I have been feeling a lot of financial stress lately, and that’s bad.
Bad because when I feel financially stressed, it makes me feel scared and insecure and that really kicks the crap out of my mood and makes me depressed.
So today I am going to paint a picture of my financial week in order to get that out of my head, then talk about why having enough money isn’t enough for me.
Hmmm. Well, in the financial world, the day begins on Monday, so we will start there. Let’s start with my $150/week budget and go from there.
Monday. I don’t go out on Mondays, and hence, I don’t spend anything either.
Tuesday. Hang out with Felicity and Joe at Felicity’s parents’ place. That costs me around $20 for McD’s and/or stuff from 7-11. Down to $130.
Wednesday. Same as Monday. No exit, no money.
Thursday. This is where things get tricky. Thursdays I have therapy at 1 pm in the afternoon then Paragon, where I leave the house around 7 pm. Paragon definitely costs me around $20 for McD’s and such, but depending on how my supplies at home are doing. I may or may not also need to stop at 7-11 after therapy. And that tends to also cost around $20. So basically, Thursday is a $20-$40 day. We will go with $40. That takes us to $90.
Friday. Same as Tuesday. 7-11 and/or McD’s. $20. Down to $70.
Saturday. My “me” day. I order in supper. Budget $30 for that. Down to $40.
Sunday. My big day. Eating out at Denny’s or ABC costs around $25. That takes us to $15. And my weekly grocery shopping after that costs $40. Which brings us to… -$25.
No wonder I am stressed. My expenses have expanded to exceed my income. I have been scraping by via certain thrift measures like shopping smart and making that $40 stretch deep into the week so that I don’t need a resupply run on Thursday (+$20 brings us to -$5) and keeping my Dennys/ABC meals under $20 when I can (takes care of that -5 and gets me to zero. Yay. )
But the point is that I am just barely making it. And that’s bad. Not only does it mean that absolutely any unexpected expense can mean I am totally fucked, but it makes it impossible to save up.
And both of those facts leave me feeling very exposed and insecure. I am definitely not the sort of person who can live for today and let tomorrow work itself out. I have to know I have the practical details are taken care of to my satisfaction or I can’t relax.
It’s freaking me out just writing out this shit.
And it wasn’t always like this. That’s what makes my current situation especially stressful. There was a time when having $150/week made me feel positively giddy with wealth. And a time before that when I would have drooled over even $100/week.
But these expenses crept up on me.
For instance, before our building switched to the very stupid policy of wanting all cars in the visitor parking lot out by midnight, Felicty would come to the apartment to hang out and therefore hanging out with her didn’t cost $20/pop. So that’s $40 right there.
Then there’s the Paragon meetings. That’s another $20/week.
Wow, that means my expenses used to be like, $90/week. No wonder I felt rich, I had $60/week of discretionary spending!
Now I have nothing to be discrete about.
Back after doing the Paragon thang.
So what do I do to correct my perilous financial position? Well, like in any business, there are two ways to fix it : increase revenues, and decrease expenditures.
Increasing revenues is possibly a possibility. I still have my UpWork account and could totally go look for more freelance work. I feel that oh so familiar icy hand of fear grab my heart when I think about it, but I have isolated that feeling and my short term plans are to defy it to greater and greater degress until it snaps like a bent twig and dies.
I just have to remind myself that I am outrageously talented and totally deserve all the success in the world and that there is a great big wonder world out there full of opportunities for a super talented writer like myself and all I have to do is go out there and pound on doors until someone out there is smart enough to hire me.
In other words, I just have to remember that I’m awesome and no temporary fluctuation of my brain chemicals is going to change that. I don’t have to feel awesome to be awesome, just like you don’t need to see the sun to know it’s there.
There’s sunshine in my heart. It’s always there.
And it makes me a sweet, sweet honey…. fox.
That song really touches me. And it’s a good touch. I feel like there is something in there that I deeply need. Something like innocence and something like wisdom and something that, to me, feels a lot like love.
Perhaps it touches whatever scraps of innocence I have left from my all too short healthy childhood. It certain feels like that something that I felt other kids’ families had and mine did not. The thing I longed for with all my being without knowing what it was.
I can’t give that “something” a name, but it’s pure and healthy and strong and filled with sunshine and safety and love.
The other kids felt safe in the world and didn’t worry about things beyond their control and had a vitality and confidence that comes with being part of a loving, supportive, involved family that cares about one another.
I didn’t have that. I can’t remember a time when I felt safe. Not aftet the rape. That left me a broken child whose life force was locked away under sheets of solid ice and who was left timid and weak and unable to speak up for himself.
To this day, I still have trouble making my needs known. After all, I’m a grown man and grown men are supposed to take care of everything themselves, right?
And scared little kids are so afraid of their parents’ disapproval that they will endure constant bullying and a hellacious childhood rather than ask for anything.
Guess which one I am.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.