bedroom door was opposite the washing machine and shit. These people would do their laundry at midnight!!! I could hear the constant tumble non stop all night OMFG. Add to this that I was really poor throughout this whole fucking experience because I was paying $300 a month off my braces whilst living on youth allowance and the income from my job!!!! So I just had extreme anxiety because they’d use the dryer 24/7 as well as two air cons on permanently. My anxiety quickly grew to hate these people because I was soooooo anxious about how much the power bill would be and how I would not be able to afford it/anxiety making up scenarios of how I’d have to SOMEHOW pull money out of my ass to fund the bills because I already had a job and couldn’t take on another one whilst studying too!!
I basically got kicked out of their place. IT HAD TO HAPPEN. I was almost relieved when we agreed we couldn’t live together because my mental health was fucked from everything. Is that homelessness? They were good and said obviously I could stay until I found a new place. CUE: many, many weeks of knowing I’m not welcome in a house (I wasn’t even on the lease) and having to find another place CLOSE TO THIS PLACE COS OF THAT BOYFRIEND!!!! while studying and working and dying from mental health issues.
The only thing that broke this cycle was that I randomly got a call from a top law firm and they offered me a temp full time job where I made a fuck tonne of money. This meant that I could increase my renting budget. The universe truly shined down on me and found me these amazing housemates (Hi avril, I fucking love you). Everything changed from then on.
For the first time since moving out of home I had amazing housemates. They were a married couple and Avril took me on as her adopted kiddo. She would text me if I was out at night when I usually wouldn’t be etc and she made me feel loved and safe and truly welcomed!! I was like wow is this what living with people should actually be like? Honestly, I’ll never be more grateful for her. It really changed everything for me.
Then I got sick though. I didn’t have a full time job. I wasn’t even capable of working. I was living off youth allowance. My mum had given me $3000 that I’d already used trying to survive. You see, when I got sick I was living my best life. I was paying $200 to live in this small af apartment with my friend. I could afford it and live a luxurious life. When I got sick I could no longer afford it and especially not on youth allowance.
I come from a single mum low income family. There’s absolutely no way she would have been able to bail me out like she did except some shit happened and she could that time. So I’ve always had the anxiety of knowing it’s do or die basically. I know that if I was going to die then all my family would come together and find a way to bail me out but it’s just readily available, you know what I mean?
The only saving grace was that when I got sick my lease was about to be up so we moved in to a house where it was $130 a week rent which was doable. I definitely dropped my standard of living though. The place was ages away from where we lived before, I didn’t have an ensuite anymore etc. Anyway, that’s material shit I didn’t care about when I legit had no money.
With paying much less rent and only being on youth allowance, and my braces being fully paid off I could JUST SURVIVE. Everything was rationed. I broke my phone and I obviously had no savings and no means of getting another one. I remember living without a phone for MONTHS. Malcolm and I shared a phone AKA I borrowed his when I saw him because I was too poor to afford. I also had to cancel my phone plan before I broke my phone because I couldn’t afford $80 a month anymore. They said I’d have to pay $500 to cancel it and I accepted because realistically I knew that it would be a debt I could sort out in the very distant future. I literally had to decide between a debt in the future or a debt now.
I also had an overdraw on my card of $500. I got this when I was rich and a bit silly. Well, nah… the guy explained that any overdraws count towards your credit rating so if you have an overdraft you can go over without consequence. So when I was sick I was constantly $500 overdrawn because I could never make it up. This meant that I was paying $20 a month I think in credit fees. There was nothing I could do though.
Bindi then ate chocolate and had to spend a night in emergency. It was $700. It was the first time I’d ever had to rely on Malcolm. He insisted on paying. I couldn’t say no because I didn’t have the money! I had no idea where I’d get the money from to pay for her vet fees. I just knew she had to be saved so there was no way out. I will forever be grateful for him paying that vet bill OMFG otherwise I probably would have had to put a bigger overdraft on my account and get in to more debt.
