i get that we live in a society. i get that we have a system. but i have to say that it makes me sad how you, how money, defines so many things about us and what we can and cannot do. and what we should and shouldn't do. and what we can have and cannot have. we have given such power to paper, to copper and silver, and we assign price tags to assign power to other objects.
it makes me sad that my relevance, my importance, my success as an artist is often attached to money and whether or not my art has any economic value. i've had dozens of little pieces and readings and solo shows this last year and i didn't even make enough money to cover one month's rent from them. when i was living in philly and a man at a coffee shop asked me what i did, i answered "writer" proudly. he then looked at me, rolled his eyes, and asked, "well, do you get paid for it? you're not a writer if you don't get paid for it."
at the time, i wasn't getting paid for it at all. needless to say, i didn't say i was a writer for years afterward.
can i be a writer if i barely get paid for it? am i less of a writer than my professor who has made $200,000+ by the awards he was won in the last few months?
the answer in my head is yes.
and that makes me sad.
because, sure, maybe he is a better writer...and/or a more accepted writer...but does that make him more of a "writer" than i am? in reality, no. but in the world, in the eyes of some people, yes. yes it does.
and that continues to make me sad.
mostly because it has an effect on how i see myself.
i am uncomfortable with you, money. i have a weird relationship to you. i won't go into it, but suffice it to say that growing up, i had both the experience of going home and the electricity being off because we didn't have the money to pay for it while also having the experience of going to school and not having to take loans out. i have never really known how to look at you. you are shifty money. you are here one minute and gone the next.
i'm lucky, money. i'm lucky and privileged to have the relationship i do have with you. i know that, money.
but i am uncomfortable with having to get financial help from a parent. i am uncomfortable that i've chosen a career that makes me less financially secure. i am uncomfortable with my relationship to budgeting. i am uncomfortable with how you've show up in previous romantic relationships, how you have both been a reason to not pursue my dreams and to explain away other issues. i am uncomfortable that i have several degrees and still can't help my family out financially.
to be honest, money, you make me feel like a failure.
i need to get right with you, money. i need to really fucking get right with you because you are here to stay and i'm here to stay and i'd like to be able to live and survive in this world independently. i need to get right with you because i want to be able to travel and to see the world and to pursue my dreams and to take care of myself. i need to get right with you because if prince charming doesn't show up one day, then i'm going to make the choice to buy a home, to have a child, to live my life anyway without a second paycheck coming in. i need to get right with you because i always want to feel able to leave if i need to, to say you don't get to tell me what to do because you make more, to say don't worry, i got it. of course, a lot of you, money, would solve this. but i want to get right with you so that even if i don't hit it big, i have enough of you and can handle you in a way that makes me comfortable.
i need to get right with you because i give you all this power too. i give you the power to validate me. i give you the power to define my value, my intelligence, my right to speak. i give it to you.
and you shouldn't have all that power, money. not all of it. you have enough as it is.
(this is day nineteen of april love)