“It doesn’t matter about money; having it, not having it. Or having clothes, or not having them. You’re still left alone with yourself in the end”.
– Billy Idol
Noun. A current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes; coins and banknotes collectively.
A lump sum spent on purchasing every day requirements to be consumed by the average person.
The thing we as adults, spent most of our childhood lives believing it grew on trees. Only to wish it would have grown on trees as adults.
The texture, feel and warmth of it which causes us to be directed down the ever winding, twisting and turning of Life Lesson’s Lane.
Never quite reaching the end of the pathway that will bring eternal happiness.
Where we face the last factor of what it is like to financially underprivileged as the last cent we possess is untouchable.
Thus it cannot be spent on the fundamental thing required by our family.
We turn and stare at the cob-webs lining and gathering in our dusty wallets; we look at the sky and find ourselves praying. Whether we believe or do not believe in God.
Praying that come morning there won’t be an eviction notice in the mail, the bailiffs turning up on your doorstep and escorting you and your family off the premises.
Simply for the fact that you decided to spend your money on purchasing food, as your family had gone hungry for the last month.
Where you glance back down at your wallet before finishing your prayer off with, “Please God, all I am asking is for some money that will be used for paying the bills, providing a roof and food on the table. Amen“.
The thing that seems to make the world go around smoothly on its glistening axels that are controlled by those who are within our government. Or the silent partners, who just so happen to control the government.
The amount which neither here nor there can either cause us as humans to be made, into something of wonder and elegance.
Where everyone idolizes you for your soon to be short lived talent and people start looking for products that you have used, looked or glanced at. With hopes of becoming someone like you one day.
This soon dissolves where your career is now gone within a blink of your eyelashes gracing your cheek and you went from having everything laid at your feet.
To begging for that missed opportunity of sustaining a job that could provide for a much longer period; except you are turned away because you have ‘no life skills that fit this category of job’.
Money has been known to make or break a divorce settlement out of the waters.
Particularly when it comes to feeling as if you are going to erupt into flames at any given moment from the nasty, cold stare gazing at you from across the table.
The glass table that has been cleared of anything that can be easily picked up and thrown in anger at the final parting amount that is going to come their way.
All the while in the background the lawyers you have guarded yourself with, like good little money-hungry guards men, are discussing who will get the Ferrari.
Before continuing onto what stocks in the shares of business you both have mutually invested in for the sake of going to bed in a warm bed, who shall be getting what.
Finally, who will be buying whom out of the house, who gets the dog and how many timed visits shall be experienced by the children.
Who unfortunately, if not already, will be commenced in a game of chess and shall be used as pawns.
All because Mummy/Daddy hates the other parent.
Yet, still want to keep tabs of the other at all times in case they choose to out step the imaginary rules and start seeing someone.
It is in that moment that the light gets switched on for the final time and you watch the glint enter the other person’s eyes.
You realise the pathway you had both shared when married had transitioned from being a little bumpy. To being ensnared by the thorns, prickles and unpleasantness that have grown around you without knowing.
When it comes to writing that last cheque which will set you free from your guards men and lawyer fees, you are going to no doubt wonder in that split second ‘did I do everything required?’.
Unfortunately, there is no amount of magic spells and Harry Potter moments that would have been able to get you out of this situation of being trapped.
Nor would it have held back the heartache, pain, distrust in others and the fear of ‘am I going to be alone for the rest of my life?’.
The chances for that are slim.
You realise that now you have the ability of being free from the tangles and snares and are able to do anything you set your mind to.
Because you are essentially starting a new life from scratch that has been built on previous mistakes and now we can claim we’re a lot wiser and slightly mistrusting of those.
Who once upon a time, ‘our’ interests were within their heart and yet caused nothing but pain and anguish.
We both know all though we are pretending like nothing really matters to us anymore, we are still wishing and hoping to have that moment that will knock the breath out of us.
Before sweeping us off our feet into the evening filled with mystery and perky, twinkly little stars.
In my experience as someone who fobs off like she isn’t a romantic at heart nor secretly wishing to have children one day; I am still waiting for that moment.
The moment when I look back on my life as some age where rebelling is seen as a must, I shall know within my soul that I have experienced the mind numbing, body erupting moment.
This moment I would reflect back on shall be one that my breath shall leave my body in a rush.
My world shall be shaken to its core and my heart stops beating for a fraction.
Time will only tell when it may happen.
Which could be when I collapse against the side of the teller, clutching onto the slip of paper that contains my first pay cheque as a Registered Nurse.
Or for the romantics out there, holding onto their breath and pretending that another birth/engagement announcement doesn’t cut to the core; the moment you and I find our own Mr. Darcy.
As to my own experience of time being a witness and experiencing mind numbing experiences, I have lived similar moments and not always in a positive way.
