Tag Archives: finances

Selling Myself

10 Aug

A tale about the failed American Dream, lies Millennials believed, and the cynicism that sets in in your thirties.

Three weeks ago I went to Disneyland. I love Disney, it makes me feel like magic still exists. I know the company has its problems, the parks cost too much, and everything in them is overpriced. Yet, there is nothing like walking down Main Street U.S.A, forced perspective in full effect, and seeing Sleeping Beauty’s castle off in the distance. That, my friends, is mesmerizing.

About a month before I went to Disneyland, my summer cash flow was questionable at best and I started to realize I couldn’t afford to go to the most magical place on Earth if I didn’t find a new revenue stream. I was processing this predicament with a few coworkers one day and one of them mentioned how they used to donate plasma in college. I was never very strung up for cash in college so I had never explored the venture, but I was aware of the concept. It took me a bit to work up to it, but eventually, I went in and got myself signed up. I’ve been going fairly regularly for almost two months now.

Before I started going and donating my plasma, I had a preconception that the people who frequented these places were drug addicts or homeless or working at McDonalds (the fact the I always pick McDonalds is also a bias I need to confront, but that is for another day). I have been privileged in my life and I understand that when I have these thoughts, they are not always true. I do believe, however, that we are only going to get over them by being honest and owning up to them. I have discovered that while there are people who are clearly struggling, there are also a lot of people who donate who are probably a lot like me. People who are in a tough spot because of a few poor financial choices, have a bit too much credit card debt, and have their student loan companies breathing down their necks.

At first, it was an uncomfortable experience for me. I felt judged and not just by the people around me in the clinic. I don’t feel that way too often when I go now. Maybe I grew numb to the inner voice or maybe it just became a familiar enough place that my anxiety decided to categorize it as normal. Either way, recently it has just felt like another chore. A job I go to for a couple hours at a time to make a bit of money.

It paid for my Disney trip and I kept going after to see if I could cut down my credit card balances. I did that math and if I keep going regularly, by the end of the year I will have made almost two thousand dollars in almost six months.

I don’t feel shame in this side hustle, but sometimes I do feel anger. Anger at a system that set me up with an idea of what my future would be that doesn’t match the reality. I don’t think I dreamed big. I never had hopes of owning a Maserati and a summer home in Paris. What I thought was attainable was much more conservative. A job that pays the bills with a little left over to grab drinks with friends a couple times a week. Enough set aside in my savings that I could take a vacation somewhere nice once or twice a year. I wanted stability.

Instead what I have is debt and anxiety dreams about paying back that debt. I can’t blame it all on the system. I made some decisions that had a negative impact on the stability I dreamed of. I take my share of the blame. There are things that were and are out of my control, however, and they make it hard to recover. I was young and dumb for a while, but I don’t feel like I was abnormally idiotic. I don’t know that the punishment for my crimes is a fair one, and that is where the anger comes from.

I am only 32 and, God willing, I have a lot of years left to make up for the mistakes I made, to learn the lessons that might get me to the promised land. For now, I will just keep selling pieces of myself and hope that I don’t sell the pieces that make me me.

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The Gender Tag Project

28 Feb

I found this originally through on of my favorite YouTubers, Hannah Hart, and knew immediately I was going to do my own. Working with the age group I do, it has become one of my life missions to talk about issues of gender and equality. Start ’em young!!

The project is pretty cool and I recommend checking it out, but without further ado, The Gender Tag.

1. How do you self-identify your gender, and what does that definition mean to you?

I identify as female. I am fortunate to identify with my biological gender. That doesn’t mean, however, following the expectations and norms of that gender is always straightforward or freeing, sometimes it is suffocating.

2. What pronouns honor you?

I am a “she”/”her” kind of gal.

3. Describe the style of clothing that you most often wear.

It depends on the day, the mood, the energy level, etc. Mostly these days I would describe my style as lazy hipster co-ed. Lots on legging, lots of yoga pants, recently joggers, all paired with t-shirts, tank tops, and sweaters. My job affords me the privilege of comfort and I usually take full advantage.

