I have become a lot more open about my debt. Not just on this blog but also to my friends. I make small references to my debt to my Dad, as I am not ready to reveal the full truth, and I wouldn’t dream of mentioning it to my in laws until long after the debt has been cleared, but I am ok with telling people about what I am doing.
I remember in 2003 in one of my issues of Q Magazine there was an advert that scared the hell out of me. It was of a filthy and untidy bedsit, and it was for a bank, or a debt company or something, and it had the words ‘Somewhere along the line life starts costing you money’.
It struck fear into me. The fear that one day I would have no money.
The reason why I feared this was because in 2003, and indeed until long after I started University 5 years later, my family struggled for money. More than struggled. We had nothing.
I was so scared of debt that I was reluctant to start University. I was terrified of credit. I was terrified of bills. I went into panics whenever I spent money. I absolutely hated spending money on food as I thought it was wasted money.
I have long had an irrational hatred of those who are ‘rich’ or ‘well off’. I know this is wrong but part of me can’t believe they may have problems or concerns. This is because every single month of my teenage years was spent living with the fear that this would be the last month in our house before we would lose it.
So really, my getting into debt was a form of rebellion. A stupid, spiteful, self destructive rebellion but a rebellion all the same. I wanted to buy things without thinking about the cost. I wanted to spend hundreds of pounds on food in restaurants because I could. I wanted to buy new clothes. I wanted to see films when they came out. I wanted to drink with my friends. I wanted to buy a vinyl when it was released. I wanted shoes that didn’t have holes in. I wanted to live like a normal person. I didn’t want to care about money any more.
I threw away food that was perfectly edible but had passed it’s ‘Best Before Date’ as a reaction against eating out of date food and donated stale tea bags as a teenager. I spent so much money on ethical toilletries that were more philosophical than I was as a reaction against a point in my life when I had to use a communal ‘mens’ aerosol deodorant as who the hell did I think I was demanding a separate woman’s deodorant when we needed that money for food? (this is a true and disgusting story)
I would go to the cafe around the corner for scrambled eggs when I had eggs and bread at home because their’s was ‘better’
Yes, I was a twat.
And of course, those records I bought would have to be sold for a tiny amount when I realised I couldn’t pay my credit card bill. I cried when my dad bought me a kindle for my birthday when I asked for money.
You know how they say when you deny something, like chocolate when you are on a diet, you just crave it more and more until you snap and eat a 16 portion cake on your own? (thankfully this is not a true story) Well, that’s what I was like with shopping. I had gone years and years denying myself anything, hyperventilating whenever I did have to make a purchase no matter how essential, eating meals that consisted of 7p instant noodles and frozen sweetcorn that one day I snapped. I don’t know exactly when it began, well ok, I have a pretty good idea, but that is a story for another day. All I can say is I was depressed and my career options were so limited that when you see absolutely no chance of ever having any actual money in the near future, then credit becomes your friend, your chance at being happy.
I can honestly say I am now happier than I have ever been, and I think that is why I can tackle the debt, because gone are the days when I would get into states of utter mess when confronted with my bills. Gone are the days when I would have to round up the best vinyls I had, the ones I loved, like Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, Cut by The Slits and the first Queen album and take them to the local second hand store and get a pittance each for them.
Gone are the days when I would be so embarrassed to tell the boy I needed to borrow money for the Broadband bill that we would get cut off before I could face the truth.
Yes, I have made mistakes. I have behaved disgracefully, I have spent all my money, then money I didn’t have, and then other peoples money.
The past is the past, all I can change is the future, and I do believe I am a better person now.