Here we go. It is starting….
What does that mean? Well, read on… This story started about two weeks ago, when I was feeling stuck and thinking about the future.
Things hadn’t been very great. I felt trapped without a car to go anywhere and without enough money to buy a reliable one. I was saving, but I was also fighting with my mother. A lot. I felt like I was spiraling deeper and deeper into an abyss, and when I finally hit the bottom, it was going to hurt. I needed to get out of my head.
So, I asked a friend in L.A. to talk to me about rent down there.
Ohhhh man. It was depressing. Rent was even more expensive than Honolulu. Listings were everywhere for one room in a 4br apartment, asking for $1200 or more. But it’s not like jobs paid enough to afford even that for most people. I have no idea how people live there. Look at all of the controversy with Disney lately, and how 2/3 of their employees have been homeless at one time or another while working for them.
I. don’t. want. to. struggle. anymore.
Society is set up to make people struggle unless they’re fortunate enough to have other or have had other resources. Being born into money means a lot. A supportive family means a lot. A good environment means a lot. So do so, so many other things. I could go on forever, and I’m not even a poc, and I am lgbt, but I’m the most “acceptable” kind (a lesbian who is tall and thin and white and feminine and likes feminine girls, aka easily fetishized by men). If I’m looking around and finding it hard, imagine how hard it is for people who don’t even have the things that let me hide.
I was making way above minimum wage in Hawaii. I had a decent job in the arts. But, look, I could barely afford my rent (abt $1000 for half of a 2br apt, it used to be less but it’s a long story), and usually couldn’t afford food. I was drowning in debt that I literally couldn’t pay for because I really needed food first and there wasn’t even enough for that. I mean, I was spending 50-60 hours/week at my job and was miserable (my relationship had something do with that, tbh, but it wasn’t all of the reason). I couldn’t make any progress toward a future and a career that I actually wanted. I couldn’t find the energy to lift myself out of bed and draw, or find my lost spark.
So, I decided to leave. Besides, the island was too small, so I would have had to fly to go explore, something that I didn’t think would be an issue, but it was. So, I took everything I had and I left to the only place that I could breathe: mom’s house in SmallTown, Washington.
Only, I couldn’t breathe. My expenses went down, but I was trapped again. I missed Japan’s wonderful transportation system because here, cars were expensive and jobs paid next to nothing. Also, SmallTown. There were no jobs in the art sector that paid anything. There were almost NO full time jobs. I took a part time job in a printmaking store until I could find something better. I ended up finding a temporary part-time job a few months later doing design, writing, and coding for the nearby community college. It was a better opportunity, though not perfect, so I took it and this week is my final week there. I still didn’t have a car.
So, I was sitting there, researching my future in L.A. It was slow going and I was miserable where I was, but I thought that if I was prepared, at least that would give me concrete goals to shoot for.
Mmmm, so if I had a decent car (one that runs, has a/c and passes the emissions test, I wasn’t being too picky), and $10k in the bank, then it would be okay yeah? Everything would be okay, right? But at this rate, with less than $2k in the bank, I felt overwhelmed. How was I supposed to save up so much when I could barely get out of bed sometimes to go to jobs that just made me feel like I was wasting precious time, the only thing that I really had?
I just need a break. I need a fu*ing break, or I’m going to break. My soul is in pieces and splintering even more, I thought.
And that’s what did it. Suddenly, my gears shifted.
What if I find the cheapest place in the US and move there, prepay for a year’s rent, and just take the year off?
What if I take that whole year and just work on what matters to me? My art. My comic. Heal my freaking soul?
I felt instantly lighter.
I can’t explain it, but I knew I was on the right track… And then things got even crazier. I suddenly came up with a new plan. Oh, and I saw an old, sunny yellow car, that was made in ’99, the year that I first moved out of my parents’ house. It was fate, and I could barely afford what they were asking. So I bought it.
And the world opened up before me. I’m going to post about my plans, and my ideas tomorrow. Please come back and tell me what you think of it! Real life is just about to start. Finally. Until then, look at my little baby: