The Worth of a Dollar

I’m not going to lie, money is important to me. The making of it, the having of it, the spending of it. I’m not too interested in other’s people money. I’m too busy thinking about my own. Or the lack thereof.

Money plays a big factor in my self-esteem. I’m worth not just what’s in the bank, but what I’m bringing in and how I’m paying the bills. My ego lives and dies by my checkbook.

It’s a pretty messed up measure of worth, I know. Never mind how the stock market keeps gyrating or the fluxuating price of gold; what’s it say on my pay stub?

Now one would think that since I pin so much of my worth on my money that I’d have gone through college and got myself a good paying job and ergo I would be in the position to think my shit don’t stink. Have we discussed that I like to do everything the hard way? Yeah, that was clearly not the case.

In terms of my self-esteem, it’s lunacy that I’m quitting a regular paycheck to go back to scratching out what I can. On the one hand, the struggle will make me happier because I’ll be doing what I want to do.  On the other hand, my self-esteem is looking to take a severe hit because the money is not going to be steady and I’ll be struggling to make ends meet once again.

Because of my money issues, I’m very good with my money. I’m good at going without. I’m good at saving. I’m good at paying the bills first. I’m good at making sure the obligations are taken care of before I do something fun, and even then I usually defer to responsibility and save my money instead of spend it. My dad likes to joke about how tight I am. I don’t know why he thinks it’s so funny. He’s the one that made me that way.

My dad grew up poor. Real poor. Poorer than I grew up, for sure. My dad harbors a bitterness that my mother (who did not grow up poor) gave us things when we were kids. Never mind that a lot of our toys and clothes were second-hand, it was just the fact that we had them. That my mom spent money to give them to us. Now, my mom did run us up in quite a bit of debt with her shopping, but still, my sister and I were far from spoiled in the material sense. Money is a big deal with my dad. He never has enough and he doesn’t want to spend it. Ask him. He’s always broke.

When I moved in with him during my sophomore year, I didn’t ask him for anything. I wouldn’t even ask him for lunch money. I lived off of what I had in my savings account from babysitting and working in my mom’s daycare. It wasn’t until I’d lived with him for a while that it occured to him that he didn’t know where I was getting my lunch money. Then he started giving it to me.

My sister had to have her appendix out when we were in high school. All I can remember from that is my dad bitching about the doctor’s bill. So when I fractured my ankle before senior year, I refused to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to listen to Dad bitch about how much I cost him (yes, we had insurance, but there’s that whole deductable thing and then what insurance won’t cover, and all that jazz). Over a decade later, I’m paying for not having my ankle properly set.

There’s no worse feeling than asking my dad for money. The disgust is palpable. So I do everything in my power to have my own. To make my own.

I’m hard enough on myself. I don’t need him to add to it.

The true test of this next venture is to make enough money to pay my bills. I pay my bills, the self-esteem stays happy and my dad continues to see me as legitimate person dwelling in his house. It’s a win-win.

Sure. No pressure.

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