These episodes I speak of have often revolved around concepts of money.
Thus has shown me what money can do and how it cause certain things to occur.
Like money children from privileged countries, I grew up believing money or rather those multicoloured plastic, crispy notes grew on trees.
My sweet, innocent childhood memories focused on what dress Barbie would wear, when I could go to the park and if my school friends would be at school, come Monday.
The ignorance any child carries around them as to what being an adult is often a result from the examples shown within their life.
In my case, my life as a child was often afflicted with moments of sheer happiness and not so sheer happiness.
This would soon entail my life as an adult to be based upon what society and viewers into my life would consider it to be.
As a result, money has both made and broken me as an individual but also family member.
In my relatively short, cram packed with laughter and tears of both mourning and depression, quarter of a century life; I have lived within the surrounding walls of a middle, blue collar income household.
I was not born with a silver spoon being suckled on nor thrusted up my arse, as most viewing this would assume because they have seen me glide across Brisbane.
Or my personal favourite is being asked how much I shall be inheriting once my parents up and die.
The answer that will continue to flow from my tongue is: nothing in monetary value. Unless you count my brothers, who I would sell as Gigolos.
Rather, my parents have taught me many great lessons as to what marriage is really about and that is certainly not all roses, sunshine and ‘I love you’.
Instead, it is a battle against those that continue to wish harm for both you and your partner.
My parents have also taught my siblings and I how it is to be a real person and not to hold the candle up too far in the wind as it is easy for the flame to be snuffed out.
Mostly, my parents and The Fairy Godmother have taught me what it is like to be in a family, how to act and behave like a family member and most of all; what it feels like to be loved by a family.
Which something my other family on both sides of the family lack.
While my immediate family is not focused on the outcomes as to what can gained by owning orange and green bank notes in the thousands; other family members have become obsessed with the knowledge ‘money can gain everything’.
Sure money can buy you everything your heart and mind wishes to purchase, claim, hold hostage and then slowly but surely break.
Money can purchase you six months worth of holidays so when you attend your nephew’s wedding, you can sit there and bitch at the table, ‘Oh, I am so cruised out!’.
But at the end of the day, can money purchase a family that loves you for being you, rather the millionaire your friends know as and can money keep you warm and cosy at night?
As a result, my other family members have lost touch with reality as to what real life, sheer hard work is like.
Particularly when it comes to having nothing to your name and yet being in possession of love.
Sounds stupid and somewhat mentally deranged but only a true person who has experienced monetary loss will be able to understand and agree whole heartedly.
Having spoken about my strange family members on both sides of the family, I just so happen to be related too, I would like to clarify something.
Out my incredible big, fat Italian Wog family, where we breed in the bazillions for fear of the family name dying out, not all of my cousins are career or money driven and orientated.
Rather I have a few that I can count on one hand, who know what it is like to be money conscious because their partner is what my family describes as a ‘selfish, ungrateful, pathetic person’.
For them, yes money is nice in their pocket and it makes the economy go round but it is not the be-end all of everything.
Instead, money is simply a means of getting by and maintaining a roof over their head and the main thing they live, breath and would openly defend for is their family.
As for the other million cousins, they have been known to only except a job if it is guaranteed to earn them over 80 thousand a year.
They have been known to purchase houses to live within the surrounding walls for 12 months before flipping it over and buying another.
In that regards, all I keep on thinking is: “you have enough money to buy a house every year; why don’t you build a home that possesses everything you want and actually live there for your life?”
But like they say: Have money, shall spend it.
The context of money has been openly discussed by those cousins as having a means of never being listed as being a ‘poor person’.
Where they come from a family of hard working, money focused and career driven parents.
When it comes to leaving the family and hitching the ball and chain; they must come from a well-to-do family, preferably with no children attached and has the ‘off’ button broken when it comes to working.
Because if they come with ‘baggage’, oh we never here the end of the story.
Whether or not this particular person is an amazing, kind, generous, gorgeous, bubbly human being.
Who stands next to her husband, defends her family against those who are prejudiced and somewhat small minded.
Who just so happens to remind me of a little spit fighter named Lois.
This discussion of how much investments, golden eggs and ‘spending’ cash you should have tucked away, is brought up at family gatherings.
Which thankfully if I may say so is very far and few.
But the time we all gather in droves is when someone is getting hitched, has carked it or a great grandchild, another 27th removed cousin is celebrating their first birthday.
We gather on the pretext of appearance (save face), pay final respecting wishes upon the deceased but also celebrate the arrival of another member.
Rather it is a breeding ground of pretend bullshit of: whose married to who still. Which marriage is going to dissolve. Who is pregnant, secretly expecting or trying for a baby.
Finally, ‘look at how much money I earned last year!’ complete with photographic and jewellery evidence.
