My horse Willow is moving from one boarding facility to another, and that coupled with my parents’ vacation last week made me consider my finances. I spent today planning out my bills and spending through March, and made the stressful decision to withdraw my retirement. I’m not yet ready to think about retiring, and I don’t think I’ll ever have the luxury to be honest. I need to make sure I stay in good standing now in order to be in great standing later on down the road.
Money is a very stressful subject with me. It makes me think of our government, the economy, of everything. It makes me want to burn down society as it is and rebuild it differently. I was just talking to one of my new coworkers today about how in the 1950s and 60s, a man could work and support a family. Now, there’s no room for a stay at home parent. Every adult must work to survive and if they can’t, they’d better find a way to earn. On top of that, the minimum wage hasn’t changed for decades while the price of everything else has skyrocketed. I think my family expected me to become more conservative by working in the blue-collar department. If anything, I’ve become more of a tribal anarchist. I used to say I was a communist. The associations with that word (i.e. the USSR and the Killing Fields) drives me away from the belief system despite its origins being far from those specific events in history. I wish I could identify as a socialist, but that term has similar negative associations. It’s hard to tell people over and over, “I believe in this, but not what people have done with it.” It’s why I stopped identifying as a Christian even though I do believe in God. I don’t want to constantly say, “Yes, I believe in God but I don’t believe the Bible is His word, it’s man’s.” It’s the same with communism, I believe in what Marx originally proposed but not what the word has come to mean today. I can at least say I’m anti-capitalist. Capitalism is a system that only works for those who have capital. If you have no capital, you have no worth. If you have no worth, you starve. You thirst. You suffer, and people put spikes on the ground to keep you from resting your aching body somewhere. You earn, or die.
I have a friend who’s seen the worst of being poor, Meg. I love Meg, we’ve had some fantastic discussions because I’m on the far left and she’s somewhere in the moderate. She once would have been conservative. But Meg said something amazing I liked pondering. Music and media today would not exist as it is if it weren’t for capitalism. She’s right. Big industries made things that are popular today popular. Money makes the hit movies, hit songs, hit albums. The Oscars are defined wholly by who shells out the money to win the favor, to win the views. If it weren’t for capitalism, we wouldn’t have all of that. But there’s one thing I disagree with.
I can’t remember who the YouTuber is, but he said that the most unrealistic thing about The Walking Dead series is the lack of art. The lack of creativity. The lack of people daring to hope in the darkest of times. You don’t need to be in a capitalist society to have art of any kind. Art persists in spite of capital. That alone helps me continue to create art even at my most broke. I may never be a bestseller, but knowing what I’m capable of spinning, what I’m capable of making, makes me feel like I’m worth more than the dollars I make per hour. I’m not sure I have made my point clear, but talking about this helps me reconcile my anxiety about my worth.