I’m Poor in Spirit

Oh, y’all, yesterday I got some lovely financial news. Not completely unexpected, but sooner than expected. And I was so happy yesterday evening and proud of myself because I immediately acted on this financial news not by spending what came in–not even a little, not even as a treat to myself, but by funneling some toward debt and some toward savings. As one does when one is a grown-up.

And I spent the evening being all woo-hoo. I am getting my affairs in order. Finally.

And then I had nightmares all night that I had fucked something up or that I had to pay cash for some huge operation or that basically everything was a lie and all the numbers were just made up and just when it looks like I’m going to be on okay financial footing–in a position to actually put a little away and get some of the big projects around here done–it’s all going to slip from my grasp.

I woke up feeling kind of like shit about it.

It’s funny because this whole ceiling thing taught me so much about goodness and how small acts by folks can have an enormous impact on a person. It was wonderful. And nothing shitty happened, you know? No one was like “Oh, wait, I just noticed what a jerk you are. I want my money back.” and no one has shown up with a saw to cut out their portion of the ceiling in either room. People can plan a nice thing, have it work out, and nothing bad has to come of it.

If I didn’t quite believe that before, I believe it now.

And yet, I have to tell you, I can’t quite believe that’s true of myself toward myself. I have been doing a series of tiny things, very tiny because I had so little money not tied up in bullshit, to get myself untied from bullshit or, if not untied, then to put myself in a position to untie myself at a later date.

And here it is, one of those later dates, where the tiny thing I started to do seven years ago has just become a pretty big thing I can do to fix a situation that’s been vexing me since my twenties. But I can’t trust that it will come to pass. I can’t believe that a plan I put in motion might work and not backfire on me in some painful way.

To me, this is the way growing up poor most shaped me–that I know in my core that all my hopes and plans are fucked. Even if it doesn’t appear so, something will come along and fuck them.

The thing is that I feel like I am so very close, just a few years, away from having a small safety net against this kind of fuckery.

And I am so afraid something is going to screw it up.

This isn’t something that’s easy to explain–that kind of terror. And how it motivates you to act in all kinds of fucked up ways.

But whenever I hear someone talking about poor people, about why don’t they just…? And I think, man, how nice it must be to feel certain that there’s some “just” you could do that would obviously improve your life.

That’s just not a certainty a lot of folks have. For most of us, no matter what you do, something comes along to fuck it up.

So, anyway, if you see me and you notice all the fingers on all my hands are crossed, it is because I just so want to stay lucky, just for a bit more.

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