In case you just so happen to blind, deaf and dumb as shit.
Since I am one of the remaining 5 grandchildren that isn’t hitched nor pregnant, I get pressured into marrying a fantastic bachelor who just so happens to be 27 times removed from the family.
When I am not being pressured into marrying my distant cousins from my big Woggy family, I get asked the one question that is not only a pet peeve of mine but I fucking detest it.
“How much money will you job earn you as…what are you studying again?”
A prime example would be when I went to pick up my car from Mexico and was informed I had picked a somewhat ‘okay’ career opportunity.
My feminist, hard worker of an Aunt, who skips the whole baby-making thing; had just leapt feet first into the burning ring of ‘Money’.
This ring consists of being asked what job is being undertaken, how much money you are to earn per annual year and the max amount you can earn for slaving away your life and taking no holidays.
Before being subjected to whether or not it is a good job to be in and if it isn’t, here is a few options you should consider going into.
When I mentioned I was intending to use nursing as a stepping stone to sitting the GAMSAT, in hopes of becoming a doctor; her ears perked up and dollar signs were soon filling her vision.
I was then asked how much doctors would make a year before being directed into the wonderful, wide world of becoming an army brat’s Army Doctor.
I think my Aunt should be employed by the Army as she has encouraged all my siblings and I to join in some form or shape.
Both for a job aspect, health gains and also for monetary values.
Except in my case, I wouldn’t be a soldier for the New Zealand Army but rather a weapon wielding, power driven and city/country moving Australian Doctor.
As the money sound was clicking away in the back of my head and my heels slowly digging firmly into the ground; I was lectured about how fantastic it would be if I joined.
The Australian Army would pay for my degree, cover the costs of learning which could result of anywhere up to 278, 000 dollars plus over four years and all I would be required to do is: sign my life away for 10 years.
Trust me I’d already looked into this option before the image of khaki and I merging together, remind me we do not mix well.
Or it could have been the thought of being someone else’s bitch under control, outside of the bedroom.
This fell into my no-go zone and cannot be done at all.
As I would no doubt end up being thrown away in the stocks and held prisoner for telling my official to ‘get fucked’.
Not to mention being on rations and dealing with dicks who think women in the army are simply there for one thing.
Do not get me wrong for I have cousins, in all various forms of national services for Australia and I support their decisions for joining the services.
However I am going to be one of the few cousins to not be employed by the Army, Navy or Air Force.
Wish I could say ‘Government’ as it would have nicely finished that sentence but nurses are employed by said enforcement and nearly every job is somehow linked to the Government.
Overall, the idea of having pack house, relocate and register my family into new schools as I have seen my cousins do and heard stories of Lois’ army brat life, has stopped me in multiple ways.
One of these is due to my own selfishness after spending all of my childhood and adult years, moving from house to house.
Secondly, it happens to boil down to the same thing in and out every time: money.
In my non-army brat life, I have spent most of my life within a household where there were moments of money being endless to moments of scrimping and saving as a means to get by.
As a result from a rather abrupt and rude awakening one morning, I have become accustomed to living a rather eyebrow raising lifestyle.
This lifestyle was and still is based on balancing between tight budgeting, dreams being left unsatisfied, unfilled and knowing when to say no.
Where at the end of the day dealing with shit being thrown at me, being king hit by crazed residents and being told I should be thankful to have my shift; when I clutched that pay slip in my hands, I knew I had it good.
This goodness resulted in my brothers and I having a roof over our heads, food on the tables, condoms gracing the bathroom and a hot shower powered by electricity.
So when it came time to washing my work uniform, scrubbing my hair/body as I watched human faeces float down the drain, I was able to be content knowing I still had money in my bank.
This money resulted in 80+ hour fortnights doing all shifts from earlies to grave yard. While managing somehow to lead a life as a university student and failure of a girlfriend.
It was gathered on the basis of slugging my guts away for years, dealing with disgruntled and emotionally saddened family members. Not to mention sacrificing anything my heart desired and taking no holidays what so ever.
From the moment I left high school to the moment I collapsed in a heap last year, I had spent nearly every week, working.
Okay my bank account was splashing in cash that if I withdraw it, my bank would have a heart attack and I would be able to pay someone to throw my own money on top of me.
But I soon forgot what it was like to kick back, enjoy a beer or two and simply unwind.
Rather I was focused and driven to picking up extra shifts on the context of ‘I will return the favour’, dealing with physical abuse from patients.
Also, I was driven to prove that I was something much more than what everyone thought I was.
This framework of mine would soon change when I walked into my bank, after saving, scrimping, borrowing and raising money from my own blood, sweat and literal tears; the worldly possession I wanted, couldn’t be brought.
It boiled down to the fact I was 2 cents off from the dollar and I was 23.
