June 25, 2009

Uncomfortable


worries
about money
about finances
are not funny

i thought when i became a writer, student, deep thinker, deep breather
that things would be simple and that life would be free
i thought i would struggle poetically like they all do
but my prose and poems would be enough for milk and eggs and such
now i have realized that is not the case
and even dickens and poe and all the fellows who knew what writing was
knew it was an art, and that arts are necessary for the common welfare
but they are not the greatest way to become rockefeller or carnegie
i laugh now thinking how naive i was
and sometimes sigh about writing being engraved into me so strongly
a curse, a blessing, a habit, a life

I wrote that when I was 17 years old. It's irritatingly innocent to me now. Some of you have been brave enough already to talk about finances, something that is harder to discuss than nearly anything else. I suppose it's my turn.

I wasn't raised in a family with money. We had enough of everything we needed, of course, but not a lot of flashy extras I would sometimes play with at friends' houses. When my parents split up, I moved with my mom and siblings to various homes around town. She had a good job as a nurse, but it was still hard to feed five kids. So we didn't eat out much at all anymore. I babysat most days. Lots of things changed. One day, she must have sensed how low I felt-when I opened my lunchbag next to my locker, I saw a $5 bill and a note that said she loved me. I'll never forget it.

But since then, things have been a bit better. Never worry free, but easier. The time living with my dad spoiled me into forgetting what real life was like. Real life, as it turns out, kind of sucks, as far as being an adult. Everything revolves around the day rent it due. Paychecks are hoarded. Every single expense is weighted and calculated. I haven't said much to my dad on this at all, but when he met me at the pool today and I paid my way in and walked inside, he tried to hand me some dollar bills. "What are you doing?" I asked him. "Paying your way in," he said. I was thankful, but felt like the lowest of the low. I shoved the money back at him. He paid for an oil change for my car the other day, and put gas in it, arguing that I was driving so he could help. I drove the way there and thought about this, feeling bad. He drove the way home, and I felt worse. He was worried whether I could afford his Father's Day present.

College is supposed to mean more money in the long run. Once the fall semester starts, I'll have my grants and my tuition reimbursement to get me through and give me some spare change on the side. Right now, it just means a bigger credit card payment. Besides, who makes money writing, anyway? Writers are not known for the bank.

Then, the other issue. A couple weekends ago, I was supposed to walk down the street in a gorgeous, strapless dress and go to a local concert. I would look willowy (is there a nicer compliment on earth than being 'willowy', by the way?) and summery. I pulled the dress on-bad. Bad, bad, bad. I tried on a similar one-it wouldn't zip. A pile of clothes later, I realized nothing dressy from last summer still fit. I just found out I'm going to a wedding next Saturday-the first thing I did when I got home was pull a silk dress out of the dry cleaner bag, and slipped it on. It fits. Thank goodness.

I am not used to this. I remember exactly how much I weighed in high school. I was probably in the thinner half of the people around me. Everyone said I was skinny. I loved this. This one compliment I could believe and delight in. I had glasses for a time, and braces too, but thinness without effort was lovely. Then I gained a bit. No big deal-still was called skinny, still ate everything I wanted, and never felt self conscious in a swimsuit. And then, the present day- I wore a swimsuit today and could do little else than eye every other girl there, wondering if I looked thinner or fatter than them. Dad told me I used to look anorexic-now I have "meat on my bones". That was not comforting.

All of these things are ugly. No one likes to hear people whine, and no one wants to admit their insecurities and worries to the world. But this is part of me lately, and it's fake to pretend it isn't happening. I'm a really happy girl-actually, stunningly happy as of late-but when I'm not, this is what's on my mind. So win money, get a second job, or eat lots of PB and Js; diet, get a one piece, or work out daily-it can be overcome once I'm motivated.

I'm getting pretty close to all of the above-minus the winning money.

1 kind comments from you:

Nicholereo333 said...

none of my clothes fit from last summer either and I'm trying to save money for better life, but who knows how its really gonna turn out, LIFE that is.

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