Oh No! I Have to Deal with Money Again – and Again and Again and Again

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It’s really hard for me to do anything related to money. I guess it is getting easier because I no longer have full-fledged panic attacks but it still makes my stomach churn and tempts me to procrastinate for a year or two. Although I know I have to do certain things each month, I forget how to do a lot of them and have to figure it out all over again.

I wish I never had to deal with money, like the Queen of England. She doesn’t carry any, ever. What a lucky duck! But perhaps she feels inadequate because she doesn’t know how to buy eggs or veggies or take a taxi. If so, I hope she has come to terms with her neurotic attitude toward money in the last seventy years. I know I haven’t by any means.

One of the major reasons I have such trouble is that my cult role was supposed to be managing the group’s finances. From an early age I was taught each of the functions of a well-run office and later I was taught to supervise others, to be an office manager. It’s not very glamorous but it’s important. Somebody has to do the grunt work and keep things running smoothly.

In a cult, nobody can do anything right, of course, which engenders tremendous anxiety. If there was no animal for a sacrifice, if the books didn’t balance, if somebody got short changed, there was hell to pay. Every now and then I was rewarded, which kept me doggedly pushing through the anxiety, hoping they would notice what a good job I was doing.

I was used in child porn, but I didn’t realize right away that people were getting paid for my performances. I remember my father showing me a thousand dollar bill (in the late forties!) and telling me to look at it closely, as I would never see another one. For once, he was right. Earning money this way, even if it went to others, made money seem shameful and dirty, something I wanted nothing to do with. There’s no pleasure in paying bills or buying something nice for myself with that attitude.

Another thing that influenced me profoundly was that I was taught that I could not take care of myself, and that I would always need my parents to support me and the cult to guide me. So there is a strange mixture of feeling both competent and incompetent. I was a great office manager, but I could only use it in service of the cult. I was not given the opportunity to work, and my very first job, baby sitting, was in my twenties, when I was three thousand miles away from my parents. A couple of times in college I lined something up and then cancelled at the last minute.

They didn’t mind if I worked, they just minded terribly if I worked for money. This explains all the volunteering I do. I get challenged and I get the pleasure of doing something well, but I don’t get a dime. It’s nice being retired now, knowing that I have a reason for not having a job that is acceptable both to society and to myself

Well, obviously, I managed despite all this. My husband did well and there were a few years when I actually supported myself. For a while, my paid job actually entailed keeping the company books. I used what they taught me for good, and, if they knew, I bet they were pissed. Their problem, not mine.

So here I am after all these years, still dreading paying the bills. Still scared to learn my credit rating. Scared of the checkbook, even though I decorated it with puffy animal stickers, still scared of envelops and stamps, still scared of the post office box. Still terrified of doing my taxes. But most important, still acting responsibly, paying my bills, month after month, still handling money almost every week for gas and groceries and other things.

And that’s reason to stand tall.


Upcoming Holidays

7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon
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Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
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