For a moment today I forgot who the fuck I was.
Just for a moment I thought that I would have to pack up all of my favorite things inside of a blue IKEA bag. At least the things that I can carry on me and leave at a couple of friends houses. With all my other favorite belongings in a recycled Amazon box on the curb for the neighbors to enjoy.
I felt disgustingly in my stomach and my emotions started to rise trying to leak out of my eyes.
Just for a second I regretted going to the East Coast, for the first time in my life. I had a moments where I thought that was irresponsible in a pandemic.
I regretted the nights we broke curfew to live our best life’s on the lowest key with my friends, and the money I spent making my room in my new home a colorful safe space for me.
I thought that if I wouldn’t have spent so much money on my birthday, I would have more money to prepare me for this moment.
The moment where you fear that you have no place to go. That your now to old. That you have slept in enough abandoned houses, train stations, sofas and floors with no mattress.
I have gave so much of myself away just for a place to stay.
In the last five years of my life 2020 has by far been the best. The most liberating, it has been the most visual, financially abundant.
Taking my son to dinner for his 7th birthday, encouraging him to order what ever he wants. Cheering to champagne and apple juice was a moment of clarity. It was the first time that I was proud to be a mother, not for him but for me.
2020 has been the only year of my adult life, that I’ve been able to pay my rent with 1 bi monthly check. I have never been able to pay rent or utilities ahead of time or for months in advance. I have never been able to afford to travel, or invest in myself starting a creative project or business. I have never been able to offer my son’s dad over $100 at one time for extra things for our kid. He usually scrapes together 20s or 50s or even $500 at one point to bail my ass out of financial trouble.
This year I got a glimpse of financial stability. What it’s like to not look at prices and buying Bitcoin.
I felt like a professional like a real professional, and when I mean real professional I mean someone who makes over $50,000 a year after taxes. Or someone who is able to finance rent and utilities and groceries for one year in advance if not two or three. I felt like a good mother because I had a lot of money to provide, not only financially provide but to provide a beautiful, safe, warm place for my son to come home to, when he’s with me.
Because I’ve been paying child support for the last 5 years and I’ve always worked a minimum of 50 hours a week, at one point with some side hustles after working on the weekends. I have always lived paycheck to paycheck borrowing money owing money or trying to find a way to make some money. Fast!
I still have a list of the money people have given me and l don’t even know if they still remember. My heart can never forget and wants to pay it back and some.
Just for a moment I had feelings of fear. Sleeping on someone’s couch and going into a mental spiral because I’m 27 with a child I started my own business but I still can’t afford rent. Then I give myself the tiniest benefit of the sympathy, because it’s Covid and I know millions of people are going through this as well. Then the darkness sets in and that’s still not an excuse for my behaviors. I think that l didn’t work enough hours to prepare for moments like this.
The darkness says, I was supposed to save every penny that I got from EDD. Darkness says, that I shouldn’t have thrown myself a birthday party for the first time. The darkness says, l shouldn’t of traveled out of state. The darkness says, l should have not bought those new shoes or that dress that l fell in love with-off the clearance rack. The darkness says, I shouldn’t of spent all the money I did on food. Darkness says, I should’ve eaten peanut butter jelly sandwiches and three for a dollar Ramen.
It is the same pressure I feel like I’m under from my sons dad year after year. To find my way, provide a stable home with stable income. To finally afford a child, and to save for more, just because he’s in his 30s, married to a lawyer and they just had a baby. It’s the same pressure that I put myself under when I don’t meet those expectations year after year.
Do you know what then I realize? That this is just a darkness and this is not me anymore.
“A luxurious lifestyle is my birth right!”