25 Oct Money- why its existence and its absence is the bane of my life
I’ve stopped visiting the weekend markets around Sydney. I didn’t want to spend on petrol and parking and I didn’t want to have to fight the urge not to get my hands on something I clearly didn’t need, like that pretty dress or that $4 chai latte. I don’t remember the last time I ate outside as all meals have been from the supermarket and made in the kitchen- there wasn’t anyone for me to eat out with anyway. I wasn’t very good at cooking and still not good but hey, I’ve got food in my tummy- be grateful. I haven’t done a solo roadtrip to anywhere because travelling costs money- petrol, especially. Even if it was for a weekend. Even if I had to sleep in the car for the night to save on accommodation. I haven’t picked up something new to do, something different and exciting. I’ve been doing free trials in different gyms just to motivate myself with a different environment.
Why does it have to come to this point where I stop doing the things that make me…ME? Why am I stopping myself from being happy?
I swear I hate that word.
I grew up hating that word and hating what it caused to my family.
I never would have thought I have to come to this point where I needed to find money to survive, or make me happy, and that I can’t do it on my own.
My mum read my article in the news about me not receiving any "monetary remunerations" from the association and she asked me if she should sell the house to help me out.
It made me cry for days.
No, mum, no.
I’m 27, and I should be giving my parents money each month like how every responsible Muslim child should be but I’m not and as strong as you think I am, my heart broke when it has come to a point like this.
No, mum, please don’t.
I had to assure her that I’m doing fine with money. That my savings are sufficient for me to survive here. That I get to eat and pray and sleep comfortably everyday.
What she doesn’t know (and what I hope the readers to this blog won’t spill to her) is that I am desperately looking for ways to survive here. I had $10k in my bank from whatever I saved up since the Games this year when I left for Sydney in August. I knew it wasn’t enough for me to survive until April but I went anyway because my life motto has always been, get over this bridge first and deal with the other when you get there. Not sure if that’s a good motto to live by, but it is something that has got me going and not waiting around and deciding and holding back on my plans.
Some friends have helped me "topped up" that amount, a friend in Australia provided a car for me to get around, my aunt and her beautiful family shared their home with me for a few weeks. I am surviving.
Look mum, I AM SURVIVING.
I am using a housemate’s computer to write this blog. My room is a tiny square made up of a bed, a desk, a cupboard, a clothes rack and a space to pray. I don’t really have a door to my room but the curtains will do for now.
I am surviving, mum. I’ll be okay. Keep the house because when I’m back, I want to come home. I miss the feeling of coming home.
Since I launched my website (this one, the one you’re at right now) a year ago, I have received a few messages asking me how can they help me in my dreams: MONEY. I’ve been telling them the same thing: I will be setting up a crowdfunding page soon and when the site is up, I will let you know.
THAT WAS A YEAR AGO, AISYAH.
Why have I not set up a crowdfunding account a year ago when I know that this is going to happen?
I hate having the thought of asking people for money. I was never that daughter who asked money from my parents. I’ve always been that friend who’s hardly around because I was always busy with school, training and work- who’s always having a part-time job to fit in my schedule whenever possible. I’ve always seen myself as the quintessential modern age independent female. Therefore it is defnitely not easy for me to just go out there and ask for money from the world.
But the lack of money that I’m facing right now is getting quite scary. It has come to a point where I have to constantly remind myself that I AM NOT EARNING AND I DO NOT DESERVE TO SPEND ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN FOOD AND ROWING STUFF which makes me despise going out anymore because I don’t want to spend on anything. Where I refuse to eat lunch just because I couldusethe food for dinner instead. Where I am still using my broken phone with a shattered glass screen just because repairing it is too expensive. Where I stop doing things that make me happy and when I’m not happy my rowing is affected and when I’m not fast, I become unhappy and it goes round and round and I fall into this viscous cycle of being poor and unhappy and I DON’T WANT TO GET STUCK! God, why does life have to come down to this?
THAT’S IT. I SERIOUSLY NEED TO STOP THIS NONSENSE SHIT.
I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself that I’m all alone here in Sydney and I’m missing out on having a life in Singapore. I should stop being sad that I’m fucking poor and do something about it.
(Sidetrack story: Someone asked me this recently, "Since you’re poor, are you going to get Christmas presents?" And I got mad…I don’t even know why I got mad. Am I really poor? Does me not having enough money in my bank make me poor? Is it fair for me to say that? Am I angry because I don’t want to hear the truth? I was so confused at what this person said to me and how I was feeling after that and I thought I would share that with you. That’s all.)
I’m tired of feeling like I can’t live a life since I’m out here to train. Yes, priorities are to train and race and may I be the fastest female rower in Asia if God permits but that doesn’t mean I can’t do what I used to love to do. I don’t have as many friends here as I do back in Singapore so exploring new places and trying out new things on my own keep me alive.
Being a professional athlete is not about eating, sleeping and training anymore. I realised that is is more than that- way more than that. I still jump out of bed with the excitement of being able to row every single day. I hate driving an hour to Penrith to race almost every weekend but the thought of racing still drives me crazy, in a good way. I am still hooked on to the adrenaline of rowing, I am still addicted to the beauty of rowing. And I am so incredibly grateful I am still in love with this sport, so that is definitely one problem that I do not have to think about. Thankfully.
What they don’t tell you about being a professional athlete is what we do when we don’t train. Most people work to distract themselves from rowing. That’s where my biggest challenge lies- how to keep myself alive while not rowing and not having to spend money and yet, continue to look forward to the next training. That is what I need to find out and then InsyaAllah, nothing can rattle me. Not even your hurtful words.
My bank account may be smaller than yours but my life is definitely more worth living, thank you.
And yes, my crowdfunding site will be up soon, I promise.
F*ck you, money. All I want to do is to train and be fast and go the Olympics and be happy. Why do you have to come into the picture?
Ranting ends here.