For this 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.
This exercise asks me what it would look like if my money problems disappeared tomorrow. To clarify, as a few behaviors have suggested friends reading this think I’m in dire straits: I’m not. Dire straits were happening in 2005. Now, it’s simply that I’ve healed enough to do the healing work. I find no benefit in clinging to being fucked up, and the way I think about money is entirely to cyclical not to be fucked up. That said, part of the damage sustained? I have a HARD time having visions/dreams just for myself. So many people have tried to make me believe my life should be about them and put them before myself, that until I turned 28, I was physically unable to actually ask for what I genuinely wanted unless I was so broken down that asking for it was essentially asking for a lifeline.
If my financial problems were gone – the student loan would be gone, that’s the big one. My financial behaviors would be better. I would have my own car or mode of independent transport again, and I’d likely have a much more active social life. In the first two years of self-employment my social life took a nose dive because I just couldn’t afford to be out drinking with my friends, and my friends at the time liked to sit and drink, not dance or be physically active, and listened to music I didn’t enjoy. Since I saw no sense in paying to suffer (no one I knew at the time was that winning, nor were they interested in trying things I liked) I eventually just stayed home all the time. I’d worry less. I’m only now retraining myself to actually see a doctor when I’m sick.
The two things I’d be doing? I’d be enrolled in the online Artist’s Way class already – I can see from my counting how I’ve actually prevented myself from that. I’d probably also at least have ordered the material for the hoodoo course I’ve wanted to take. In fact, I would likely take a lot more classes than I already do, attend more lectures, and enroll in a private Pilates school with morning classes in addition to my YWCA membership.
I’m not sure what else would be different. If you choose to rent the right apartment (right place and right cost), you aren’t throwing good money after bad, especially not with economic conditions of the day and age. The only reason I want to buy a place is because I’m tired of the constant possibility of having to move. Home ownership doesn’t represent “adulthood” to me – showing up, and making a daily effort to do what you say it is you really want to do is. Of course, my perspective is colored as a professional writer. A lot of people show up and say they want to write. Only a fraction do what it takes to move their fears out of the way and leverage their limitations to actually do it.
I know what I’d have if I had everything I wanted, including endless waterfalls of cash:
- That two story condo-loft on Portland with the spiral staircase and built-in book cases.
- A guest condo, a la Sex and the City movie, where I could go write when I really needed the silence.
- A new laptop, preferably an ASUS, since my Lenovo is nearly impossible to do any work on.
- A SmartCar, or something very similar.
- I would go on regular writer’s retreats to New Orleans, Arizona, and Hawaii. (Actually, I am looking for writer’s workshop programs that get me a little travel now.)
- I would be regularly enrolled in classes at the Loft
- I would either finish my MFA, or get my post-graduate degree in sociology
- I’d get those bellydance classes in on a much more regular basis
- Everywhere domestic I travel, I’d find the Pilates/Yoga/Dance studio and incorporate that into my trip
Mostly, there would be a lot of writing, learning, dancing, and travel. Also, possibly a dog.