The First Time I…Realized How To Handle Being Really Broke
This weekend one of my closest friends came out to visit me in LA. She drove from Arizona, where we both grew up and went to the same high school, where we oddly managed to never exchange a word to each other for four whole years. After we graduated, I had a long summer ahead of me before I would be starting at the Fashion Institute (Yes, I totally call it that to make it sound better than FIDM) in LA, and Jaime had just been signed to a modeling agency. I wanted to start doing styling work, she knew how to act in front of a camera, and that’s the end to this chronological introduction to our friendship.
What really solidified our destined companionship was our mutual love for clothes. If there’s anything Jaime and I love more than a large pizza, sex, or Justin Bieber’s new album, it lies somewhere between the blurred lines of knee-high patent go-go boots and a good silk kimono. For the past three days my room has been an implosion of the combination of our two closets, both stock full of vintage and thrifted pieces. We planned a weekend of thrift shopping in the valley and vintage shopping in LA, and that we did, only adding more fur lined coats to the already bulging collection.
When I graduated college, I was left to fend for myself financially, all in accordance with the life plan. I work two jobs essentially; one that pays and one that doesn’t. I work full time and do what I love on the side. I love my job too however. I love my boss and I can’t stand the thought of someone stealing from her. I admire my editors and how honest they are with their words. I live paycheck to paycheck, I live beyond my means, I’m always broke and I am seriously irresponsible when it comes to money. Whenever someone talks to me, and by someone I mean my dad, about budgeting, my mind wanders elsewhere. What am I going to wear tomorrow? Do I still have leftovers in the fridge?
Money scares the hell out of me. Money has complicated everything. My mom worked for a non-profit organization for eight years and I used to travel with her to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania for a good portion of my life. I have seen the poorest people in the world, and in this same instance I have seen the happiest people in the world. I consider some of the poorest people in the world, financially I mean, my greatest friends. In Uganda, they live day to day lives. We sit in small living rooms together and enjoy feasts of rice, beans, goat, posho, and passionfruit juice and we laugh and we sing despite the fact that there might not be food for tomorrow. There might not be money for tomorrow. There might not be a mattress on the floor tomorrow. However, there’s a certain distinct luxury in “present living.” There’s a certain luxury in not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the next day or week or month.
I deal with my money the way I used to deal with my grades in school. I deal with money the way most guys I know deal with their emotions. If I’m too scared to see the damage I’ve caused, I just don’t look. I’m always scared to open my bank account in fear that I’ve overspent. I still haven’t checked what I spent this weekend with Jaime, even if it was only at thrift stores or on the cheap tacos we got the other night.
This weekend, Jaime and I didn’t get out of bed until our large Dominos pizza and cinnamon sticks arrived, and then we proceeded to eat that whole pizza in bed. We ate pizza and drank Sprite from mugs (all my cups are dirty) and talked about how much we hate men and sang Justin Bieber songs. I don’t know how having more money could make this situation any more ideal.
Jaime and I went four years passing each other in the hallways, barely acknowledging each others’ existence. I never thought I’d be giving her a lap dance in front of Drake at a house in Malibu. I spent a year watching a friend struggle to realize her worth and escape an emotionally abusive relationship. I never thought I’d have to watch myself let pieces of my heart grow back that I lost in the same exact way. I spent forever waiting for the day that I would have my own place, filled with my beautiful clothes, my own silverware, my own dirty cups, my own bed, my own pillowcases, that were mine because I was on my own. I never thought I would have all that and still be complaining about something as dispensable as money.
I have my own silverware. I have my own beautiful clothes and plates and dirty cups and pillowcases. I have a friend who will drive seven hours just to spend the weekend with me and eat pizza in bed. I have a healthy, living body that if the money runs out, will still be breathing. I don’t have to live in fear, like some parts of the world unfortunately do. I get to do what I love and dream up the ideas of all the things I still want to do. I have a vision of one day throwing the greatest party where all my friends from wherever the hell they’re from can all be in the same room celebrating everything we’ve accomplished. But right now, everything is okay. My broken heart is okay. The money, or lack thereof, is okay. In the wise words of Justin Bieber, or one of the many writers on Purpose, “You ain’t gotta make your mind up right now. Don’t rush, no pressure.”
There’s a first time for everything, and I don’t just mean your “first time.” Of course, there’s vital, “right of passage” first times that everyone must encounter at some point, for example, moving to a new place, getting your heart broken, and making your first humiliating, drunk decision. Yet first times are imperative to the better (or often, identical) mistakes we’ll make later, and teach us the lessons that we’ll continue to not learn from. Every week, we’re going to be telling real first time stories from real girls, and that includes everything from celebrity house parties to Instagram marriage proposals.