“But Jamie, you don’t know what it’s like!”
Really? I don’t know what it’s like to be broke and not have enough money to pay rent, let alone figure out if I had enough gas to get me to work until payday? Yes. I know that reality all too well. So, quit being so damn assuming and remember that we all start somewhere and you my friend, are not the only one who knows what it means to struggle.
I lost my job when I was 19…and my boyfriend. And then quickly after that, my roommate. I was going to college at night, working full-time during the day and found myself with no more income and an office chair shoved in my Jeep as I drove away and never looked back. I had no idea what I was going to do. Stuck in a lease, tuition due, credit card bills piled up. I sat on my couch for a couple of days and cried. Then, I got up and figured it out. I made hundreds of phone calls, worked for a temp agency, borrowed money against my student loans in order to pay to get out of my lease and practically begged my Grandma to let me live in her basement apartment for a fraction of the price. Ideal? Hell no but I had to do something.
THEN! It happened again a few years later. I had trusted in a man (the wrong man) and put myself in a not so good financial spot (and abusive on top of it all, but that’s a different story for a different day). Again I was stuck with piles of bills and only me to pay them, so what did I do? I packed up my shit and moved back with my parents for a while. I worked 4 jobs. Yep, you heard that correctly… 4 jobs. I worked full-time (60 hours a week) and did promotions for Monster Energy and Miller Coors at night and on the weekends. I also worked every charity event and private party I could find, bartending, managing, or greeting people, whatever needed to be done. Those gigs went on for over 6 years. For almost 6 years I worked 4 jobs minimum (there was a time there that I also worked as a cocktail waitress a few nights a week so the job count was up to 5).
After about a year back at the parentals, I found this beautiful townhouse. Finally a place to call my own. But the rent was higher than I could afford so those 4+ jobs were still a necessity. It wasn’t until I was 26 and that I decided to go back to only 2 jobs. One being the salaried 60+ hour a week position and the other was running my own business planning, staffing, and promoting events. Looking back, working the 4 jobs was actually easier most of the time but that’s neither here nor there.
Big thing to note here is that every time I found myself standing there looking around with a new financial hurdle to figure out how to jump over, there was also some large difficult life shift involved.
I didn’t stand still. I didn’t ignore it. I didn’t beg people for money to pay my rent. I stood up and did what I needed to do to handle my shit every time. I also cut out every luxury during those times. Yes, I was the 18 year old girl who’s hair was always freshly colored and nails were always perfectly manicured. I had the latest purse and every pair of shoes I wanted and my vehicles were always customized to my liking. But the day I lost my job, my boyfriend, and my apartment, all of that changed. I stopped eating out. I quit buying water or snacks or sodas at the gas station. I took off my nails and started painting my own nails. I pushed out my hair appointments as far as I could and I worked on 2 jobs every day, sometimes 3 so I could eat and pay my bills.
Side note: to this day, I still don’t spend money on manicures because I’d rather spend that $1000 a year going on a trip or using that time on creating. You see, these lessons I learned along the way, made me look at everything differently. It made me respect not only money, but also my TIME.
Don’t get me wrong, I found really fun jobs to do in those days. They were hard work, the hours were long, and I pretty much lived out of the trunk of my car most of the time but the jobs were at least fun and the biggest thing, I was taking care of myself.
Because really, what makes you think you have any other option?
People are too quick to stop and look around for a handout when life throws them a curve ball and I just don’t get it. When the hell did that even become an option? When did it become normal to think someone needs to give you something just because you hit a rough patch? No. That just means you stand up and fight harder. That just means you get creative and figure it out. And it’s in those moments that you really find out what you are capable of.
Well… I guess I might be a little presumptuous to think that everyone has the balls I do or the pure stubbornness it takes to refuse to let the world knock you down. BUT I know that people CAN do what I did to make it by, IF they want to. And I also know that it will make you basically unstoppable if you do.
So why am I telling you this? Because you’re not a fucking island so stop throwing yourself a pity party like you’re the only person who’s been broke before. Hell, do you think I wasn’t broke just a couple of years ago when I left my salaried position on principle and decided to freelance while I build this business? Think again. I was BROKER THAN BROKE. Hell, I had less money then than I did 10 years before that BUT you see, here is the beautiful thing… I knew with every fiber of my being that I would figure it out and make it work because I had done it before.
If you take anything away from this at all, remember that no one is coming to save you and the sooner you realize that, the better off you will be. If you choose to play the victim always looking for a handout, don’t expect things to change for you because they won’t. Not with that mentality.
If there is a will, there IS a way but no one is going to hand it to you. So go out there and create it. It’s truly the only way.