Education,  Finances,  Frugality,  Investments,  self-improvement,  Success

The Life of a Social Outcast

This past year has taught me that it is not socially acceptable to save money. It is not socially acceptable to want to educate yourself. And it is definitely not socially acceptable to spend your time pursuing your dreams.

With the exception of my auntie and a couple of friends I’ve been forced to go underground, to hide what I’m doing and who I truly am. The criticism has become too overwhelming. It’s gotten to the point where I’m forced to tell everyone that I am constantly broke just so they’ll leave me alone.

It’s no wonder so few people actually work towards their dreams. They are surrounded by a world that’s fighting to keep them down.

I don’t dare discuss my financial goals with my friends. I don’t dare discuss how I manage to save money every month to deposit towards my dreams. I stopped daring to discuss the books I read, since they look at me as if I’ve sprouted a second head when I mention books like Price Theory, Financial Management, or Sam Walton’s biography.

Most people around me read only fiction, if they read anything at all aside from Facebook posts. I’ve been called crazy to my face more than once for being happy that I scored a business book by checking the giveaways at the library.

Why is it crazy to want to educate myself and improve my life?

“You need to get your nose out of those books and start living!”

“You need to get away. Some friends and I are taking a trip to Florida. Why don’t you come with us? It’s only $700 to split the hotel room and gas. You can afford to cut loose!”

“Come out to the bar tonight after work. I’ll pick you up!”

“Ugh! You’re going to burn out your brain reading that stuff! Why do you even bother? You need to take your money and buy a car. Hey, wanna get your nails done? It’s only $35.”

“You work too much! All work and no play is making you boring! All you need to do is find a good man to take care of you; if you’d date for a change you wouldn’t have to work so hard! Seriously, you need to get a makeover so you can attract a man! And take that damned ring off your finger. You’re available!”

I find myself missing my former co-worker, Miss K, on a daily basis. She is a high-school student who noticed my inner battle.

“You’re going to be a secret millionaire.” She gazed at me with depthless eyes one evening as we shared a break together. “I can see it. They don’t understand but I do, and I admire you. And every day I see you sharing less because they just don’t get it. One of these days you’re going to make it, but don’t tell them that. You hide what you’re doing. It will make it easier.”

God I miss that child.

Perhaps in time I’ll make a friend who is as determined to succeed as I am, who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals but until then I’ll just go it alone. I’ve got to do this, not just for me, but to prove that even the poorest of the poor can achieve financial freedom if they truly want it.

Until then I’m just going to keep my fat mouth shut.

Do you have to hide too? Please share your stories in the comments below.

10 Comments

  • Carolina

    Dear Annie,

    So, so sorry you have to hide so much of what’s going on in your life.
    I’m not entirely certain this is a ‘general’ thing though! I’ ve spent my life around people who worked very hard to be successful, and weren’t shy to show their hard work, or the fruits of their labour. As a consequence, I felt able (if not obliged), to better myself as well. I’m working hard, as are you!

    I’m curious to know what you think: would another socio-economic environment have made a difference? Would people outside of ‘the hood’ have understood and supported you better?
    Keep going luv,
    Carolina

    • Annie

      That’s a very good question, Carolina. I suspect that a large part of what I’m facing is directly related to my socio-economic climate. That said, I enjoy my job and love my little house, so for now until I work out the best way to navigate this I will have to keep quiet.

      That said, this experience is really educational, even as it frustrates me. How can I teach others how they can improve their financial lives if the ones I need to reach are surrounded by people who will discourage them?

      More importantly to this project: If I decide to shift my socio-economic circle, is that cheating, or is that part of my personal growth? Will people look at a shift and say “I can’t do that; I can’t leave my friends, my neighborhood, or my job.”

      That said, I suspect that my socio-economic circle IS changing as a result of this promotion. It’s far too early to tell yet but I’ve noticed that more of my daily conversations at work are taking place with other managers now. This situation may end up resolving itself.

      If Napoleon Hill is correct, as I continue to grow, to reach above the station I’m currently at, opportunities will arise that naturally elevate me; those who seek to hinder me will fade away and be replaced in time. Considering that this promotion was a bit of a surprise, I’m beginning to wonder if his statement is true.

      What do you think?

      • Carolina

        Dear Annie,

        Thanks for your answer, I really appreciate it.
        I do really belief our socio-economic circumstances are very important. Having said that, I also strongly agree with Dave Ramsey: we’re NOT victims! In the end, most of us get to reap what we sow. It’ s obviously very true that some people have to overcome way more than others though.

        I had to think for a while about your remark/question about ‘cheating’. Ignoring the people who have loved you well so far, and pretending you have a different background would be unfair and ‘cheating’ in my opinion. However, working hard and changing your life is not cheating at all!! This is true wether you would eventually choose to move house/jobs etc. or not.
        It’s actually the other way around: NOT CHOOSING TO BETTTER YOURSELF IS CHEATING! It means you forgo on opportunities given, and make others around you feel like it’s ok to make wrong choices over and over again (like trying to make you pay for their waterbill;)).

        I honestly don ‘t think you have to go and tell everybody what you’re up to (I don’t, it would jeopardize my personal safety!). But even if you keep a low profile, you ‘re still leading by example. Please don’t worry too much about not being able to reach all the people who need help. There’s this beautiful saying: “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. You can’t control when those around you will be ready, but you have inspired so.many.people allready!

        Good luck with your new, well earned job & take care,
        Carolina

  • Karen Richardson

    Oh Annie, how clearly I remember people making fun of me for my lifestyle. At first it hurt and then I used it to make me even more determined. Hope you find another kindred spirit soon. In the meantime, keep sharing with us, keep working towards your goals. You are a strong woman. We are on your side. I left my abusive husband with only 2 suitcases and now I’m financially independent, even without social security but no one knows how much money I have because I live very modestly. Wearing out my shoes and wearing a limited wardrobe has paid off in the end. Hang in there!

    • Annie

      Oh wow, I am so proud of you! What an amazing story. Kudos to you my friend, and thank you for the inspiration. I admire your gumption!

  • Karen Richardson

    Forgot to say I think you find this at all socio -economic levels, based on my experience. The only difference is the amount of money involved. My last boss who made over $200,000 a year spoke boldly about how she hated books and reading! Needless to say I didn’t mention to her that I read an average of 1-2 nonfiction books a week.

    • Annie

      It amazes me that there are people who don’t read. OMG, if it wasn’t for books…I honestly don’t know where I’d be. I learned how to repair my home, work on computers, about starting my own business, and so many other subjects.

      It reminds me of the Mark Twain quote about people dragging you down to their level of stupidity and beating you with experience lol!

    • Carolina

      Dear Karen,

      Point taken! There are non readers to be found at every socio-economic level I’m sure.