My First Time Stories # 5

Finance

I had been dancing for about a year.  I remember the apartment I was living in because I was so happy that I had it decorated with floor pillows, scented candles galore and African inspired carvings and patterned cloths.  The browns, oranges and creams created a soothing vibe to me.  One of my best friends had done a spiritual cleaning of the space as a house-warming gift.  I always felt at peace when I came home.

Well, not initially.  It was my first apartment of out college.  So, when I first got out into the “real world”, making a living was a bit of a challenge.  I was spinning my wheels working many jobs that barely earned me enough to cover all of my expenses.  Sometimes, I’d have to skip meals to make sure a bill was paid.  That was a very stress filled time.

However, the time I’m remembering now is after I had worked for about a year as a dancer.  I was working full-time which meant five nights a week minimum.  I’d been schooled by a beautiful brown skin German sister that I should treat dancing like any other job.  Be about customer service.  Remember the people who I sat with regularly.  Invest my money.  Read about financial markets, etc.  I have to admit, reading about financial markets didn’t lead me to understanding them any better.  I did however, know from talking to this woman that I was going to try to be as smart as I could about this.

Finance - Financial injection - Finance

Finance – Financial injection – Finance (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I would pay my bills and save money every month.  I would listen quietly to the conversations in the dressing room at work from the other dancers about getting this designer item as soon as it came out.  I had no clue what they were talking about most of the time.  I am not into designer labels nor am I a gadget freak.  I felt no need to be the first to get…  things and stuff.  It was of no value or priority to me to own high ticket price items.

I had another conversation with an older sister friend who was a freelancer.  She gave me a serious speech one day about the need for women especially to have retirement savings and invest their money.  She had no clue that I was dancing.  I didn’t tell anyone.  But I wrote down the words Roth IRA and IRA so that I could look them up later.  I didn’t do anything with that information right away but I knew I wanted to remember it.  I am thankful to both these women for setting me down a positive financial road.

I had no clue how to invest money or what IRA’s were.  However, it dawned on me that this was the first time in my life that I was actually financially free.  My earning far surpassed my living expenses.  It was such a peaceful feeling.  I remember the ease of seeing a bill come in the mail and paying it the next day without a second thought.  I remember thinking about how happy I was that the days I had spent crying on my bed because I didn’t have enough money to get on the subway and back home were over.

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

I think about this today because I am going through a time much different from that.  Since not being a full-time dancer anymore, the financial freedom ebbs and flows.  Having had the experience keeps me striving towards it despite the ups and downs of an artist life.  I have created times of financial freedom for myself in different ways since leaving dancing.  I did also eventually heed to the ladies advice before I left that world.  The tide is temporarily out now.  I have been having several days filled with self-doubt and disappointment.  However, having first had the experience at all helps me to remind myself that financial freedom is indeed possible for me even if I am starting from point A.

The end of my first year of dancing was the first time I proved to myself that something could be made even when starting from absolutely nothing at all.

2 thoughts on “My First Time Stories # 5

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