So I was working out and watching Six Feet Under and the cliche troubled baby of the family was getting an even more cliche talk from a high school guidance counselor (did anyone else get totally mislead by media and think they would actually be sitting down and having heart to hearts with a guidance counselor in high school? Literally never did that once, never once did I discuss my plans for the future with anyone. I had to figure it all out on my own. I did pretty good though) and while said cliche baby of the family was saying she didn’t want to go to college to get a good job to work until she dropped dead of exhaustion (I was like..yep…yep, sounds accurate) the counselor asked what she wanted to do instead.
Whenever someone is a television show is having an angsty existential crisis about the meaning and purpose of life, or they’re just feeling familial and societal pressure to pick a career path for the rest of your life when your brain isn’t even fully developed yet, I always have the same answer for the trite questions they get asked. Like, if you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do? If it was solely about doing something constructive that you loved the most, what would that constructive thing be? You can’t say marijuana strain tester or your personal equivalent of that, either.
So, what’s my answer? I would write. Like no matter what the status of my life. That’s always been the case. And I’ll admit, there’s been some LONG lulls. I started writing I’d say roughly a year or two after I learned to read. I remember doing it by hand then on an electric typewriter. We didn’t own a computer until I was in the second or third grade. But then of course, having an in-home, then later on in-room computer was very conducive to writing being a major pastime of my childhood. I remember quite distinctly, many pleasant Saturday evenings spent by myself in my room, writing on my computer. Honestly, I had next to nothing of a social life in high school, but I don’t think I bothered to make much time for it. My plan was to keep the files I had managed to start and use them to write during (ha) college. Of course that didn’t go incredibly well because timewise one doesn’t have a lot to go around for personal writing between working and college and needing to sleep. And at one point I even thought I would take a career path that led me far away from writing or anything to do with it, I was an accounting major for awhile…blegh. That’s like…the tiny part of me that wanted to act basic to fit in…that’s what that was. I remember receiving encouragement from an academic adviser at my undergraduate school and being like…well that’s at least one person to not shit on the concept. And it was like finally hearing what I wanted to hear made me realize that I already KNEW what I wanted to hear. Like they say when you need to make a decision you should flip a coin, because you’ll realize while the coin is turning mid-air that you already know which side you hope to see.
So, like the beginning of Goodfellas, a movie I watched again and again as a teen, you know this whole, I always wanted to be a writer kind of thing.
So I guess I should be spending my evenings writing then, huh? I should. But instead I’m on WordPress, taking 600 words to get to that run-on sentence in the paragraph before this one.
I am the master of run-ons. If you think two degrees in English changed that, I don’t feel like you know me well enough yet. Which I mean, most people don’t so you can feel good about being part of the majority on that one.
This week was a personal best. I budgeted us down to $0.06. That’s how much we have left until my husband gets paid on Friday. I do too but his money will be there first because I work for a company that thinks people won’t show up to work on Friday if they direct deposit our paychecks. True story.
Have I mentioned how incredibly sick I am of being poor? Of being fucking broke, rather? Like I feel like I exist like a bum on certain levels, but like…I don’t know I know I’m smart, but I also feel fucking TRAPPED in a poor person’s shit cycle.
How did it start? Well, I CERTAINLY grew up in a home that was not financially solvent. It’s SO awkward when people ask about vacations you took as a child and you’re like…uhhh….what? Everyone was too busy being dysfunctional and taking out their negative emotions on one another and being hyper critical of one another, plus we were POOR. My Grandma would buy us school clothes and give my mom money to make ends meet, but she certainly wasn’t going to pay for us to take vacations. She was NOT a frivolous person. Remember, she grew up the only child of an alcoholic shell shock probably gay WW1 veteran farmer, and her parents got married after she’d been conceived…so….yeah, she thought people who had big houses and more than one car per adult and who went on frequent vacations were ungodly, and I mean that in the most serious terms. I’m not at all talking shit about her but the woman certainly had a narrow view of the word. I mean…she was from an all white town (that’s a generous word for it) in Wisconsin, she was born in 1918…she never went to college. She was very well read though, and volunteered as a teacher’s aide for most of her adult life. She was also very into donating blood, for some reason. I do that too, when I can. I have the most common blood type so it’s important.
SO, anyway, growing up poor kind of influences you into being used to always just scraping by, nothing more, of using credit cards to pay for things you couldn’t otherwise afford. AND, of course, there was nothing saved up for my college. My dad implied I should’ve just gotten a full ride scholarship. That’s the thing, no matter how much he praised me, he also had this way of undermining everything everyone else did or liked. That wears on a person, after awhile. And I got some scholarships, but certainly not a free ride. I went to the cheapest state school in my state though…so that helped I guess. So I started accumulating debt right at 18. What else was I supposed to do, not go to college? The only cheaper option that would have worked would have been the community college in my town….but why would I do that when I didn’t have to? I’m fucking above community college caliber, even if I am poor white trash when you look at my credit score. Which I need to start doing soon.
Then, the debt just kept snowballing from there. I took out a lot of credit cards. I remember taking out one and maxing it out immediately to pay my rent. What else was I supposed to do? Then, as the years passed and I was still totally supporting myself and living by myself I took out a few personal student loans as well, in addition to the money from the federal government. A lot more credit cards were gotten. At one point, I had to use one of those credit card debt repayment help services. They turn off all of your credit cards, but collections processes stop, they stop calling you, and you start paying them off at a reduced rate. It really did help. But there were a few I didn’t enroll in that service, and then I just started accumulating more and more as the years passed. The Mattress World one when we bought our bed together a week before we got engaged. The Menards one when we desperately needed window air conditioners for our rental house and we had no other means to purchase them. The Target one the night I bought my 2DS with R (blegh again). The JC Penney one when I realized the same card could be used for Sephora make up and work clothes. Then Care credit we’ve used to get our cats to the vet for years now. Then the three regular credit cards that are pretty much always maxed out. Then I obviously have student loan payments. THEN all the money it takes to just exist.
Ugh, just writing that makes me realize how impossible it all is. We’re making more now that we ever have, but maybe it hasn’t happened long enough for me to notice. It’s like we can’t figure it out. We’re broke AF all the time but literally the only extraneous thing we spend money on is weed. And we used to both smoke cigarettes and drink every single day in addition to always smoking weed, so I’m quite uncertain how there’s less now. And that’s with my in laws still paying for both of our cell phones and my husband’s car insurance. We only so recently started paying our rent ourselves. What, like you’re too good to take free rent money when it’s offered? Please. When people get weird when I tell them that, they’re just jealous. I’d be jealous and hateful too, so I deem it fine.
But, I mean, I feel kind of trapped when it comes to money. Maybe that’s my problem. I always manage to get us just through the week, and that’s all I’m able to do it would seem.
BUT, the huge bright side to my financial complaints is that it doesn’t cost anything to be a writer. I mean sure it takes my time, but what other potentially profitable thing could I really be fitting into post working out after work and making dinner? That’s a whopping 1-3 hour window, also of course it’s my only me time.
Wow, it’s really late, and this has gotten really long. I am beginning to strongly doubt that I’ll bother making dinner tonight.
But like I said, always wanted to be a writer, despite my MANY, MANY other horrid life choices and preferences and decisions, I will always stay true to this one pursuit and it seems so natural and right I can’t explain it to anyone.
See, I can be succinct when I want, but where’s the real craftsmanship in that?