(Part of me doesn’t want to publish this, and part of me says “Write what you know, and publish it” because this is where my mind is right now. But know that a part of me thinks it’s whining, ‘cos I know a lot of people are as broke as I am right now, or worse, and for longer. But it’s where my head is, and sometimes I think that’s the best part of blogging… momentary glimpses of others’ realities. Welcome to mine.)
I chuckled a lame-ass chuckle when I caught a t-shirt with an arts-snob pun: “Baroque: adj., when you are out of Monet”.
Broke? Out of money? Recessions and seasonal slow-downs are a bitch, n’est ce pas? Wow.
So, it’s a week into my “I got towed!” broke-ass pay period, and I’ve got about 10 days to go. And, man, am I just bummed. Like I say, I know this is a four- to six-week period, it’ll pass, and I’m grateful I can look forward to some relief down the line.
But the trouble with the four to six weeks that need to elapse is, we live in a society that judges you on money. How much do you got? What can you do with it? Got toys? Prove it!
And it’s days like this where I start to doubt my life choices. And I hate that. I hate doubting myself. I hate the fear of “Man, what if I’d gone that other way? What would I have now?”
I don’t have a lot in life, you know? My life is simple. Splurging means I’ve paid $12-15 for a bottle of wine, instead of $9 or so. Or maybe it means I’ve bought a nice steak to grill. And that’s all right with me. I don’t mind my “small pleasures” in life actually being small, because the life I lead is so much more simpler and mine than the life led by most, if not all, of my friends.
Know that life you dream of where you have enough control over your life, enough time, and enough flexibility to do what you want? The life you had at 20? Well, that’s the life I still lead at 35.
Trouble is, it doesn’t pay great, and this city’s an expensive bitch to live in, but it’s my home. But I get by, and I’m all right with getting by. In fact, the track “I’ll Get By” by Swag is my personal anthem. And I’m all right with that.
But when I’m sitting around and I know there are folks around me who are five years younger and making $10,000-40,000 more a year than I am, it’s natural for me to start wondering if selling out and following my political instincts for a corporate career might’ve been smarter than following my love of the written word, as much as I might love the life I usually lead.
I could’ve probably done well in the political realm. When I was 18, I got involved with the Young Liberals. After a few weeks I found myself thinking “These people are so fake…” and I jetted from the scene, despite knowing it’d give me awesome job contacts.
I’d have made the contacts that keep some young folks I know sitting pretty at $70,000 a year, while I’m here scheming about an exciting diet consisting primarily of, yes, beans, and rationing my juice out.
Trouble is, I know I probably would’ve become one of those people that a) never writes, b) starts to wonder what might’ve been if she had been writing, and c) starts to hate the job so much that it’s all about living for the expensive-ass vacation it can pay for and all the pretty toys it provides to play with.
I wish some part of me could cook up a brilliant way to combine both worlds. But I’ve tried to live that dichotomy and it tore me apart inside over the last couple of years. I’ve learned the hard way that I gotta go for the soul of life, and not the show of life. I returned to a job that affords me the flexibility and the time required to live the writing life I’d like to maintain the rest of my days.
And most of the time I’m cool with just getting by. I’m cool with being this chick of words and thoughts and not a whole lot else. My cheapness is a running joke these days, and I’m cool with that, but not cool with being THIS broke, and not for this length of time. (It’ll be two or three rough months by the time this passes, but this is the worst patch and things will start to ease up in a couple weeks. Whew.)
I feel like a failure today. A big, fat failure, and it’s all because I haven’t got money in my wallet. It doesn’t matter that I’m a great person with a fun job and a cute apartment who’s lost 35 pounds all on her own steam, who’s healthier than ever before, and who throws down a good blog, you know?
I’m the chick who’s not getting her bills paid, and that’s the identity that screams loudest at me right now.
We’ve ALL had this feeling, probably. Or at least most of us have. That dark period before the dawn when you’re so goddamned broke you feel like you’re being Punk’d by Kra-Z Glue? That period when you can’t pay your bills, the best thing you can do is figure out which utility needs a greater percentage of the bill paid? Yeah. I fucking hate not being able to pay bills. That just sucks. I feel like such a pariah.
It blows, and we all know it. I’m certainly not the only person going through tough times these days.
Like any other challenge in life, I’m reminding myself that this is more a test of my personal endurance than it is bad luck. It’s an opportunity for me to see how low I can go whilst still bouncing back. Knowing your mettle is always advantageous in the contact sport of life.
But I’d like to spend a little less time being tested. Wouldn’t we all? Geez.