A Root to Seeing People
My recent experience with money taught me that money can ‘root’ to many outcomes. I saw no evil. Rather, I got to know the people in my life better.
Three years ago, I decided to embark on a journey that inevitably would lead me to financial distress, and indefinitely. I had quit my corporate job to pursue my childhood passion in becoming a screenwriter and make films. And for the past three years steps were made to rise closer to this goal…that also lead to the simultaneous decline of my savings and living as a nomadic broke artist.
But being broke also made me wealthy.
From traveling to various countries for my projects with little money and then returning home with no money, I learned that perhaps money is not the root of all evil and people are actually the agent to those “outcomes”, good or bad.
And money is just a way to help us understand our relationships…
With Your Friends
It’s scary to share with your friends you’re struggling with money for fear of them ‘changing’. Does that ‘change’ indicate that the friend became a better or worst one? But perhaps it’s better to ask, “Is the friend’s ‘change’ consistent?”
I feared that my friends would stop inviting me out or only find ‘free things’ to do to aid with my ‘situation’. Pitied, attention drawn…it can be embarrassing.
While one friend continued to invite me, another did not.
It hurt when that friend stopped. Did she fear to be misunderstood as offering to ‘spot’ me if she invited me to something she knew I couldn’t afford? I may or may have not accepted or assumed, but her ‘change’ certainly made me wonder if she was selfish. After all, she lives in a pricy LA crib and earns over six digits.
It turned out that her ‘change’ was consistent to her priorities. I just didn’t notice before…Her kitchen drawers flooded with plastic silverware kept from takeouts to save every penny possible for Instagram OPPS of pricy outings.
To her, it didn’t seem as if I could keep up with her for now.
I learned that if any friendships changed for the worst, neither persons must have really understood each other to begin with, as you get to choose your friends.
With Your Family
You can’t choose or it’s not easy to. And the questions and understandings become different with money — How will they support you when it gets hard?
Once my family heard my new path, they were ‘classically supportive’. Cheering from afar like at a game, but never witnessing the practices. Classic. As average advocates for the arts, they didn’t know it was just the beginning.
But as I started to struggle with money, they joined behind the scenes. With money, or advice on living on a low budget, or with their ears. I was thankful.
One of my sisters closed her cheering arms. Or literally, her doors…
My landlord wanted her boyfriend and friend to move in to start a trucking company at her house…You can only imagine what this neighborhood must have been like. But hey, it was really cheap rent! And soon I had to move out.
I asked my sister if I could stay with her for a short while. It was a “No”. It was too much of a risk for her. If accommodation was now, would money be next?She hoped a closed door would urge me to reconsider my life and lifestyle.
Talk about tough love.
The next two nights I used the little money I had left for hotel rooms, and the third night on I slept in my car. Two weeks after, as planned, I moved.
I learned that some people think that money is the only form of support.
With Your Boss
In freelance, the client’s ability to abuse power is just as great. And money can play just as big of a factor in this type of relationship, and a dangerous one.
One of my projects, I was hired on by a producer to work on his indie-feature documentary as a director. At first, the working relationship was great.
But his agenda became clear after he booked our flights to Japan for the doc — He shared his feelings for me. I rejected him carefully, but his ego was hurt. And relentless. He tried tactics afters tactic to get my obedience…
Reminding me that he was advancing my career and it could change anytime.
But I stayed grounded throughout. But he tried once more in Japan.
It was just me and my friend traveling with him. No longer willing to travel with him by myself, I’d convinced him to let her tag along as “free extra help!”…He also liked the idea of two women traveling and staying with him.
But he soon saw my friend as ‘cock blocking’.
His next tactic was money…my seemingly biggest weakness.
Claiming she had an “attitude”, he told me she must find her own accommodation for the next city, leaving him alone with me. He seemed confident, as how could I afford my own stay and finish without him?
But that wasn’t the case.
My friend found us a place within 5 minutes with a lovely couple met through mutual friends that was cheap and safe. And we continued on without him.
I learned that the right people to work under are those that do not show signs of ever needing to exert authority over another. If they ever did, then it’s not a real working relationship to begin with as character speaks volume.
Money by any other name will still show your boundaries with it, with everything and everyone else… it’s just like any other relationship.
With Money, I learned that I don’t like being broke. Who does? It can be humiliating when you start noticing that others notice your struggle.
But my boundaries didn’t stop from pride, for I still continued.
When things got hard with Money, I realized who I want to see most at the finish line…the people to prove wrong and the people to thank for believing.
And when that ‘finish line’ seemed in jeopardy, I realized my true limitations. I’d never compromise my ethics. Why on earth would I ever abandon a friend?
It’d be interesting to see how you saw yourself and others with Money…
Originally published at medium.com on December 3, 2017.