Tenderheart Studio
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For Tenderhearts

A journal for tender hearts.

Budget Log Week Three

The last week has been weird regarding money, but I made a commitment to show up here and share no matter what, so here I am.

At the beginning of the week I checked in on my progress toward my financial goals and saw that I was doing really well. I was right on track to doubling my online sales, my spending looked good despite what I saw as a hiccup the previous week, and overall I felt like a badass for setting some goals and working toward them.

Then I realized I was looking at the wrong numbers. Long story short, I was doing about one third as well as I thought I was, I was not actually on track to meet my goals for the month, and I suddenly felt pretty delusional that I even thought I’d be able to make it work. Cue shame spiral.

“What kind of idiot looks at the wrong numbers? I’m a terrible freelancer. An awful business owner. I never work hard enough. How can you get work if you don’t even leave your house? All that anxiety just serves to reinforce what you already think about yourself which is that you’re trash and can’t get anything done.”

Then the middle of the month came and I realized all of the bills were due.

Pretty cool, right? It isn’t glamorous or happy, but I realized even more this week how much my self worth is tied up in my ability to make and manage money. In my brain, money is a direct representation of how talented, deserving, hard working, etc. I am, despite the fact that this notion doesn’t necessarily correspond with how I see the rest of the world. I don’t look at someone who makes six figures and think “wow, they deserve it, they’re talented and they work so hard.” And I don’t look at folks who are below the poverty line and think “Work harder, damn it, and get some talent while you’re at it.”

At least not consciously.

Have you ever stared your classist conditioning directly in the face and tried to take it down? That’s what these last couple of weeks have been about. That’s the reality of where these nasty, shame-filled feelings come from – a subconscious conditioning by society and culture that tells me that those who seem like they have money are good, and those with no money are bad and should be punished. It is systemic, but it is also personal. It comes from society, but it also comes from having folks in my life who have ridiculed me when I haven’t been able to pay my bills despite my efforts. It comes from folks who have arbitrarily provided financial support when I’m acting within their desires or demands, and withdrawn that support (financially or emotionally) as punishment. I’ve resisted turning these financial posts into personal posts, but the reality is that the financial is personal. In the world that we live, financial means often determine how well you live – how much food you have, the quality of that food, the quality of your housing or if you are able to have housing, whether you’ll be able to have a child or even receive treatment for an injury or illness, how hard you have to work, how educated you will be, how safe you are.

Money is intensely personal because it is necessary for survival.

And because this is a blog and not a news article, I’ll just say it — the extent of our reliance on money for survival is complete bullshit. It’s not the money that’s evil, it’s how enmeshed we are with it. It’s the extent of its necessity for modern life, especially in a country that provides very little assistance to those in need, that makes it such a point of contention, and such a sore spot for me. I’m angry, not at money, but at power. I’m angry at those who have power over me and others. I’m angry at those who wield that power (aka money) to get not just everything they need, but everything they want, even at the expense of others.

I don’t have any solutions. I process these thoughts quietly in the corners of coffee shops and in my bed at night and while walking my dog. The only time I’m not thinking about such large concepts is when I’m quietly sitting in nature. And maybe that’s why so much of my work is influenced by the natural world — it’s a hierarchy that makes sense. Survival of the fittest in the natural world has nothing to do with financial power and everything to do with strength, endurance, and wit. It’s less abstract, more attainable, and leaves less room to be taken advantage of.

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9/16
$49.40 Etsy Shipping Fees
$10.21 Pharmacy
$14 Spotify

9/17
$5.80 Coffee
$19.02 Lunch

9/18
$5.69 Groceries
$64 Sprint

9/19
$11.86 Dog Food

9/20
$200 Car Payment
$20 Shipping

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Thanks for reading this week and I hope to see you here next time <3

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