Thursday, January 3, 2008

Confronting a Final Taboo


I have written here quite candidly about sex and drugs. I have even broached the subject of cancer, which for me is a metaphor for all things dark and scary and out of my control. I have been chided for speaking freely about sensitive family issues. This place in blogdom was created by me to challenge my own bullshit. I have discussed here many things that have caused me distress and fear and particularly great shame. The process of writing for this blog has defused a number of landmines and provided pure, filled with white light, comfort.

I am content to be in my house and with my family but the last few weeks have been very sad in many ways and the source of my sadness is perhaps my very last taboo—money. Would I feel better if I scanned my bank statements and my bills and posted them here? Why have I been able to write about sex and drugs and stuff that other people would prefer I kept my trap shut about but any frank discussion about money is complete anathema?

My home will never be on the cover of Elle Decor but it is becoming a place where we can be. My family is a source of delight and warmth and comfort and all sorts of stuff I never dreamed possible in the lonely years before God sent my beloved to me. I have written more consistently in the last year than any in my life. I am eating better and participating in intensive exercise and yoga. Himself and I have grown far closer in a year that was challenging and filled with loss and could easily have pulled us apart. And yet, because of a strike and other factors, some perhaps my fault, I am less financially secure at the moment than I have been in many years and despite all of the other accomplishments that I am righteously proud of, the current financial reversal fills me with shame and a profound sense of personal failure.

No, I will not post here the red and the black ink for all to see. I have worked hard to become the person I am. I know that we will be on an austerity budget for a long time to come but we are not really suffering or wanting for what we truly need. I just can’t separate having a comfortable income with being comfortable in my skin and I’m not sure on what level or at what place I should reject this. Maybe I should be thankful for the reversal because it is forcing me to confront the one thing I may be fucked up in my thinking about more than anything else. My estimation of my own worth is inextricably tied into how much money I have. I make value judgments about others based on how much money I determine they may or may not have. After my parents’ divorce their relationship became one long protracted angry financial transaction and a constant reminder that I was merely a line item but most people I know have some sort of family and personal weirdness about money which I think often remains largely unconfronted.

Friends have sent me lists of their New Year’s resolutions to which I responded in self pity, that I have no resolutions and long only not to feel scared and sad but that was not the stuff of resolutions. But as I realize that so much of my fear and sorrow tie into being conflicted about money and how that is not the way I want to live and certainly not what I want to impart to my children, I have come to a resolution. For 2008 I resolve to further my understanding of money and strive to fully embrace, instead of give lip service to, that the quality of a person, particularly this person, has no relationship to how much or little there is. Nevertheless, my personal growth would not be hindered by a large order.

2 comments:

FionnchĂș said...

Well, I did break even on selling books on half.com to make up what I bought yesterday. Dutifully, I adapt austerity measures. For the titles everyone else reads (and rates on Amazon compared to my lonely ephemera) at least there are libraries. However, they don't stock out-of-print small press screeds on late 1960s Welsh nationalism, to their shame.

As to the larger concerns of money, you know how warped I am by Depression-raised and terminally depressed parents, I who snatches up spare change from sidewalks. My thrift brings domestic accusations of miserliness. So must my occasional expenditures cause you to shake your naturally curly head in perplexity at my esoteric demands for print. As with a hungover bon-vivant, a Vegas-pawning gambler, or a Twelve-Stepper, I vow heretofore to do my best "to avoid the near occasions of sin," as the Act of Contrition phrases it quaintly.

I do hope, as one of those talk show billionaires opined today, that Hollywood on both sides of the picket line realizes that "we had 19 people about to put another 190 out of work"-- such commonsense appears sadly lacking in both the dealings and the media coverage not granted to the collatoral damage suffered by non-guild, non-mogul, "below the line" everyday folks such as those at Budget, loyal dog-lovers all.

May this standoff end soon so you can start up gangbusters, phone ringing off the hook, website spinning with orders. xxx me

Cari said...

Interestingly, after years of abject poverty and debt, I now have more money than I could ever spend in my lifetime, yet all I want is my mommy back. Why does it always have to be a trade-off?