You all know that I got a new job and that I like it a lot so far. What I haven’t shared yet or truly put into words except with maybe one or two friends is that I’m a bit overwhelmed by my soon to be financial status. I’m not saying that I will ever not think about my struggles, but the weight of poverty and the affects it has on one’s mind are starting to lift and it’s a very different frame of mind to be in.
I grew up poor. My family should have been on food stamps. I don’t know if they ever even applied, to be honest. My dad worked retail, full time. My mom stayed home “with the kids” but I later learned that she just didn’t want to work, period. I can’t say that I understood, only that we were fucking poor and everyone else’s parents both worked. Whatever. We always had a roof over our heads, no matter how many times not having one loomed. I do recall many a Friday night, though, waiting for my dad to come home with some groceries because it was payday and we had nothing in the house. Those were some long waits!
I’ve had my ups and downs independently. Seeing how money could provide freedom, access and things to call my own (rare with my two siblings), I very quickly sought out incomes! First at ten years old when I got a paper route, then selling subscriptions for the newspaper (door to door, ugh!) and of course babysitting! A preteen with younger siblings can make a small fortune babysitting if she plays her cards right. I did my best, but my mom often stole my cash. The first time I realized for certain that it was her was when I went to turn in my newspaper collections money to my boss and was very short. It’s no fucking wonder I struggled with shoplifting so young when my own mother was pick pocketing my dad and later me.
When I got my first real job at Contempo Casuals at age 16 I was beyond stoked to get the job, let alone get more than minimum wage! At the time, I think, minimum wage was around $4.25 and I made a whopping $5.10 an hour! Oh yeah! Ha-ha! I worked my way up from lowly (and invisible) stock girl to the fitting rooms and finally cashier. I put in my dues and years in that place and in the end they promoted an 16 year old I grew up with to assistant manager when I’d been there for years and was at least 18! (I mean, how do you give keys to a store to someone under age?!) I was their top salesperson, to boot! I’d had it and I quit on the spot.
Several retail jobs later I landed in Sam Goody/Musicland which truly saved my life (my ticket to freedom from my abuser). I was quickly seen and recognized as a high caliber and productive employee. I was promoted a couple of times and shifted around a bit and met some of my favorite people in the whole world at that job (ex-husband, bffs and more). Watching Empire Records recently brought back all of those great memories of the good old days and our fabulous crew there. *Sigh*
I was doing okay financially, at the time. When I got hired at World Savings at $16 (a dollar or two less than my retail manager job had paid) I wasn’t sure what the future would hold for me. It seems I always struggle and muddle through somehow. But within a year’s time I found myself suddenly up that corporate ladder and in a world where perks were often taken for granted, though never by me! My new position gave me a company laptop, phone and car! I thought I was living the high life! Ha-ha! Mind you, I was making far less than I am now at my new job. It is funny how our perception of what a certain amount of money means or allows in our lives. Back at my peak income level, with bonuses, I was making a few thousand dollars less than I will be at my new job. At that time I was also married and searching for a house to buy. We were looking to “settle down” and all that jazz. After the house was supposed to be the pug and a baby. Oops! Ha-ha! I’m certain I dodged a bullet there, I mean, I got laid off right before the bubble burst, so no doubt we’d have been homeless had we bought a house.
When I saw the offer for the new job, I nearly shat my pants! I held my composure as best I could, but inside I was screaming and jumping up and down and you name it! But it didn’t feel real. It honestly seemed too good to be true. I guess it still feels that way and perhaps will until I start getting paychecks. Ahhh! PAYCHECKS!!! Ha-ha! I miss those! But for now, nothing has changed except where and how I spend my daytime hours.
I have splurged a little bit but not too much and I have been refraining ever since. I did buy a couple of dresses, a top and a crinoline on Eshakti, they should arrive today, actually. And I bought a couple of t-shirts from TinyHobo because I’ve always wanted to and everyone at work wears jeans and tees and I want to as well. This is why I am launching a full on hunt for jeans! Thus far I have been sporting my fabulous dresses paired with black teggings and my prized Dia De Lo Muertos Doc Martens. So far no one seems to think I look weird or anything and I’ve even gotten some compliments. Woo!
I keep going over the numbers in my head. It’s borderline compulsive at this point. How much I’ll be netting, minus my bills…I’ll be paying my roommate back with my second paycheck. Then it should only be a few months until I pay off my credit card and then I’ll be debt free! I can save money! How fucking novel is that?!?! SAVE?! And it’ll all be mine! That feels so very bizarre!
To be financially independent has always been my goal. I tasted it a bit here and there, but I might actually have a career again and with it a respectable and hopefully mega reliable income. This is all I could hope for! While driving home yesterday my car made a noise I didn’t care for and comments people have made about my car started to echo in my head and I thought to myself, “Well, perhaps in a year I’ll be able to buy a car.” and that freaked me out so much! That’s like proper adult shit right there, I can’t do that! Ha-ha! I actually love my car so much, I’d be willing to invest quite a bit more in it if it’s willing to hold me over a few more years. My commute is all of fifteen minutes anyway. I love cars so much that just the thought of getting to “shop” for one seems unrealistic! I’ve only ever had hand me downs and very used cars, too many if you ask me, but they all die eventually. I don’t know that I could ever in good conscience buy a brand spakin’ new car, but a certified used one? Possibly. But OH the research I would require!!!
So, yeah, anyway, lots on my mind and what a load off it is to look forward to a steady income. It seems premature, perhaps, a lot of this. I am doing my best to let go and enjoy life and let things happen as they should. But I’m an over thinker and a planner and who knows, maybe I’ll find myself traveling abroad again one fine day. 🙂
For now I am just so grateful and happy and enjoying being tired at the end of a full day’s work. I don’t and can’t know what the future holds for me and this crazy-ass life of mine, but damn, it’s so exciting! I’m so fucking lucky! I know this! I won’t ever tell you that I “deserve” something, though my friends keep insisting. But that’s not life, ya know? Life is a big crap shoot and you never know what’s coming your way. What matters is how you handle what does.