In January of 2014, I was completely broke.
I was living in a travel trailer parked in my grandma’s yard.
I had a spreadsheet that listed out the trips I needed to make for custody exchanges with my ex-husband. I knew the mileage I got on my car and I had to make sure I was going to have enough gas money to get back and forth. And to my part-time job, and to the store.
And trips to the store were humiliating. Waiting in line with the obvious WIC staples on the belt. Especially if I had accidentally grabbed an item that wasn’t WIC-approved. Then I’d have to wait while the checker called someone to trade the item, all while people in line behind me glared.
I wonder if they thought because I had a smart phone I shouldn’t be getting welfare. If only they knew that I had been stranded without a smart phone before. Literally lost and looking for directions to houses I was going to while slinging life insurance policies.
The tipping point was when I had to reach out to a family member for money. Because when I looked at the spreadsheet, I knew I didn’t have enough for gas AND pull-ups and toothpaste for my 3 year old son.
In that moment, I decided not to be broke anymore. I picked back up the idea of virtual assisting I had started a year before, and I emailed two authors I admired.
One of whom could not afford to hire me. The other said she had just hired someone but would let me know if it didn’t work out. I followed up with her, and within 2 months, I was making enough working for her to have some financial stability.
I took that seed and watered it. I did everything I could to make my client’s business better. And I took on more clients to grow my income so that I could start to build a new life for myself and my precious boy.
Then I was hired (and fired) for a more full-time (online) gig. Then I did some copywriting. Then I rebooted my assisting biz.
In July I lost my health insurance. Then Grandma decided to move. And in August my car got stolen. So I bought health insurance, grandma’s house, and a new car.
Still not broke.
Still paying my bills.
Today, I’m working and writing from my bed, because I’m freaking exhausted.
But when I get to wake up most mornings on my terms, with my son – it’s worth it. When I get to choose whether I’m the one to take him to and from school – it’s worth it. When I get to help out and pour fruit punch for kindergarteners – it’s worth it.
I’ll try to remind myself of that next time I’m feeling like this life is anything short of miraculous.