When you start off writing something light-hearted for 30 days, it makes you think more deeply than the surface, which is being scratched. Half way through, I cant stop thinking about my privilege. Questioning, whether not spending for 30 days is, in fact, a privilege?
Since I started work in London at 17, I always gave my lunch away. Mum went through a phase of giving me extra, so she made sure I ate, but I gave away the extra as well. The thought of people not having food available in the same way I did, made me want to share. So I did. I worked two jobs, when I started in college. One unpaid work experience, and one paid in mid-nighties style. Which roughly translates to fuck all, in todays money.
I worked in a nightclub all through university, working about 5 nights a week, and attending university in the day. I didn't get a full grant, although I was lucky to not have to pay university fees. My wages paid for my university lifestyle, with family donations for train fare from Essex, and books. It was all very collaborative.
Work brought freedom, and the world was also opened up to money issues, and worries about how to manage my washing!
So the privilege I have had in my life, had already started by this point. I am aware, I was able to have unpaid work experience through university. I worked as an assistant in a magazine for a couple of years in the holidays, all unpaid until they realised how long I had been there for.
My first 'proper' job I had, was in Camden, London. I had been back a forth a few times, from living with the parents, since I was 17. This is the time I left home forerver. The train fare was a huge portion from my wages, then rent, and bills. I had a weekend job, which ran from Thursday to Saturday nights in a restaurant, so I could eat food there, and have extra money for weekly food.
My boss did not know this at the time, I did not always have money for train fare. So I would call in sick once a month, when the rail card ran out. My meals at this time consisted of a weekly batch of tomato sauce and pasta, and some cat food for my beloved Lucy cat. Until I moved to London, I always had two jobs.
Even when times were tough, the privilege remained. I could take unpaid work, I could afford rent and food. I could go home once a week for a meal, and to wash my clothes. I could phone in sick, and not get pulled up. I am aware of these things, and I try to pay this back.
To be honest, if I really think about it, my career was not planned out. I did not pursue my university career, I worked in the broadcast industry. I was then caught up in a massive company expansion, which launched my career. I worked hard, I was vocal and asked for things, I made connections, and I was allowed through my bosses, to retrain at 35 and start my career path. This came from my drive, my self belief, and the open-mindedness of the women bosses I had during this time.
I try to pay back to the universe every day. A kind gesture, a donation to the local food bank, helping someone, giving food to homeless people, backing local charities and hosting free craft workshops. Making sure, I try to use kindness, and creativity. I can do all of these things. This is my privilege.
Kathy Burke once said, in blinding moment of genius: "Be content. Clean your teeth. Make sure your breath don't stink. Try not to be a cunt." This my friends, are daily 'Jarmusch' rules to live by.