For this current time period, I am working through Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan’s book Money Drunk, Money Sober before I work through the Prosperous Heart. The following blog entries are in response to prompts and experiences from the book. I see this as an extension of my Artist’s Way work. Some of my entries are jarring and highly personal – any program of sobriety and self-improvement demands admitting dysfunction both personally and in family, and it also calls to admit some painful truths. While not everything I work on appears here, a number of realities do. I have a genuine body of work thanks to my work on the Artist’s Way program, and I can’t ignore the changes the continual commitment has brought about. Because of that, I also can’t ignore what going further into the harder aspects of the program – like facing money issues – has the potential to improve.
- The car tow incident. My car got towed – despite my actually paying for my spot. Then the ride/”friend” who was to take me to the car pretended she didn’t understand where the car was, getting me charged an extra fifty bucks because she refused to listen to my directions. I had just that week finally stashed some money in savings after financial post-divorce health difficulty. All got used for the car tow. I still believe t the woman driving me was being a racist cow – she refused to believe white Americans weren’t automatically rich, and I think she got off on that little way to screw me over further financially. Nothing was ever an accident with her, and a lot of rotten just “happened” when she was around.
- College was a constant fight on the edge of powerlessness. I never knew from year to year whether there would be enough money, and without a car, working part time was impossible as nowhere would hire you without a car. I still look at my bachelor’s degree as something of a miracle – I am completely persuaded that if I had gone to Ball State as my parents tried to manipulate me to (and I will forever think less of them for the manipulation and their inability to realize that the college HAD CHANGED since the 1960s when they went) I would be as barefoot, pregnant, and useless as my sister was by the time she was 22. Since both mother and sister started their “Diana should get knocked up” campaign my freshman year of college it was clear to me that my family did not respect my efforts to get an education at all, and only considered my efforts valid if I was in pursuit of an Mrs. When confronted about this shittery, I got excuses – insulting to my intelligence excuses. Even if I wanted children, I would not trust these idiots anywhere near a child of mine.
- Post-divorce emergency room visits. There’s once where my tongue started hiving, so I HAD to go to the emergency room. I know I got billed for it, and I know I had no insurance. Even now I have to force myself to go to the doctor. The fat shaming I can and will fight – but there’s a part of me that still thinks I can’t pay for what care I get. When I was on Minnesota Care, doctors used it as an excuse to give me really shoddy healthcare, too – a common experience for most of us who have gone on the program.
- My ex-husband refused to talk about any conflict, and money was his biggest addiction since he quit drinking after he got drunk and picked me up from work one night – and it was made clear he would not be having sex with me again if he risked my life like that again. Between the two of us, we were a financial disaster together – and he would do things like just cancel cable without talking to me, or refuse to go to movies at all. He wanted to stay in, play video games, and work a part time job that wasn’t even paying for his flight school. Then he just stopped going to flight school and didn’t tell me. When I tried to talk to him about it, to get on the same page, to find a way to live that wasn’t constant misery, bounced checks and depression – total stonewalling. Part of the reason I let things get financially weird after our divorce stemmed from my feelings of anger at his refusal to really try to work it out beforehand. He was brilliant at economics and business but just couldn’t bring it home in a livable way. I spent that entire marriage feeling like I was never going to earn enough money for him and his family to accept me – and his mother made it very clear while we were dating she thought I was a gold digger.
- Whenever I changed jobs. I figured out early that the way I dressed made a significant difference in the way I was treated, but most jobs did not pay me well enough to buy the clothing that got me viewed as “professional.” Being employed was in and of itself an endless credit card debt trap.
There are so many more incidents, but these are the ones that stand out today.