I get back to my apartment and feel as if it’s been weeks since I have last “lived” here.
For the past week, I’ve been hiding out at my boyfriend’s. First and foremost, because I’m on vacation and have nothing better to do alone in my apartment. Oh, and obviously, I like spending time with the guy. And second, because I’m sorta kinda hiding from my landlord at the moment. The rent check for this month has been late for officially four days so I’m avoiding any contact with my landlord until I can finally pay the rent on tuesday. Turns out borrowing money from the parentals, selling some of my furniture and picking up a summer job didn’t quite make the cut this time around.
Money. It always comes down to that.
I always feel like I’m the only person in the world, or at least of all the people I know, who has had to do all kinds of crazy stuff to survive. Sell my furniture? done. Sing sea chanties for money? done. Work the fryer at wendy’s, make people coffee, hand out flyers, collect debt, among many many other things? done.
It could be worse, it could always be worse, I keep telling myself. But even if it could be worse, why does life always have to be so damn hard? Can’t it be easy then get worse? Does this alternation between bad and worse ever change, even if only slightly?
I’ve always wanted to be filthy rich.
Not for the status, but because I’m convinced rich people have way easier lives. If you have money, you don’t have to hide out from the landlord, or be pitied at the grocery’s store line for having your card denied, and you never need to ask anyone for money either. Ever. You can pick and choose your job and not take up something because “it pays the bills.” While paying your bills with the horrendous job, you end up losing your soul, your heart, and your smile. And you’re still not rich, and you still can’t afford everything that seems so natural for other people. Any major expense that pops up is another cause for stress. And guess what! That massage that works wonders to release stress? It isn’t free!
Health care? A new timing belt for the beat up car? Nice furniture that doesn’t come in a box from Target or Ikea, or even a link from Craigslist? Who can afford those things? I still can’t. God forbid I’d ever need to be hospitalized!
There are days when I just want to complain.
I want to complain and cry and be rebellious. I work hard and keep working hard to make money, to be stable, to not have to worry about potential future expenses. But some days I get so damn tired. I feel the weight of life on me, and I just want to crumble and surrender.
But something insides me goes off and I just start to laugh instead.
It’s good sometimes to just laugh at the tragic moments in our lives. For one thing, it makes you look incredibly strong. Albeit maybe a little crazy to some. And it also releases endorphins, ensuring you won’t actually seep into total and utter despair. At least not while you’re laughing.
Sure, my card was denied three times while I tried to buy groceries this week (this was an under $30 purchase, mind ya), my landlord called asking for the rent (twice), and my account was overdrawn (by one measly dollar!), leading to charges of over $30.00- isn’t that ironic? It’s like the bank is saying: “Hey! We see that you have no money, so let us make your life even more difficult for you!”
But at the end of the day, I had someone who made me feel like it was going to be ok. Who watched movies with me and held me and let me eat all of their food and drink their wine. Who asked for nothing more than just my company and who made me happy with nothing more than just theirs.
I’d come in the studio trying to share the most recent tragic story in my life and pass it off as a light and funny incident. He’d sit there, watching me, seeing right through my act. Then he’d do what I hate the most: he’d make me face what had just happened and accept it for what it was. He’d say sorry, even though nothing that happened was his fault. I’d take his sorry as a sacrificial sorry coming from the entire Universe. Then he’d let me deal with my feelings in silence, sometimes a tear or two escaping free, though I would turn away fast enough so he’d never see me looking so breakable.
He’d put his arms around me, as I’d say matter of factly: “I can’t wait to be filthy rich!”
And then we’d both laugh, leaving the recent events behind for the past.
I’d start to picture my life in the future. I would picture myself rich and happy and in love and looking back at this exact moment, when I felt crumbled and poor, sitting on the floor of the studio, with boyfriend’s arms around me, looking at the two bags of groceries that caused so much distress. I know I’d laugh about this moment in the future too. Laugh about how terrible it felt then, and how I somehow overcame it all.
Life is hard. But if I start crying every time things go wrong, I’d miss so many opportunities to smile instead. And in the end, I truly believe it could all be a lot worse.
I could be broke and alone.
So I’m sending out many thanks to the boyfriend for being my wealth and my secret hiding place this entire week. I’d be homeless, starved, and sober without you.
You’ve saved my smile, my soul, and my heart.
So when money fails you, and even if it doesn’t (lucky you!), hold on to the people around you. In the end, they’re really the only thing that makes each and everyone one of us truly wealthy.