Friday, October 21, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Him - "Ok. Now write down how much money you would like to make next year."
Me - "No."
Him - "Just pick a number."
Me - "No."
Him, with an "it's no big deal" sing-song voice - "Just an arbitrary number. Any number."
Me, with a defiant "Absolutely not. Ask me again and I'll pop you" voice – "Umm...No."
I had just started my first session with, Michael Roderick, the saint that will be helping me get my life in order in the coming months (he's a consultant and the creator of Solving For X Workshops. More on these sessions in the coming weeks). This was the first exchange we shared, post a little L train commiseration banter. 5 minutes in and my fear and anxiety shocked even me. At the mere mention of my financial situation I started to sweat like a 5 dollah hooker in church. I peeled off my sticking sweater and uncoiled my scarf. Twisted my hair into a knot, so as to reduce the claustrophobic feeling that the walls of the mockingly quaint coffee shop were closing in on me.
My anxiety came from a variety of factors. For one, I'm a words girl. My 1300 SAT score was from a verbal majority, I do math problems in the air with my fingers, and I've been known to say the words, “carry the one” out loud while doing them. Numbers bug me out. And numbers with a $ sign in front freak me out even more. If I come up with a number and write that shiz down, that number will be staring me in the face. As bold and bright and alarming as a gas gauge on empty. And no matter how low or high I go, each direction comes with its own set of stresses. The feelings of inadequacy, overwhelming dread, responsibility and inability flooded over my quickly overheating body. I switched into panic mode.
He was very patient with me. As I sat there trying to breath deeply and avoid a total meltdown, he picked a number for me. I stared at the ink willing myself not to cry. It's interesting. My financial situation is what it is because of my dedication to and need for a performing career. Sure, I've had opportunities to get a 9-5er, benefits, the whole nine. But I wouldn't have been able to pursue what I love. And the anxiety that comes with that is way worse. So, aside from having a second passion for the subject of nutrition, I started school with the hopes of a more stable source of income. A more “normal” life. Now the thought of actually achieving that - the what, the when, the who, the how much- sends my heart into a Tasmanian devil-like whirlwind. Somehow I've become comfortable with the financial fight. Wondering when my next job will come, waiting for the meager paychecks, feeling guilty for buying a new top at some shithole store downtown for $19.99. It might sound weird, but It's simply what I'm used to.
At the end of our session he assured me that my anxiety was normal and even recounted a story about some anonymous girl that he worked with before that felt similarly. I'm pretty sure the story isn't true and the girl doesn't exist, but he was just trying to make me feel better (And a part of me wants to believe it because, well, A little delusion never killed anyone). I have lots of totally terrifying homework to do before our next session having to do with figuring out certain details of my current financials and setting goals for my future (I feel the knot tighten in my sternum as I type). They're tasks I should have done months ago, maybe even years. Pretty amazing that for a girl that venerates honesty as much as I do, I think the real reason I've put it off is that I'm afraid of the truth. The simple math that you can't argue with. I can't use those words that are my forte to talk my way out of the concrete fact of numbers with a $ in front.
In other news, tour season seems to be picking up. I've spent a number of hours with tourists in the recent days, and it's always nice to hang with some peeps whose "normal" doesn't consist of watching a homeless man masturbate on the corner and an angry commuter beat the shit out of a car in the crosswalk (both scenarios I've witnessed in the past week). I've had some rehearsals for a couple pretty kick-ass readings I have coming up of new plays. Plays that I believe in and characters that I feel honored to get to know. It's a nice feeling.
I've also had the privilege to spend some time with old friends. The kind of friends that get together after months apart and it's as if not a milisecond has passed. The kind of friends that know bits of your past that even you have forgotten over the years. And the kind of friends that make fun of you relentlessly for bringing low calorie vegan cookies and silken tofu fruit dip to a dinner party. But in the end love you for all your oddities and weirdness. I love those friends. I'm one lucky girl to have so many.
In the coming days I hope to drown out the sound of my fingertips plunking away on that ever so honest calculator with the sound of clinking glasses. The kind that contain drinks that make your face purse and your body dance on tables like that hooker from a few paragraphs up. Yup, many celebrations coming up in the near future and I'm sure posts to elaborate on how mixed my attitude is about such celebrations. I'm another year older over here- where the hell does the time go?!
Much like how you can't argue with an equation, turns out you can't argue a whole helluva lot with time either. It ain't stoppin for nothing. Not even my big old, sometimes inappropriate and usually loud mouth.
An early birthday toast:
Let's raise our glasses to staying fully focused, fiscally responsible and so young at heart the boys think you may be illegal.