Money Matters

For a long time this past year, I’ve worked on myself.

More particularly, I’ve worked on overcoming my issue with rape. The summer when it happens, my whole universe snaps out of it’s axis, and the world changes for me. I know somewhere deep in me, life as I know it is over.

Now, it all sounds almost bearable. For more than half year, I have given everything I had to make it bearable, at first so deep in depression that it was hard to make myself get out of bed, let alone do anything else.
Finally, I am able to work nicely, to get up in the morning without feeling like I’ll break to pieces if I go outside, and to see my friends, without constantly having the feeling I’m living 2 lives at the same time.

When I first begin recovery, I’m touchy on everything around the issue. Pronouncing the word rape for a first time after the fact happens only after I have cried in a bathroom for 5 hours. And somehow, now that I’ve almost resolved that, I discover I’m almost as touchy on the subject of money.

*

That summer, I’m a complete mess.

I have free lunch at a church that does that, because I can’t afford else.

I have no one to lend me money until I find a job. I go to interviews, drinking rum before, because I’m all bruised from i-don’t-know-what (im too busy and ignore the alarms going off in my mind), and I can’t really afford painkillers or sitting at home.

The first time I meet my landlord, she is throwing out a guy out of the rooming house with a baseball bat, because he lied for weeks that he will pay her. Needless to say I’m in no position to ever ask her for extension.

Once, I gather the money from a friend who is a homeless addict, and another friend from the street, whom I actively avoid knowing what she does.

Another time, one of the other times that guy comes to make his claim on me, afterwards, I lay on my back staring the ceiling, ignoring the shooting pain at the lower part of my body, and thinking, how the hell do I pay my rent, I need to pay my rent.

When he tells me I’m worthless and no good for nothing I believe him.

But when I have one job, it doesn’t get better.

I still need to save money, which I have no way to get.

*

With the years since then, I slowly rebuild my life, in different times, in different ways. However, just as the rape had left me hyper-sensitive to any closer relationship with guys, everything money related from then has left me a wreck.

Every time I’m waiting for money for a day or 2, I have the feeling the world is collapsing around me. Every time I don’t know when I will get money, and have some deadline I panic.

My throat closes, my cheek flush in brick red color, and the same voiceless, sweaty panic overcomes me, dirty and filled with that choking feeling that if I don’t make enough money in the next second, I’ll have nothing to eat, or stay on the street, or worse.

I can’t tell how worse exactly, in what way, all I know is, I can’t afford to take that chance.

I take that feeling as if it has always been there, as if this is the way the regular universe works. That having a panic attack at the moment you have to pay something- from a bus ticket to your rent- is normal. That sweating at the idea that your cell phone payment is 2 weeks away is normal, and that spending sleepless nights, trying to figure out how to gather 40$, 1$ by 1$ is completely normal, as if 40$ are the most unattainable sum. Which they are, when you have no idea how to get 1$ and the idea of anything connected to money makes you feel like you’re choking.

Even when I am at home, when I have a sure bed to sleep on, when I always have some food, the feeling stays there. It takes me 7 months of working over my rape, to understand people don’t always feel like that. And even longer to realize I don’t have to feel that way.

Needless to say, realizing it doesn’t necessarily change the feeling. Now, that’s my next thing to work on.

 

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