I watched as my dreams gurgled down the drain as my potential four bedroom, quaint cottage; surrounded by thickets of morons, rednecks and tumble weeds was hemmed in by an ugly brown, brick fence.
That fence barricaded the cottage’s beauty after having a lick of paint and gardens planted, which would overflow with wild flowers and bees. That would rival against a certain other Green Thumb enthusiast and attract those to peek and peer.
The money that I had saved for five years could have sent me around the world countless of times, was soon pushed to the side and my determination to get out of Hicksville became my number one motive.
Having said that though, I can thank Lois for the budgeting tips and tricks of how to save a penny or two especially when wanting to purchase a house.
Because those years of saving with the intention of dreaming big, made me realise money certainly did not grow on trees.
I knew I was never going to a multi-millionaire and money can be as quickly spent as quickly entered my wallet.
However, before I begin that story which almost feels like it’s borderline on ‘woe is me’ material; I have a story as to how I became a wizz at saving money.
As most of you may or may not know, I was born in a pretty pink labour room within the heart of Sydney, Australia back in 1990.
When John Howard’s eyebrows were still yet to enter scene and shoulder pads were slowly transitioning into denim and plaid.
My parents, Lois and Red, worked hard and long, brutal hours providing meat for the little old Yaya and Nonna’s who would take their weekly budget of money for meat.
Where they would tell my Father in a mixture of pigeon English mixed with Greek/Italian, the meat had either been a blast with the family.
Or they only wanted 6 sausages out of the kilo being provided, much to the annoyance of my Father.
Like anyone would know being the manager or owner of a business, there is a certain little pesky thing called book keeping/accounting.
While Dad was Da Vinci of meat creations, which was proudly known to have little to no fat and contained 100% real meat; Lois was known for taking care of the books while in hospital.
After a rather shocking discovering I was on my way, I’d grown tired of being in the womb and was attempting to make my way out.
In this case, a little too early to survive against all odds.
After making my grand entrance complete with eye fluttering at the rather handsome doctor, I soon grew up like any child of the corn patch would do.
I grew up amongst my Greek Godmother’s children, being spat on for good luck or being smothered by Italian kisses as morsels of food were pushed into my mouth.
Like the Nonna’s say: Better to have something in the mouth than having nothing.
However life became relatively tough for my parents.
My Grandparents who had decided it would be nice to give the newlyweds a business to run instead of a house as promised, were busily skimming money out of the businesses accounts.
Before jet setting out of the country to spend the weekend in Singapore, on behalf of my Father and Mother’s hard work.
Having been threatened and being told that men would come and kidnap me as a child and men breaking into our house, my parents decided it would be best to move from the bustling city of Sydney.
So having left the business and packing their worldly possessions into a truck, we made the process of travelling up the coast line .
Until we hit the dense area known as The Banana Coast and found a remote, family orientated country town.
We soon set up home, which just so happened to be straight across the street from my Father’s parents and was soon re-introduced to my cousins and mosquitoes.
Even now as I type this, I remember the visits I used to have with my cousins who were both a year older and younger than myself.
The sounds of hens cackling away as they scrounged around for something to eat and the angry stare of a black beast in the paddock.
But like any case, money would eventually become as a problem as my parents were facing difficulties within their lives as adults.
Something that of course was kept a secret from us children as we are easily capable of picking up motions and feelings from others as to when something is not quite right.
Not to mention the angry look Mum would get on her face after my Grandmother had visited.
Only for my Poppy to come bounding over the road, slinking in stealth mode as if he were afraid of being caught.
Where he would sit down at the table with a plate of chocolate cake and tea.
Tea that had not been made from the three used tea-bag already previously used by this morning’s first cup of tea.
As he would leave to return to the darkness lined the little front porch/sunroom which I remember used to be covered in things and smelling faintly of cigarettes; he would slide whatever amount Mum had paid and tap on the table before rising.
It was in those moments that wouldn’t be up for discussion, Mum would sigh wearily as she repocketed the money.
All the while knowing the original amount had been tripled by my Grandmother as the rest of my Aunts didn’t have to pay for anything.
For it simply boiled down to money beliefs and my Mother was not and would never be a ‘country bumpkin’. Much to my Grandmother’s disgust and much disliking.
It was in those times of sadness and bitter sweet memories, life started to pick up for us as individuals but also as a family.
During the next few years, we moved into Ballina after having left our little home surrounded by cane fields.
The arrival of Pablo was announced, much to the horror of many of our family members who were angry before we once again packed up and made the move to Queensland.
The Sunny State of Bullshit and heart ache.
It would be in this state I would experience things from falling in lust, being told I could be a child model, standing up for my rights as a teenager after telling my cousin to go and whore herself out.
To falling in love and being severely hurt.
The Sunny State of Bullshit And Heart Ache TBC…