There were many, many times in the last year when I have had below $50 in my name. It was terrifying and upsetting, but that didn’t mean I could stop going. In the midst of dealing with financial woe, finishing a degree and taking care of an injured relative I encountered comments that made me feel even worse about the situation I was in.

I know there are times I don’t have it together, but I’m trying. I also know there are people our there that hear comments like this on a daily basis. I’m not trying to say I have it worse, lord knows I’ve had more privileges than I earned, but it still shocks me that people speak before they think.

Cringe-away at these highlights:

“What do you mean you have a job? Explain this to me.” – Well, as much as I like doing good stuff for the earth, I also need to be paid. So volunteering will always take second priority to the place that PAYS ME BY THE HOUR.

“We’re all having a hard time with money right now.” – Really? Because I literally had $20 in my bank account (counting both savings and checking). I doubt you were struggling since you just spent $40 on dinner.

“Are you ever actually going to hang out with us?” – Well, I would, but you only go to places that charge a cover that eats up my grocery budget for a year.

“It’s only $49.99 a month to rent the Adobe suite! Totally affordable.” – For someone who makes $10 an hour at a part-time job? Not really.

“I’ve never seen a laptop so old. I mean really. That’s so old. Super old. How is it even still working?” – Thanks. Sorry my old MacBook from all the way back in 2009 doesn’t have an SD card slot. Really. I had no idea that would offend someone so much.

“I’ve never seen a smartphone this old. It doesn’t even have retina display.” – Well considering I’ve never owned a phone when the year it was released (until very recently) I think you can excuse the poor quality of my iPhone 3. Maybe don’t look directly at it so it can stop confusing you.

“What did your parents say about you working retail with a Masters? They must have been upset.” – Since it was the only job I could get immediately upon graduating I think they didn’t care. Being unemployed was no excuse for not PAYING MY BILLS. Excuse me for not just refusing to work for jobs that you deemed below my education because I needed to eat.

“What do you mean you don’t have your own DSLR setup?” – Well, since that costs over $1,000 and I don’t even have a car, job or healthcare I think my excuse is that I have different priorities.