Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Rich Little Poor Girl

You could never say that I've "had money." For me, money comes into my life and then out. It's not something I have ever gotten to hold on to. Not yet. Throughout periods of my life, my family would either be okay or not so okay. We never went without food - for that, I am thankful. Being raised by a single parent was tough. Sometimes, because my mother needed someone to talk to, I knew too much about our financial situation. I knew this time of year was going to be lean because taxes had to be paid. I knew when bill collectors were calling. I knew when there just wasn't enough.

My mother did all in her power to make sure our basic needs were met. She worked harder than any man I've ever known. She took on jobs she hated. She took on jobs that many might be ashamed of. She worked all the time. All of my friends seemed to have money. And nice houses, cars, etc. They also had two working parents. I can't say I was never embarrassed by my mother driving the school bus or the fact that we lived in a trailer - but I can say that my mother dropped everything to take care of a baby that maybe was not so much planned - and for that, I am, again, thankful.

With all that being said, I never went without. My aunt always made sure I was dressed in the nicest clothes. She and my uncle made sure I traveled and got out of my small hometown. My older cousins bought me diamond earrings for my 16th birthday and tickets to see NSYNC when they came to Atlanta. (My 13 year old fantasy come true!) Raising me was truly a group effort made by many. A modern family. Thinking of the sacrifices made by so many brings me to tears. Because of them, I felt I could get into and pay for the college of my dreams. I even had the audacity to declare my major in theater and acting. (Holy crap!) Nevertheless, they taught me to never let anything, certainly not money, hold me back.

Jon and I struggle, like most people our age, I'm sure. We've both come a very long way. Somehow, we have managed to balance rent, bills, student loans, medical bills, and more - all in our 20s. Some months better than others. Even more shocking, we've continued to work toward our goal, our dream, of filmmaking. You strive and work so hard for this dream - and though you may feel like you work 24/7 - your finances certainly do not reflect it. We work in an industry where people don't want to pay you for your endeavors until you have "proven" yourself - something we're striving to do every day. On top of that, we've crowd funded two short films. Insane! It has to be easier for an artist who comes from money. It has to take some of the stress away, at least in the early years. When I reflect on what we've accomplished, the highs and the lows, and what what we're working toward, I am really amazed that we've done it all with so little. Cancer was and most certainly is an un-welcomed guest at our party. And it definitely has not made our financial situation any easier. But, the fact that we've done it feels empowering. The fact that our love has only gotten stronger, makes it even more so.

Random thoughts on a cold day - as I sit here struggling to write my feature screenplay about another rich little poor girl - maybe I could one day establish an organization where all the poor little girls and boys in the world can feel the riches and blesses I have so generously been given. Money really is trivial. Extremely necessary and it does make life 100 times easier. But - it certainly cannot buy you happiness. And because of that, this rich little poor girl wouldn't trade her experience for all the money in the world.

Stay warm,

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