last week i eagerly did all that i could to earn the cash to pay for the last session of kelly rae robert's e-course. it's the only e-course i've ever really wanted to take and when she announced that she wasn't going to offer it again i knew it had to do this for myself.
well first i asked my husband but we're in the middle of putting our old house on the market and he's financially nervous (which is really nothing new or unfamiliar) and grumbled a moment about the time investment this course would require of me. it wasn't a conversation i wanted to have because i couldn't or didn't want to convince him that it would be worth it or pay off or have some value other than it's just something on the list of things his flighty wife wants.
so i made a plea to my facebook friends - it was time to sell some art in order to reach this small goal and it worked! i am thankful for my friends and the offers to lend me the money or help cover the difference but i didn't want to borrow money and was completely thrilled that i sold enough to pay for the course and cover the bills i was worried about paying on friday.
yes, a week ago, in the midst of doing what i could in order to pay for the course i realized that i'd WAY overspent on groceries and somehow my bank account wasn't magically replenishing itself. i couldn't (or i chose not to) tell my husband that instead of spending $80 on groceries (which is my weekly budget) i'd actually spent $150. i goofed and i was bummed but i trusted that it would work out and it did.
however, two days into the course i experienced a very strange thing. someone asked me if i knew someone in the course. i didn't but decided to look on the facebook group to see if i could find her name. when i noticed that there were almost 300 members in the facebook group, i got a knot in my stomach. now, there are almost 500 members and i'm not as weirded out about it as i was at first but when i did the math i felt like a complete idiot. like, here i am, still feeling as though i'm barely scraping by (more on that later), scrambling to make the $139 entrance fee when it's apparently easy for others to come by or just have on-hand at all times - anyhow, you guessed it - all the financial scarcity issues i deal with or don't deal with on a daily basis surfaced for me. ALL of them. i sat with the feeling a while, i examined it from the physical sensation through a logical checklist in which i asked myself repeatedly, "what's your problem?"
i wasn't envious or bitter - in fact, i am delighted that so many people find value in the work kelly rae has done. i'm not sure if i really ever want to lead e-classes or workshops but it was actually a shock that led to hope and a new perspective on NOT limiting myself because going into this, i thought maybe, maybe there'd be 100 participants. i thought it would be a small networking group but hey, the bigger the better and after reorganizing some of my thoughts i realized that i still completely value the material and what i'm about to embark on. i don't think i've ever done anything like this, in this magnitude, for myself.
so what is it? it's actually something i've been working on all summer but still have much to learn, obviously. i have operated from a place of lack for so long that it's hard to recognize it's grip and yet half the time i deny it.
sometimes people do things like tell me about a sale and it doesn't matter if it's an end of season clearance at target or an annual tent sale at a sporting goods store. i don't have money but i don't get into it. i smile and thank them for letting me know and leave it at that. sometimes, however, i go into detail and then i immediately feel like an asshole. like i'm complaining. like i'm trying to elicit sympathy.
i'm not. i'm just trying to illustrate that when i say it doesn't fit into my budget, it doesn't. like at all. like i have zero extra dollars that are not already allotted at the end of most weeks.
then i tell myself, it doesn't matter. nobody cares about the specific situation i'm in and we, as a society, are used to hearing "i'm broke" even from people with a triple digit annual salary.
it's been a long time since i've actually said i was broke. first of all, because of what the mere word implies. broke. broken. on the journey of fixing what was broken within myself i stopped talking about myself and my financial situation that way. but the truth is i still feel broke. i still am broke. i feel like, while making progress, it's taking too long and there are still way too many times i have less than $20 in the bank and need gas in the car.
the odd contrast is that i have a very full, rich life otherwise. my husband supports our household in that he houses, feeds, and insures his family. he even pays what is essentially child support to my mother because MY sixteen year old (not his, not ours; mine) lives with her. he does a lot and i love where we're at. i am grateful for our home and my uber part-time job. it is a blessing that i can stay home and make art and homeschool our sons. i wouldn't trade it for anything.
so people look at me strange when i tell them that i pay my own bills and that i only make enough each month TO pay those bills. i may have a little bit of extra here and there and i've curbed my spending in an extreme sense but all it takes is one or two treats for the boys and i at barnes and noble or a trip to the art store when canvases are on sale and that extra is gone. i could save. i should save. i need glasses (and as small business owners we don't have a vision plan). i'd like to go on an overnight mountain retreat with my bestfriend or even just be able to take her out to dinner without having to ask my husband for money. and for various reasons, his issues as well as mine, i don't ask him for money. i feel weird even asking him for the grocery money each week. i think that's weird but i have yet to understand what it's about but it comes from feeling weird about asking anyone for money. ever.
i feel weird even admitting this, especially when telling people that know me. some don't get it, they don't understand and might even think i'm lying. my kids wear decent clothes and i carry nice handbags so when i have to admit that i don't have gas in my car it feels more than awkward. on one hand i have had to acknowledge that obviously i have a strange set of priorities (but also if you knew how i shopped, you'd know i could buy my kids a pair of keens for less than i'd spend on a pair of athletic shoes from walmart, and yeah, i'd rather buy the keens) but i was also starting to wonder if i really felt the way they did. was this a weird set up? should my husband completely support me in everything and allow me to dip into his wallet for anything? (and omg how many times can i say "weird" in a paragraph?)
quite frankly, i don't agree with that. he and i never really had strict guidelines or even a formal agreement about how to handle our finances after we got married but as long as i have credit card or student loan bills i do not expect him to pay them. what that looks like is that now that i'm not working outside of the home, he pays for all the groceries and pretty much everything else aside from my bills and anything extraneous which is where things get tricky. if he's with the kids and wants to buy them something he does and he can but i don't ask him for spending money so if i don't have money to treat the kids when i'm out with them, i don't. sometimes i'll ask him for wardrobe funds but for the most part i handle that, too. i'm okay with that, perhaps because i was a single mom for a long time and have learned to make a dollar stretch and don't mind clothing my kids or buying them school supplies or toys on my timeframe and budgetary constraints.
i don't know when or where i'll break from financial scarcity into financial abundance but i know it's possible because in every other area of my life that i experienced lack, i now experience riches greater than my wildest dreams. i know, and i have known, that following my heART will produce the income necessary to be self-sufficient and self-supporting. i know that i will be able to pay off my student loans and my credit card debt is less than the typical american's so i don't let it overwhelm me anymore.
i am where i need to be. i am happy with my circumstances. i love my life.
that is all true and yet it's also not true that i want more.
i want more.
how trained i've been to think of that as selfish but that also comes from a place of lack, the very place i'm trying to leave and it should not be considered selfish to want to be able to afford to see the doctor if necessary or go get glasses or take a two-day roadtrip with a friend. it's actually a lack of self-worth that would make me think that wanting to be able to provide those things for myself is somehow selfish. it's actually pretty twisted, huh? i think somewhere along the path of learning to be truly grateful for what i had i forgot that it's okay to want what i need.
i'm excited for the following weeks as i continue with my flying lessons and uncover more about myself on this journey of creating myself and a creative business. life is throwing it's usual curveballs but i'm here now. secure in having what i need, learning that it's okay to ask for more.