But I’m not laughing, ya’ll, so I’ve still got my feminist street cred. But seriously, Greek yogurt is delicious.
I’m in a better mood than when I last blogged, because I’ve taken care of (I hope) some debt related trouble. Like many other people, the combination of health problems and the tanking economy as well as a really shitty ex boyfriend who I shouldn’t have trusted, has tanked my finances. There was a time when Pepper had AAA credit, oh yes. Ha ha ha ha it seems like a dream!
Those were the halcyon days of 2007.
Now I have a shitload of defaults, and I’m trying my best to clean it up. I’m not proud of this, but I also don’t see much point in being ashamed or acting like I’m the only person in the history of life that has ever been unable to pay all of their bills on time. In fact, having worked in collections, I know damn well I’m not.
I really have to be conscientious about not viewing my debt as a moral failing. I am not a bad person. Nobody is suffering because I defaulted on a half paid off credit card. In terms of scale, not counting my mortgage or student loan debt, and oh god how I enjoy not counting those, I owe less than 10,000 dollars.
I realize that talking about money and debt is gauche. But I think that it’s a kind of secret that leads to profound self hatred. I don’t have a bad relationship with my body. We’re ok. I accept my body. But I have to fight to accept my circumstances as they are, accept that I’m doing the best I can with limited income, and not hate myself.
Part of this, I think is all of the rhetoric around making good choices, which effectively erases privilege from the equation. I made the choices I did, and took on the debts I did, for a variety of reasons, some noble, some stupid. Mostly it was so I could eat, buy books and gasoline for my 22 miles daily commute and pay utilities to get through college.
I am unapologetic about the fact that I will not live off of rice and beans and ramen to satisfy anyone. I lived that way throughout most of my teen years, and I won’t do it again. If you consider that a poor choice, and think that I ought to be scraping the pot of hominy and pinto beans while nobly darning my ragged socks, you can kindly go ahead and try it.
I remind myself that I will only live once, and only for a short time. I won’t regret dying in debt, if that’s what happens, and it probably will– but I will regret all of the good food I never cooked for myself.
I just had the impulse to justify, to publicly flagellate myself and humbly explain that this doesn’t mean I’m spending every paycheck on gold leaf covered truffles- but you know what? If that’s what you think I’m doing, because you assume that the poor are just stupid animals who frivolously buy shit they don’t need instead of eating cold canned tomatoes in the dark to save electricity, you need to really question those ideas.
There is no magic series of choices that anyone can make to save themselves from hardship of one kind or another. There are privileges, and for the privileged they are generally invisible. They are “good choices”– being born into a solidly middle or upper class family who can bail you out if you get yourself a little too deep in, is luck. That is not a choice.
I’ve had plenty of help along the way. If I hadn’t had the help I’ve had, in fact, I would be homeless, or perhaps in the advanced stages of cancer. That is amazing luck. I wish that the people who think that they have made good choices would acknowledge the element of pure serendipity involved in their position.
As for the rest of us, all we can do is push back against the rhetoric of both the noble poor and the animal poor. Refusing to hate yourself is a radical act of subversion against the kyriarchy, which expects and needs us all to hate ourselves for one reason or another or preferably all of them. I refuse to hate myself today.