Friday, September 11, 2009

A new low?

For some reason, I've never really had a lot of money for a consistently long period of time. It feels like I've always been struggling financially for as long as I've been working. There are, of course, many reasons for this.

Louise Hay (self-help guru) says that we only get as much money/love/success as we feel we deserve. By that equation, I must have really felt I deserved a lot of money in 2008. Then in 2009 I must have rethought the pedestal I'd put myself on and returned to the familiar feeling of poverty. Have to admit, it does feel like home.

The other reason could be my brave-but-stupid insistence on being a freelance writer. Sounded glamorous at the time (still does unfortunately) - 'I can't do a 9 to 5', 'I can't have people telling me when to start working and when to finish it, watching my every move, making me do 3 people's work at the salary of half a person's', 'I need to be able to take off whenever I want...go wander...get lost somewhere...sigh..'
I wish I'd had the foresight to understand that I'm not one of those people who knows how to market herself. And since there's no money coming in, I can't afford to go wander and get lost somewhere anyway...

Of course, then there's the forces of nature, by which I mean the blood-sucking TV producers who will use any and every excuse to cut corners on your penny. I remember this one time (not in band camp) when a producer who owed me money said he'd diverted it to an alcoholic editor because he needed it more ('wife and family - you understand'). I was only 20 then and actually accepted his sorry-assed excuse. I felt guilty for having non-alcoholic parents & an air-conditioned home to go back to.
I also know (& trust me, I've often agonized if I'm being too paranoid) that many times I've not been paid as much or as frequently as my male counterparts. Perhaps, because of the same subconscious notion that I don't need the money. Perhaps for their own twisted reasons. All this has made me distance myself from the rogue-producers...unfortunately it leaves very few names in the hat for me to go after...

This morning, I hit a new low. A client of mine (someone who routinely asks me to do little bits of inconsequential work) asked me if I wanted to tramp two hours away from home in the rain to come meet him for lunch and discuss a project. I wrote him an absolutely pathetic, bottom-of-the-barrel email telling him that I couldn't afford an autorickshaw to his place so could we please meet halfway? I felt sick to my stomach doing it, especially since I'm not that poor yet. I remembered all those times I swore to myself that I would insist on being paid, NOT because I needed the money but because I'd earned it. It was such a betrayal of myself, I can't tell you how awful it felt.

But here's the thing: his assistant called me up within 20 minutes of recieving the email, to ask for my account number. Turns out boss man wanted to clear all my past dues. Yes, it still makes me sick to my stomach, but you know what? I now have money to see me through October...

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