Friday, February 22, 2008

Deep, dark, revelations

Hey there !


Well, It's 1:30 AM and I'm just hanging out here. The house is finally quiet and I can think, but who the hell wants to do that at 1:30 AM ? I think I'd rather just ramble.

The past couple of weeks have been kind of . . . .well, kind of sucky. Finances have been tight, and my hubby has been feeling stressed and depressed, which is understandable. It sucks when the lack of money stops you from doing things that you want to do, or things that you need to do. It's just that men take the whole thing so personally. I know that men are wired to see themselves as providers, and that they see their income as some kind of sign of success or failure as a man, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I don't mean to be insensitive to his feelings, or minimizing the importance of years and years of male evolution, or any of that. I just have an attitude when it comes to money.

I dislike money. I dislike money the way that Christopher dislikes political debates. I dislike it the way Mel dislikes dieting. I realise that it's necessary, just like politics and dieting, I just have resentments about the whole issue.

Wanna peek inside my warped psyche ? If not, better stop reading now. You've been warned. Okay, here's what I think, Of course, It goes back to my dysfunctional childhood. Doesn't everything ? (and I think that we are ALL so dysfunctional, that we should just eliminate the word, so we can all quit boo-hooing about everything.) Anyway, here's the scoop. My mom raised four kids (alone) during the mid '60's , and into the '70's. Back then, a woman being the sole bread winner, and head of the household was even more difficult than it was now; So I am definitely not blaming my mom for anything, I'm just explaining the situation. My mom started working for a car dealership doing office work to support us kids. She didn't make very much money, but she worked her way up to office manager, because she either had a knack for dealing with money and numbers, or having four kids to support was an incentive to learn it pretty damn quickly. My mom is a (very conservative) financial whiz. She is probably the only person in America who could work a minimum wage job, support a family, and actually SAVE money !

Anyway, my mom has never been a terribly emotional person -not her fault, that's just the way she is. However, the one thing that could (and still can) always bring out an emotional response, was money. The lack of money could bring out horrible fear and anxiety, or a sudden wind fall could make her to be uncharacteristically happy. For example, no one, with half a brain, goes near my mother on pay day. That's when she pays bills, and she is NEVER happy about that. (even though she has more money tucked away than she will ever admit to.) Conversely, the first time that I remember my mother getting excited enough to actually hug me, was when we found out that the hospital was going to settle for only what the insurance company would cover for Nick's birth and delivery. Which meant that they were going to "forgive" a couple thousand in hospital bills. She was so happy, she almost cried.

I guess that being the only girl, with three brothers, I think that I was a little resentful that she couldn't spare any of those emotional responses for me. Of course, my brothers always thought that I was just some kind of ungrateful, emotionally needy "GIRL." I guess that from a "BOY'S" perspective, she was perfect. To this day, whenever my family gets together for a meal, ALL meal time conversation revolves around cars, work, and money. Hence, if you put food in front of me, I don't talk - I eat.

No, that's not entirely true, the actual topic of "money" was never really discussed in our house. In spite of all my mother's financial knowledge, "money" is a very private thing. I have no doubt that my mother would endure endless torture before she EVER revealed how much money she makes, or how much she actually has. As a result, she never really taught any of us how to manage money. Not only would such a discussion be considered "impolite", but I think since it was second nature to her, she assumed that it should be instinctual for her children. WRONG !! Besides, she was always too busy making it, to actually talk about it.

I don't want to sound like I'm blaming my mother. I love my mother very much, I always have. Here's the screwed up part - It's not my mom's fault - it's money's fault. I've always viewed money the same way that I view drugs, or alcohol. I refuse to allow ANYTHING to have that much control over my life and happiness. I can't blame my mom for not being everything that I wanted, but I can try to learn from her mistakes. She wasn't a very nurturing person, so I do my best to be that for my kids. (and anyone else's kids that happen to wander into my life . . . . or stray dogs, occasionally a cat . . . .) Maybe, I take the whole money thing too far, that's probably why I don't ever have very much of it. I know that my attitude is childish and immature. In this world, hating money is like cutting off your nose to spite your face - unless your a monk or something. Hell, let's face it, I'm a mess.

Okay, enough rambling. My mother brain washed me well enough that this whole post, and all this talk about money, is making me feel creepy, and dirty, and ookie. I don't think that ookie is an actual word, I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't fly on a scrabble board. Anyway, it's late, and I'm tired, so I'm going to bed.

Good night all.
Love ya,
Susan

3 howled back:

Mel said...

hiya,

I enjoyed this post very much even though as you say, nobody much likes to talk about money and how they feel about it. It's kind of a personal thing and as you say, it has very long, deep personal roots attached to how we feel about money.

You know that my marriage to K had a lot to do with him obsessing about money. I call him the greedy one, the one who places money above all else (even spending time with his family and kids )
He viewed my opinion to money as immature, spoilt and ignorant. He thought I lived in fairy land about money and how important it was. I just saw him work and work to try and get more 'stuff' and to make our house look better, even though we couldn't afford week to week things like haircuts and shoes for the kids.
To me, money comes and it goes. I am also speaking from a perspective of whenever I am completely broke (and boy has that been a LOT over the years) my parent's (Dad in particular ) has rescued me. When I was 19 I got myself stranded up the top of NSW and had no money for bus fare back to Canberra (about a 16 hour bus journey). I rung Dad and straight away I had money again and it has kind of been a pattern since that day.

I like having new things but I don't really care less either way. I like to have nice furniture and wear good shoes, but I don't care much either way. Most of my furniture is stuff that my parent's didn't want and they give to me. A lot of the clothes I wear right now comes from the bags and bags my neighbour dropped around my house saying she didn't wear them or want them and I could have anything I liked.
So I tend to view life like yes it sucks to not have oodles of cash but life seems to make sure I don't really ever go without.

I can see though that it is completely different for a man when he is the one who has the job to go out and provide for his family. His self worth is tied up with how he can provide and so I feel for you guys and I feel for Roy.
I know I drove K completely insane with my lax view of how things work and how the reality of the world is that you need to stay ontop of everything, or you sink.

Money is the root of all evil, and headaches!!

I am understanding your feelings on this and wishing you all the best and that things turn around really soon.

love mel xx

p.s it might be interesting for me to note that my Mum's own perspective on my Dad rescuing me with money so much has been the source of THEIR arguments and tension too. Some times my Mum hits the roof about it, not so much now, because she knows my situation with the kids and how much my payments actually are, but in the past she has got very angry at Dad throwing money to me because she thinks I have never learnt to be truly accountable.

christopherc said...

I want to go back to the days of barter. I'll trade you 12 cabbage for a chicken!

Everyone gets what they need and want within reason... a true free market place system. OH, and no debt! I hate credit cards and debt.

Hope you had a nice weekend!!

-C

jasmin said...

Well, I must say that as your child I have never been disappointed in the things you have taught me. I have always been grateful that I learned "love" from you.
My father on the other hand has always been the "money" parent. Not that I constantly ask him for money but he was the parent with the money. At that point in my life, you know which one, it all seemed very appealing to me. I hated who I was then... when I lived among the wealthy. I will never forget when I moved home and just wanted to be "home". I had forgotten all of the things that you had taught me, and I missed them.
Besides my father always bitched about money but never set me down and explained it to me either.
I have lived rich and I have lived poor but ultimately I like myself poor a lot more.
And finally I am glad you are poor, I hope you don't take offense to that. But it has taught me to figure it out because I do not have someone to call and bail me out. And yes, I could call my dad but I don't because I don't like to hear how I am failing!