Today's a good day to talk about this. Because talking about money can be awkward, so it’s as good a time as any. Honesty bombs abound in this one. My finances have been affected by having Chiari. Luckily, not too drastically in a practical sense, but the stress of it takes it’s toll, and the truth is, I’m like many people - only a few paychecks away from being broke if things got really bad. When your health isn’t in great shape, that prospect becomes more real.
I woke this morning to an unexpected government bill, on a 4.50am email, after previous unexpected bills already this week. Being in the height of this month’s PMDD I have reacted to it in a disproportionately emotional way. A good time to write.
The story is I have tried extremely hard not to let my income and ability to work, be impacted by my condition. But it has been, more drastically in the last few months, as my ability to work has diminished, and I’ve struggled with that.
Although I have income protection insurance (thank fuck) it's only working for me, because I am scraping myself together to continue working 2 days a week down from full time. This means I'm financially better off just a couple hundred dollars, and as the sole breadwinner in my house, that makes all the difference.
I should be off work, and sometimes I get there, and a migraine starts, and I have to leave again. It’s a tightrope. If I did go off work completely, my perception is that I would be struggling, and unable to survive. That’s probably not entirely true, because, insurance. But I like to have a little extra butter on the bread to make sure there’s enough. Like today.
Today, the universe is piling a bunch of expensive shit on me that I didn't really ask for. No Maseratis included.
Earlier this week, losing the key to a hire car and paying for a new one while stranded on the coast.
This morning’s treat was a Centrelink bill when I was hoping for a tax return.
Hundreds in school fees and charges - I especially love the emails from the principal threatening to exclude children if bills aren't paid. *rolls eyes
Medical expenses. Not as bad as the US, but it’s not an entirely free system.
All the usual extortionate costs of living. Solo. Parent.
And there are things I wanted to do for the kids, like a drama course for school holidays. OK sure, that's a rather white privilege thing to do, but I work hard to give my kids opportunities I never had. And I can’t.
And my family is coming for a holiday and I’m not sure I can afford to stay with them at the coast.
I'm sure by the end of the day, some other thing will pop up.
I’m not saying this to whinge, you all know what I’m talking about.. All those expenses are pretty normal, but in a time of heightened uncertainty and anxiety, and an inability to generate the income I am normally capable of, this is all very terrifying.
I can barely move my head this morning, so it's tramadol for breakfast. Maybe a Valium and a brownie downed with coffee. If I could drink at the moment, I'd probably put some whiskey in it too.
You see, I've worked really hard to transition out of the upper end of poverty. Growing up in a tiny spot on the map of New Zealand, we didn’t have much, but I've never gone without a meal or a roof over my head, and I'm certainly not in danger of that yet. I have lived many stages of my life in stress, in debt, careless and not in control. I’ve worked hard to educate myself, get out of debt, and am trying so bloody hard to get ahead. I know that I have the capacity, education, experience and drive to be worth more money. My goal isn’t actually Maserati - heck, a 2010 Kia would be a big step up from what I drive now. But I aim to be in a position of overflow, and I know that I have value in who I am, to do it. Enough for me and enough for others.
I've tried so many business ideas, worked hard, sometimes in multiple jobs, invested money and lost money (and confidence), with so many failures trying to build a better life for myself and my kids. For the most part, I've done good. I have no debt. I have a small amount of savings. As much as I tried to forge ahead, I can’t deny I have been hindered, with pain and brain fog and isolation…but I've given it a fuckn good go. That’s an achievement, I’m proud, and I’ve done it on my own. But when unexpected bills come in, and my first reaction is to cry, I know I'm still not where I'd like to be.
Sometimes, I just don't feel like my Return is proportionate to the Investment.
I have worked since I was 12 years old. You’d think I’d be in a better position, but I didn’t come from financially minded parents, and I love drinking and traveling. What really scares me, is that I might lose my ability to make bank completely. NOT working, or not having the choice to, because I’m debilitated, is like cutting off my arm.
I often think of others maybe in a worse scenario than me. I think about those in a much better off scenario than me too, and I want to be somewhere in the middle where I’m not bursting into tears about a few hundred dollars.
Today, I feel actively stressed about money because I copped a few bills and I can’t send my kids to drama camp.
Tomorrow may very well be different, even if the bank balance doesn’t change.
I am grateful. I know I’m in the top percentile of living wealthy in this world, even in my hardest moments.
Money isn’t necessarily the thing I want, choices and peace of mind are what I want. For now, there is a roof over my head, good food to eat, and loved ones around me, and that is all I really need. I have to accept my situation, in all it’s facets, and do the best I can do. Sure, without an exploding brain situation, I could be a millionaire by now, but I am where I am, just as I am. And that is OK.
I feel better already. Thanks for listening.