Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I hate money. Sure, it's great when you've got enough, but it's been a while since I've been able to feel that sense of security. To me, and likely others like me, money is an evil, big-breasted seductress who toys with you before kicking you in the balls and shooting you down. You want her, but you'll never have her.

I suppose it's easy to predict where this post will be going. I don't really care. Whining to an invisible audience is cathartic somehow; as though I'm packing all these emotions in a trunk, locking it, and throwing away the key. At least I won't be all emo "God the world is unfair I may as well slash myself" about it. I've grown up a little since high school.

If you've got the patience to get to see me in a different light, feel free to read on. Just don't expect me to have a heart-to-heart with you about it. Whatever goes into these "Who Wants Cookies?" posts stays here, as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, read something else and spare yourself my self-indulgent hoo-ha.

Let me go back to the start - I hate money. These days, it seems all my problems are money-related. I mean, I've got the best girlfriend ever, I've got friends I see on a pretty regular basis, and I'm doing what I want to in life. The catch is, all those get affected in one way or another because my bank account keeps dwindling to an unsavory amount.

There a whole bunch of reasons as to why my funds are in a leaky barrel. If we're going to get specific about it, the main culprit would be the fact that I'm not earning enough. I do make some money, but there are a bunch of demands that I have to deal with, mostly from my family.

Lately, I've been asked to cough up dough for electricity, groceries, and even a surgery. I haven't been able to meet the demands as I'd like, and it's been wearing me down. So much so that I've become pretty unbearable to talk to (Sorry, Lauren). I don't think there's been a day this month where I haven't owed my family some money. It makes me feel pretty much like the failure my parents see me as.

Never mind the fact that a lot of this is because I did something to please my parents.

See, I didn't really have my parents' support when I decided to quit my day job and go into freelance writing full-time. I guess it was something they couldn't understand. Heck, even my sister thought I was a bum for staying home all day and not going to an office (she told me this herself). Their traditionalist thinking made them blind to the fact that I was actually making more money this way, and was feeling a lot more fulfilled with the work I was doing.

And so they would have talks with me. They'd ask me how work was, and then give me some lecture about writing not being a career. Basically, I was given the same spiel my mother gave me when she warned me about the perils of being a starving artist. After that talk, the little five-year-old boy who was drawing his own comics and creating entire worlds in his head gave up on the fantasy and went on a path to med school, just as his parents always wanted. Forget the passion, the creativity, and the talent - go for where the money is.

The same thing's been happening after I went freelance. After I had rediscovered my passion for writing and creative work, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue it as a career. I really didn't think of myself as a good fit for med school, anyway (which, by the way, I'm sure they hoped I'd go for after saving the money from my day job). I logged onto Craigslist, found a few clients, and typed my fingers off. Along the way, I found a client who not only paid me very well, but also gave me topics I enjoyed writing about. I was earning well while pursuing my dreams, so much so the shitload of gifts I gave Lauren on Christmas didn't really hit my bank account that hard.

Of course, all this came at the expense of looking like a bum in front of my family. Sometime earlier this year, a local company gave me an offer. I had apprehensions about taking it, especially since I was so comfortable with Well-Paying Client. I could have ideally made about the same amount with Local Company, but only by doing a lot more work. I went back and forth on the decision until I realized something important: Local Company was a chance to show my family that I was actually working. There were company IDs, an office (that I didn't have to go to), and everything. In my all-consuming desire to appease my parents, I took the offer.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out with Local Company. I wasn't very well-rewarded for the passion I put into my work, and the rewards I did get were extremely delayed. Even worse, the work was so taxing that I had to give up my contract with Well-Paying Client. It didn't matter to me at the time, since all I really wanted was my parents' approval.

This led to financial disaster. With paychecks so far between, and a litany of problems coming from my family's financial shortcomings, I ended up being desperate for money. I actually still am, as I'm still waiting for the fruits of my labor at Local Company to come make me happy. Needless to say, things just got worse. With my family's financial demands going unaddressed, I've sunk lower into the Pit of Parental Disapproval. I've had the same "You've got to make more money" talks come to me over and over again. And I can't even afford to get away from all that.

All this has made me realize something - every time I do something to get my parents' approval, it blows up in my face. The pursuit of med school was an enormous waste of time, time I could have spent developing into a real writer and a real artist. The time I spent with Local Company could have been spent with Well-Paying Client, and I could very well be on my second trip to Thailand by now. Instead, I'm at a place in my life I don't want to be, and have been in since God knows when.

From now on, I'm going to be more selfish about things. I shouldn't be a slave to my parents' approval. I've got to accept the fact that their values are simply incompatible with mine, and that compromising myself for their sake only makes me more of a loser than I ought to be. I'm going to do what's right for me, regardless of what others think. It's going to take a while before I can stop feeling guilty for not being a "good son", but I can probably take it.

Goddammit, I'm going to be myself, and I don't give a fuck if they don't like it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Discovered you blog through Lauren's which I was led to for, well, fashion reasons. You're pretty cool. You write well too. Had so much fun that I had backread all the way to your first post without noticing.

    Write on. :)