Getting By

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I often have to remind myself that just getting by is not a bad thing when you’re only twenty-three.

My parents are good people. I’ve talked about them many times before. They are masters of getting by, but not so much masters of saving. I never had a college fund (something my parents now regret as I face 75,000 in loans to pay off just for my undergrad), and a retirement fund is a foreign concept for people like my parents. My dad is 57 and still looks month to month on paying bills. Admitting that my daddy, my superhero, is flawed is hard, but he starts a million things that were always supposed to make things better and never finished any. I finish things as a result, I just need a kick in the ass to start most of the time.

Regardless, just getting by is all I’ve known. I never felt like I went without; if we couldn’t afford something one year we would do it the following year when we had more money. I was just taught that this was part of being a starving artist. This is why you got a real degree, because art is unstable and hard to make a living at.

I am at a place right now where I am just getting by. I got strong-armed into quitting my job, and while I finally have income coming in again I am back in survival mode. Five dollars is a lot for me to spend on something that isn’t essential and every last rat cent goes to rent until I can securely pay it. Once rent and bills are taken care of then I can enjoy extras.

A good job, one with salary and benefits, is looking like a distinctive possibility in the near future, which has me very excited, but until then, until I’m back to a secure amount of income my existence is very solitary.

I have not gone to the dungeon in two months. I hate it. HATE IT. Those are my friends, that is my social outlet, but i can’t afford over thirty bucks to park and play once a week. Kane mentioned loaning me the money for this week’s play party…but it’s not one I’m comfortable going to without him. I’m technically too young to get in without him, as weird as it is to say… and I hate loans. i remember all of them. I know I still have 500 I need to repay to someone and 230 to another. I would rather not go then have MORE loans to pay back.

And so I stay home. I throw myself into cleaning, and in working with art materials that I have. I have been popping out chainmail pieces like a machine, and that has felt good. I’ve been leather working and loving the familiar ache it gives my hands. I go to work, I come home. Until I feel better about my finances that’s all I feel comfortable doing. Gas costs too much.

I am okay. I find myself chanting that over and over in my head. I hate the timing of this financial slump because it’s October. It’s my favorite time of the year. Halloween is my Christmas. Give me pumpkin everything, sweaters, hayrides, apple picking, hot cider, candy, and costumes.. If I could still get away with it I would so Trick-or-Treat. Being cut off from so many of those traditions geographically and others financially sucks, I’m not going to lie, but there will be other Octobers. Hopefully I will be home for Thanksgiving and get that last taste of colorful, crisp fall that I love before winter takes over the east coast.

The only thing that makes me feel bad in all this is Kane… I get him maybe 30 minutes a day when he can drop by because his wife is home. It’s hard on him, and me, and he constantly apologizes for our situation. I remind  him that i agreed to this, because it’s better than the alternative. I didn’t go in blind. I knew this would be hard. it’s also hard on him to see how I live when he doesn’t take the reigns and I’m not under his roof. I tell him stop feeling guilty. I’m the one that quit my job. I put myself in this situation…and I would rather live exceedingly lean than ask him for help.

In truth I am lonely, but okay. I get to walk by the beach in Pacifica twice a week thanks to my job. I have a man that loves me and parents that are proud that I’m making it work. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I could be in much worse shape, and have been before. I would rather be here than where I was in May, in a shoe box surrounded by strangers with no privacy and achingly alone.

I am a work in progress, a starving artist, and for now I am okay with that.

-Rena

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