At this point too, Malcolm started to catch on to all my debt. It gave him really bad anxiety and he wanted to pay it all out just to get me started again. He said I could pay him back if I wanted but he didn’t give a fuck. I obviously said no and continued to live in poverty :):):):):) because I’m dumb and also TRAUMA so yeh :):):):)
The angel that saved me in this dire time was at Australian Tax Office. Thanks bae xoxo
That previous financial year I’d been working full time and I remember doing my tax on the 1st of July LOL #justpovertythings and somehow getting 3k back. WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK? I think I cried because I knew this would solve all my money issues. I paid my optus bill, I paid my overdraft and cancelled it, I bought a really shitty $400 phone and then tried to keep the rest for the next fucking emergency that was destined to take over my life :):):)
My general poverty and FUCK WHERE IS MY NEXT HOUSE AND LEASE GONNA BE??? kind of resolved itself when I moved to Toowoomba. Rent here is cheap, I have a whole entire duplex to call my own, Bindi has only ate chocolate once and it only cost $150 to fix :):):):)) but the biggest thing to change for me was that I forced myself to get a job despite the fatigue I was still experiencing. Since moving to Toowoomba I’ve been able to afford a $4k car thanks to Malcolm telling me not to pay rent until I got a car cos he was fed up with me using his 25/7 🙂 cheers bae xoxo
Malcolm has continuously bailed me out. I’ve never had to rely solely on him, thank fuck but he definitely contributes to my lack of anxiety about being alive and poor. I know pay everything myself and I’m doing decent. However, it’s always in the back of my mind that my prior fatigue could return with a vengeance and I’d be back bedridden with the last thing on my mind being getting rich or die trying.
That was a long-winded way of saying SHIT! I’ve been really close/at the stage of homelessness. That my living situation and financial situation has never been stable. That I’ve had major anxiety about simply making it week to week for most of my adult life. That I’m at the mercy of a chronic illness everyday that determines how much I can work/if I can even work at all.
I have Malcolm but in reality I’m one relationship breakdown from being fucked. HOMELESS.
How scary is that to think????
Sure, I could go live with my family but I have a dog who hates their dogs and would get eaten. I have my independence that I thrive on. I have my issues.
Anyway, another point to watching FRH is that I actually could not give a fuck about homeless people. Seriously? Do you? I used to almost cry everyday on my way to work when I first moved to Brisbane and had to witness so many people sleeping rough in the city centre. It broke my fucking heart. Sure, I’d buy The Big Issue every fortnight but that’s only because I justified those homeless people as “wanting to help themselves” and “working for their money.” By my fifth year in Brisbane I was so desensitised to seeing rough sleepers that if any of them asked me for money I’d feel like it was RUDE of them and an INCONVENIENCE to my day.
Imagine thinking people in genuine and real crisis are rude and inconveniencing your day? But you know what? I reckon you agree with me and you deep down think the same. I’m just the one who is gutsy enough to admit it.
And the best thing about moving to Toowoomba? The lack of rough sleepers. I never have to even face the reality that 116k Australians are homeless every night. It never even has to enter my mind anymore. I don’t even have to feel a tad guilty at not giving people my change.
I’ve technically been so close to being homeless and yet I actually don’t give a fuck about my fellow humans who are in those circumstances. Deep down on an emotional level when I think about them obviously I feel pain for their suffering but what I’m saying is that I’m just so conditioned to seeing that level of suffering everyday now that I don’t even blink an eye. Isn’t that fucked?
Another thing that is fucked is that these days no one carries cash so you legit don’t even feel guilty telling the homeless guy begging “soz I’ve got no cash” whether it’s true or not. You hope and think that the homeless guy is understanding towards you cos no one carries cash anymore. THE ACTUAL FUCK??????????
FRH is truly a life changing series to watch. It humanises the problem.
I don’t have a solution at all but what the people who did the challenge say is that approaching rough sleepers, having a chat with them, asking them what they need is an act of generosity that really can change someones day or even week.
I don’t carry cash ever. I don’t think that change for me where I carry cash everywhere I go in case I spot a rough sleeper who needs money. Let’s be real.
But I have to do something. We all have to. Whether that’s just looking a rough sleeper in the eye and acknowledging them, that they exist, that they are a part of our collective humanity and that they matter. WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.
What have I committed to doing? I already donate to charity regularly. I don’t think that solves shit and I don’t feel good just because I try some money at other people to help because I can’t be fucked. But I really hope that I can do something maintainable. I really want to buy $5 gift cards when I’m at coles to keep in my purse. This is very doable for me. I can then use them if someone asks me for money or if I never ever see a rough sleeper for my entire life then I can donate them to charity who helps those in need or something. I need to do something, we all do.
Have you watched FRH? How has it changed you?
How close are you to homelessness?
Let me know in the comments.