Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I can hear my wallet crying.

I'll admit it. I have a spending problem. Although spending isn't necessarily a problem unless you are like me, and don't have much to spend. Somehow that doesn't stop me.

Over the past 18 years, I have accrued a significant amount of debt. I remember how it all started. It was my first semester at St. Johns University. I walked around campus with my hands surgically attached to my backpack straps, holding on for dear life. New situations have a way of making me feel completely out of control.

It was the second week of classes. I was just starting to get my footing. Navigating from building to building silently rehearsing directions to my classes from memory. That day, a man dressed for a wedding greeted me at the door to my sociology class. He extended his hand, and politely, I declined, turning my body sideways to avoid confrontation. He persisted.

Never in my life had I encountered a credit card salesman. Seemingly altruistic out for you best interest , they reach to snatch your existence straight through the doe eye windows of your soul. I'm not exaggerating. It was weird, the idea of someone begging me to borrow their money. Shit, I had a hard time getting 20 bucks from my dad for gas that day.

Credit card sharks are like trained fighters. They study their opponents and learn their weaknesses just enough to catch them in most vulnerable moments followed by the sweet taste of victory. Fucking splendid.

So I signed by the x , waited while my palms sweat for a few minutes, and boom. Like magic I was ushered into the world of plastic debt.

I consider myself lucky to have a supportive father. One who has all the years taken the brunt of my financial impulsivity. I don't know that he completely understands its not on purpose, and the components of OCD, depression and impulse spending and how they fuel eachother, but neither did I until recently. As I learn more about Aspergers, I start to understand things about my past. Things that I have punished myself for repeatedly without understanding why it was happening and the real way to get it under control.

Truth is, I have never been good with money for as long as I can remember. Spend it as I get it was my motto. Even as an adult, I find myself in the same situation, only now, I understand better why I do it.

My inclination towards spending has more to do with the impulsivity that comes along with Aspergers. Let me just say right here though, I am in no way shape or form making excuses for my behaviors. I am simply stating that I am day by day obtaining a better understanding of what's really going on in my brain, and with that info, hoping to take steps in which to improve.

I have Aspergers. I am not Aspergers. I am Emily. As a decent , moral educated human being, I am seeking to better myself every day. The first step in doing so, is acknowledging your downfalls. Shit happens. I forgive myself. You gotta forgive yourself. Its how we move forward.

This is how I look at it. I was born with a predisposition to be more vulnerable to certain aspects in my surroundings. Kind of like a fair skin person is more likely to burn in the sun, and they need to take precautions to find the best methods of protection for their skin. I have to protect myself from situations that would encourage unnecessary spending. For me, staying busy is key. The times I find myself in holes are when I have too much free time. I become easily anxious, depressed, feel lost and need something to hang on to, kinda like my backpack straps that day at St Johns University.

More than anything, I want to be financially independent. I want to own a home. My whole life I have felt like everything around me was borrowed, even time. I just want to know what it feels like to have something that's just mine. I yearn for a sense of permanence and accomplishment. I use this as my driving force to stay focused. This is my backpack straps.

I'm 36. I still have time to make this happen. Not all at once, but bit by bit. For now, keeping myself focused and busy is the best way I know how to do this. In time, I will get better at mastering myself and I imagine I continue taking the necessary steps towards my dreams of accomplishment. Stay Weird.

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