Money and I have a hate/hate relationship. Or at least we did. Money has always caused me anxiety. Spending it, having it, thinking about it, and it’s just this little piece of paper. But it’s a paper that holds so much power.
I didn’t know I had this toxic relationship with money until yesterday. I’d gone to see the surgeon and could hardly breathe at the cost. The people at the counter talked about it like it was chump change. No one else there batted an eye either. They were quoted high amounts and some were choosing to pay an extra $400 to go to sleep during their procedures, a thing in which I can’t do.
“It’s all about your comfort,” the Doc said.
But it’s not.
My comfort would be having a pleasant slumber and not needing to pay extra for it. Comfort isn’t an option for me. I don’t have the money it takes to have that option ‘added on’ to my bill.
This enraged me. I was so pissed I could hardly talk yesterday and it didn’t make sense to me. I’m getting it done. I’ll be numb. I didn’t get why the comfort factor enraged me so much aside from not being fair.
Now echoes of voices from my past are bouncing in my head spewing, “Life isn’t fair. Get over it.”
I also couldn’t afford one aspect of the procedure and someone that cares has offered to pay for it. This should have made me jump for joy. Yet it made my stomach hurt instead.
I know this person loves me. He thinks I’m worthy of a good foundation. His help will make a difference. Yet my pride…. It was getting in the way.
Or was it pride?
I told him I was angry that I couldn’t have the comfort of being asleep during the procedure. I shared that I was struggling with his offer of help, despite it being something that I really should have done. And that I wasn’t happy that his offer of help was bothering me. I wanted to feel grateful, not unhappy.
We spoke about it and as I began to unfold why all of this was bothering me, I began to see so much under the surface…
First, money was something that I saw change hands during sexual abuse. I only have two firm memories of this, but that’s two too many.
Then as I got older, I began to see people use money to punish others. Often times that has been directed at me, though it’s just as bad when it was directed at someone I love. Money was used to reward then later punish. It always came with strings attached.
I began to hate money.
While I understood in my logical brain that a gift was a gift, when the story changes and a birthday or holiday present becomes a ‘you owe me’ or a ‘you take advantage…’, guilt builds. More hatred of that little green paper builds. And as I’ve written before, guilt is horrible for me. Even when there was no need to feel guilt, I’d feel it because I couldn’t understand that people were using it to abuse me.
I thought I’d done something wrong in the ‘accepting help’ part. Not that they’d done something wrong by using a gift to later punish me.
When someone offers help now, I panic. It’s almost not worth it.
Except this time it is worth it.
The more this turned over in my head, the more it bothered me. Money seemed evil. I hated it.
I thought of all the evil committed for money. Spanning my entire life. I thought of the people I’d connected with in other countries and how they had even less than I did (which also added guilt). I thought of the times money was used to punish me. How it causes me so much illness every time I have to make a decision around it…
But I eventually came to the issue not being the money itself. Money really is just paper. Paper with power, yes, but money can’t do anything on its own.
We are the ones that give the paper power. We are the ones that abuse it. We are the greedy assholes that throw others under the bus and harm and kill for more numbers in our bank accounts.
The more I began to see money as a tool and the problem being humans, I began to see that so much of my struggle with money is that I don’t want to be one of those greedy assholes. I was seeing having money as greedy. If I had money in savings it was because I wasn’t being a good person and giving it to my fellow humans in need.
The bible verse, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” would repeat in my head. Except having a small savings isn’t being rich…
I was thinking about money all wrong.
It’s like the instructions you’re given when you get on a plane. That you must first put on your own oxygen mask, then you can help others. If I give everything I have away, then I can’t take care of myself.
Or my family.
While I still don’t love money, I’m at least a point where I don’t hate it. I understand money is a tool. It’s not bad to have. Nor is it bad to accept money for jobs (yes, still a thing I struggle doing). And it’s not bad to accept money when I need a medical procedure done and can’t afford to do all I need to.
All my life I’ve struggled not to be like those that used money to hurt me and others, and by hating money so much, I’ve continued the abuse that others began. Which was certainly not my intent.
It’s time I stop hating a piece of paper. It’s time I stop fearing money. My hate is real but it’s not paper I loathe so much. It’s all those that use money to cause harm rather than help.
So I’m going to accept the help being offered with gratitude and appreciation. I’m going to stop this toxic relationship with money. And I’m going to keep my rage and disgust directed at the greedy humans that deserve my disdain.
One day, money and I will be friends. But it will be a tool I use to help myself and others. Not a tool I use to punish or cause harm.
Tonight, I’m breaking up with this toxic relationship and I’m entering into a new, healthier one.
And to think… all of this came out of a simple little box I could check for a mere $400 of added comfort.