4. Talk about your choices with body hair. How do you style your hair? Do you have facial hair? What do you choose to shave, or choose not to shave?

Currently my head hair is long and two-toned. I dye it because I don’t enjoy my natural shade of dirty blonde and for the last several years I have been growing it out. Recently ┬áthe urge to chop it all off has taken a strong hold.
As for the rest of my bodily tresses, I tend to tend to them once a week-ish unless a good reason arises. It used to be an upcoming hot date most often, but solidly in relationship mode, the absolute necessity of wearing shorts seems to be the only thing with enough motivation (and sometimes not even then).

5. Talk about cosmetics. Do you choose to wear makeup? Do you paint your nails? What types of soaps and perfumes do you use if any?

Makeup on occasion, really when I want to/need to/already feel “pretty.”
Nail painting rotates between often and rarely, I am currently in a rarely phase.
Soap and perfumes both I tend to go for “clean” or “floral” or “musky.” I don’t use perfume often, every once in a while a splash of body spray (usually some bottle that has been gifted to me), I rely on my deodorant for any extra enticing scent (my latest addiction is Old Spice Figi).

6. Have you experienced being misgendered? If so, how often?

Misgendered, no, at least that is no how I would describe it. Felt pressured or expected to act a certain way because of my gender, a big big yes. This seems to happen less as I have gotten older, certainly as I have become more open in being entirely who I am, but when I was younger the struggle was very real.

7. Do you experience dysphoria? How does that affect you?

Again, less as I have grown older. When I was a teenager, it was a constant struggle to stay positive about my life and where my path would lead me. These days, I am generally satisfied and although there are goals I would still like to accomplish and things I struggle to change, I have more faith in my own process. Of course, no one is perfect and I have dark days that seem to swallow every ounce of sunlight, but even in the middle of the tunnel, I know there is another side I am going to come out on.

8. Talk about children. Are you interested in having children? Would you want to carry a child if that were an option for you? Do you want to be the primary caretaker for any children you may have?

NO. Sorry that was blunt. I do not desire at this point in my life to have a child. The thought terrifies me on several levels, and in all honesty, although I believe that if I was committed to the process, I would be an excellent parent, I don’t ever see myself being committed enough. I am going to be honest, I am selfish. I don’t want to struggle financially just when I feel like I almost have my head wrapped around what stability would look like, I want to travel, I want to go out on weekends and not worry about a babysitter for little Susie (not what I would name it btw). I just want to be able to live my life and I can’t even keep a plant alive while doing that.

9. Talk about money. Is it important to you to provide for a family financially if you choose to have one? Is it important to you that you earn more than any partner you may have? Do you prefer to pay for things like dates? Are you uncomfortable when others pay for you or offer to pay for you?

My relationship with money is interesting (at least to me). I don’t have a lot of it, and really I view it more as a necessity than an objective or a means to happiness. However, because I don’t have a lot of it I am often stingy with it. On the other hand, I am also very prideful and glean a lot of self worth from being able to support myself and not only pay my own way, but sprinkle my friends with generosity too. On more than one occasion I have had enough in the bank to only cover myself, but because of some weird social obligation I sometimes feel, have paid for an entire bill. I hate being in debt, but struggle to get out of it once I am in it because I have a hard time turning down social outings through which I may gain in iota of acceptance.
Long story short, I don’t relate to money via my gender or obligation I feel because of it in a grand sense, but in a more communal way which I may or may not have learned because of my gender assignment.

10. Anything else you want to share about your experience with gender?

On the whole I think the story of me and gender is this: the older I get the easier it is to come to terms with expectations that may be placed on me due to my femininity. Despite some of the obstacles that have come with identifying as female, I am appreciative that I was born already comfortable in the skin I have (in a sense). That doesn’t mean I stop striving to understand the battles that others face or lend my voice when I can.