The last few years have been super challenging. One issue after another. Bills, health, family, romantic relationships, co-parenting…. adulting is not always easy.
When the whole self-care trend started, I immediately jumped on board. “Yasssss!” I thought. Finally, finally folks are thinking about the needs of women who are holding it down in so many ways for loved ones and communities.
I decided to carve out time for myself. Mani pedis, journaling, more sex, baths, reading. You name it, I did it. Yet, I still felt anxious and tense, tired.
As a consultant, every day is different. Some months are flush, and some months are lean. On one particular sleepless night, I stumbled upon the DreamCatchers group on Facebook. I nervously clicked the Join button, and was surprised by a group of (mostly) women talking finances. I was both horrified and intrigued. Folks were sharing both successes and failures, and I soon started thinking about my own financial picture.
It was a mess. If avoiding dealing with finances was an Olympic sport, I’d be…. Michael Phelps.
I had always accepted that my credit was “bad”. It was something I constantly avoided thinking about, and I didn’t even have a credit card! As an adult. That led to me not doing a lot of stuff: rent a car, I always had to call hotels to see if I could leave deposits in cash, programs for card holders excluded me.
So, after reading about other people’s experiences, I did something I hadn’t done in a while: I obtained a copy of my credit report. Real talk, that shit was scary as hell.
However, to my shock and amazement, my credit WAS not good.
Not at all. However, it was because I had NO credit. Not because I had a heap of items on my report, the damn report was naked! So I started to look at the forums on the MyFico website.
Soon, it became a hobby. Shopping cart trick? I’m on that. (Hello, Victoria’s Secret!) On a whim, I applied for a credit card online. To my great surprise, I was approved. Then the iPad I was using died. Seriously. I almost cried.
I hadn’t had a credit card since college, and the damn ipad died. So I charged up, logged back in, and thought I had to reapply. Then another “you’re approved” sign came up on the screen. So after 15 years of no cards, I went from none to two. Just. Like. That.
The best byproduct of this late night online learning was that I soon recognized that the dull ache I felt in my stomach all the time had started to ease up. Once I got brave about facing my finances, my life got better.
I bought a notebook at Marshall’s, sat down and wrote down all of my debt and monthly expenses and developed a plan. Doing this was life changing.
I developed more confidence, I had a plan, I rented a car, checked into a hotel easily, and bought me some cute new panties at Victoria’s Secret.
Then my work dried up.
Bills piled up. I owed even MORE people now.
I started getting into my old habits of procrastination and avoidance.
A damn mess.
However, I am a firm believer that once you master something, you can tap into that “win” again. So I checked my credit, saw the damage, and once again, created a plan. It means that I can’t always depend on some other self-care methods, maybe fewer mani pedis and unlimited brunches with the homies, but the peace that comes from being prepared for life events and is enabling me to continue to offer my son awesome life experiences and meeting my own life goals is priceless.