Today’s Reader’s Corner is from Adedayo and it resonates with me in the early days of my career, until I found balance. Read more of her stuff here http://zoeyphoenix.wordpress.com/
I love my family to bits, they mean the world to me. Their ideals and thought process might be of the Middle Ages but they get me….well, some of the time. Got two younger brothers who constantly rock my world, and three older sisters I’m not so close to. The half sibling dynamics and all. Anyway, they’re all dear to me in their own way.
My only source of concern is that axis where my family and my pocket cross paths. You see I’m that middle child who has kinda found a way to make things work out a bit better than the other older ones so far, no fault of theirs though. Just that funny bitch called life being its mostly cruel and unfair self. Got a job a couple of months after college grad and things have been looking up ever since. Not to say it’s been easy, it never usually is. But God has been a perfect gentleman, keeping his word every step of the way.
Anyway, from the moment I got my first pay as a trainee, through my service year, till I became a permanent staff with a better pay, it’s been an undisrupted chain of give, give, give, and then some. Never complaining, or holding back, never giving any thought to the garri I’d have to soak during lunch break at the office while my colleagues had KFC and TFC and Munchies FC. For me, I believed it was my job to keep them comfortable, come rain or shine. And when my position at the company became permanent I felt it was time to give my folks a raise as well. And that’s when the troubles and subconscious depression began.
As months went by, I stopped shopping as frequently as I usually do. I found that I was already broke before the first week of the month was over, then before the new month even started. I would start worrying about money two days after payday, then the blues would kick in. It never occurred to me that in the giving and giving process, I’d gone well over my limit. I was practically giving away my hard earned money with no thought for myself; they had taken first and second place. And I was the one getting the left over scraps on the table.
Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t being unreasonable; it was their right to ask if and when they needed my assistance. They’re family. What I had completely forgotten was that it was also my right to say NO on occasion if I’m going to end up with migraines and sleepless nights over going so broke I’d have to borrow, beg, or lie just to make it through the new month. I was so constantly broke, I was afraid to shop with the little money I always ended up having left.
All the while, my boyfriend, who had seen what was going on, kept telling me to slow down and manage my finances better. I was giving away money like Santa giving away gifts to kids on the “Nice” list on Christmas morning. And I just couldn’t see it! All I could think was that it was my job to keep them comfortable. Even when he tried reasoning with me that they were fine before my money came along, and as such, would be fine if I cut down on the exorbitant amount I was giving them collectively. This was money I could not afford to be doling out in such large quantities, not on the stipend I get paid monthly.
It finally sunk in recently when I couldn’t afford a pair of shoes I’d been eyeing on one online store for weeks. I LOVE shoes and wristwatches especially. And when I realized I couldn’t even afford to buy a pair of N6000 shoes, it hit home that I’d hit rock bottom with the giving. Like Gabby, my boyfriend, says: Money is a tool. It should never be the master of your emotions. You control it and it should work for you. I became depressed over my inability to afford a pair of AFFORDABLE shoes! It took a pair of N6000 pumps for me to realize it was time to pack up my Santa suit and start making money my bitch.
Lesson learned! E don do. It’s time to put me first, they’ll be just fine. And when the time comes and Bill Gates becomes my PA, then I’ll open fat bank accounts for each one of them to do whatever they like with. Right now, it’s my moment and the best and wisest thing to do for all concerned is to cut my coat according to my size 8 frame. Peace….