Tuesday, June 9, 2015

STORY TIME (on sacrifices)

I don't talk about this too often because it's not glamorous, and doesn't seem to be directly related to books...but MAN have I had a time dealing with people lately, and so please excuse me for the word vomit.

I am moving soon. 2500 miles away. I will be taking a moving truck piled high with all of my belongings, my husband, and my dog. To make it even more adventurous, we will be doing all of that driving over three days.

So here I am about a week ago, living it up at this fancy party full of people much, much more financially stable than me, and I mention to one of my husband's colleagues that we will be making this trip in that amount of time. He laughs politely, and tells me that there is no way we are going to do it that fast. That the fastest he's ever been able to make a cross country trip was five days.

Now if you know me at all, you know that I don't like when people tell me what I can't do. So I make a joke about how we were going to beat his record, and hope he'll drop it there.

Long story short: he doesn't drop it. He tells us that we are missing out on an opportunity. That we should really see the United States as we are driving through it--stop at some landmarks, go camping in the national parks, take our tiiiime and have a fulfilling expeeeerience. I point out that we are very poor and that doing those things might not be practical (because I am oh so adult and will not put on my sassy pants at this fancy party). He says, "Well, it might cost a few hundred extra dollars, but it would be so worth it for the experience. You have to do it."

Cue the mental sassy pants. Because oh, did I want to tell him off. But I didn't. BECAUSE I AM AN ADULT.

Fast forward a couple of hours. Someone else at that same party finds out that we don't have a car, and have never had a car throughout any part of our relationship because we can't afford one. This guy tells a story about how he lived in Australia once for a month or two and it was so freeing to not have a car. He loved walking places and not having to worry about "the old ball and chain." I resisted the urge to tell him exactly how free I felt while I was carrying fifty pounds of groceries on my back to my home two miles away. Again, BECAUSE I AM VERY MATURE AND THE MOST ADULTY ADULT WHO HAS EVER ADULTED.

If you have ever told someone that their life is probably easier because they are too poor for something, or if you've ever pushed someone to do something after they've told you they can't afford it, APOLOGIZE RIGHT NOW. Because if you don't, when I am a ghost I will find out and I will haunt you.

My husband and I have made a lot of sacrifices right now so that we can have the careers that we want in the future. I work part time, so that I can write and hone my craft for the rest of the time. My husband went to a Master's program that didn't give us much financial help so that he could get into a PhD program that would pay for him and help him get the job he's passionate about. I wouldn't take it back for anything, because my writing has gotten so much better during this time, and struggling through all of these things has helped us grow much closer as a couple.

I love the sacrifices I am making because I have faith that they will help me with my writing career. But don't let all of the books in the background of my vlogs fool you.

I am poor right now.

Even so, I am privileged because my parents are well off enough that I know they can help out if I ever really need it. They are the ones who buy books for me because they know I love books and can't buy them often. They are the ones who stepped in and helped when my computer broke and I was sobbing because how was I going to do my from-home animation job without a computer?

I'm privileged because we live in a state that provides great health insurance even when you can't afford it. I'm privileged because I know people who would come to my house in the middle of the night and take me to the hospital if I needed it. I'm privileged because I am educated, and because though I'm poorer than anyone else I know, I can still afford to only work a paying job part time. I'm privileged because I was born into a stable, loving family that taught me that I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

No, it's not fun being this poor, and I'm very much looking forward to a couple of months from now when my husband will start getting a living stipend for working in a PhD program. But I love writing, and I am glad that I am privileged enough to have been able to make these sacrifices.

But SERIOUSLY. Tell me how easy my life is because I can't afford something, and I will open up a can of whoop-sass on you. (ha ha...see what I did there? BECAUSE I AM SASSY. And so punny. ha. ha. ha.)


  1. I can totally relate to the assumed privilege. My friend, whose single, thinks that I'm well off because I like with my boyfriend. So it's assumed we have double the income... even though we have double the bills and food need and everything else :/
    It's not good to be surrounded by people like that so maybe it's a blessing that you'll be away from them? The car comment reminds me of that news anchor lady who said if she was on food stamps, she'd look so skinny and gorgeous...
    Good luck on your trip cross country and congrats on your husbands PhD program! My friend did a road trip from Cali to Boston in three days, you can do it too!