I hate talking about money. If you want to make me seriously uncomfortable than bring up a conversation about my finances, or lack there of.
Money is something I have never had much access to, it's something I don't feel entitled to. It's elusive and there is a lot of trauma around it for me.
Growing up there was not much money, and by not much money I mean there was none. I grew up in a rich town, Newburyport Ma, and I was always the poor kid.
We moved constantly because there was not enough money for rent so we were always getting evicted and thrown out on the street, literally. I spent a lot of time growing up homeless, nights wandering with no where to go. When we did have an apartment there was often no electricity or heat, I remember sleeping under piles of dirty laundry on my bed trying to stay warm in the winter. I was always making excuses to friends on why we had no electricity, it was extremely embarrassing as a child and teenager. Once a month when food stamps came we would have food but it didn't last long and I spent a lot of time hungry. I would steal food out of the trash cans at school when no one was looking, I remember the first time I did it. Someone threw out one of those red and white striped paper bowls full of mozzarella sticks and it was just sitting there on top of the trash. How could someone waste food like that? That's when I knew how different I was from everyone else, I never had the luxury to throw away perfectly good food. I couldn't even wrap my head around the possibility of what it would feel like to be that lucky. At my friends houses I would always clean up the dishes so I could eat whatever was left on everyone's plates, I didn't know if tomorrow I would be hungry so I had to eat .
I was the smelly kid, going to the laundromat was expensive and we never had a car so it was difficult. I stood out like a sore thumb in a school full of Gap and BMW's and the teachers and kids at school never let me forget that I didn't fit in. They had money and I didn't.
At the age of twenty Jon and I moved in together, we bought groceries all the time and I would constantly open the fridge and just stare at it. I couldn't believe all the food and I felt like the richest person in the world. Then we bought a bed! We bought a brand new bed, mattress and box spring and it had a canopy. It was just cheap but I thought it was incredible and I couldn't believe we owned it. I had never experienced new furniture, something bought and not picked up on the side of the road. Such a luxury item like a bed was not even in my wildest dreams but here it was and I thought I had made it in the world. It didn't take much to impress me having grown up with so little.
As an adult money has been something I don't like to think much about, I spend a lot of time pretending it doesn't exist and feeling like I have no right to any. I try to live modest and not spend money on things I don't really need. I don't spend money on what I consider luxury items or frivolous things. I don't like taking money from people or charging people for anything, I would like to be rich just so I could never have to ask anyone for money. I could just give things freely to people and never have to worry. I am just so grateful for what I have and to ask for anything more feels greedy.
I am not rich in money and most days that scares the crap out of me. I am scared of losing our home, of this farm not making money and not being able to feed our animals like my mom couldn't feed me as a child. I am scared that we just inherited a horse and a cow we can not afford and it will sink us.
But if there's one thing I know from growing up poor it's I could have a whole lot less than I do now and that I am a survivor. Compared to that poor little girl I grew up as I am rich. If she walked into our home, saw my barn full of animals, our pantry full of food and this land we own she would think I was the richest person in the world and she would not be wrong. I am rich. I am rich in so many ways. I am rich in love and friendship. I am rich in experiences and community. I am rich in knowledge and survival. I am rich in a faith that there was always something guiding me to a better life and it will continue to do so.