I stopped laughing a long time ago.
This was previously posted on Medium.
Remember that time…
Remember when I wrote My Appendage and the second header was how being broke wasn’t funny anymore?
Some of you might have been thinking, why is this person making jokes about being broke? How is being broke funny?
Well, let me tell you a simple yet complex story. It all started with a look at my finely screwed up credit report.
It was labeled as such: 300/450/350. If you know anything about credit score numbers, you know these numbers are not good. Those numbers are just rounded figures, but are fairly accurate, and when I checked those numbers around the ripe age of 30 something, I was determined to change my life.
See, I was on top of it. I took a class in college and I knew everything.
Well, I did, and I do.
Ask me anything. I probably have an answer.
I could tell you anything you want on the aspects of credit. I can tell you how it works. I can tell you how to fix it. I can even tell you what your numbers mean. I can teach you how to dispute items, like a fake name, accounts, or even an address. I know credit.
And this, my fellow readers, is why my debt is funny, but only slightly funny, like when your estranged uncle weaseled his way back into family gatherings, and the first joke he tells everyone gets, but no one wants to acknowledge. So everyone just fake smiles and tells him how funny he is or they don’t and solemnly shake their head in disapproval.
So on this day, back when I was eager and ready, I looked at my credit and saw some very inaccurate things. I get them fixed. I wait a while and decide my credit might be good enough to purchase a car with an actual bumper or windows that go up and down – something reliable and nice.
But first, I need credit
So I get a credit card. Very small balance of 300. I buy stuff, pay it off. I’m exceptionally good at this back and forth business. Then I get a secured card. I need a few lines of credit before the car purchase. I do the same, buy stuff, pay it off. (This account is paid and closed, thank god.)
Finally, after a year or so of excellent payment history, a stable address, a stable job, a stable me, I go to the dealer and get a car after a hefty 2,000 down payment and a loan officer who probably fudged some numbers somewhere.
I’m in. I’m fucking in and it’s beautiful. After 10 years of trying to adult, I finally figure it out. Buy stuff, pay it off, repeat. Look at me go.
And look at me crash.
I’m an adult!
So I did all this good adulting crap for a while. Then I moved to Florida and got a job that paid me more money than I’ve ever made. I could afford a lot of unnecessary shit. And when your credit is getting better by the minute and you’re on a roll of buying unnecessary shit, you feel pretty damn confident. So you get another credit card.
This time it was Victoria’s Secret card. I, once again, had a modest balance of 350. Which I thought was pretty damn amazing.
I did so well with this card that they gave me more money on a regular basis. So much that the balance became a little out of control for someone who had it all together.
But I wasn’t thinking clearly. In fact, I’m not sure I was thinking at all. Because all that perfume, bags, bras, and panties were sitting real pretty in my new apartment. All my stuff was. I’m 30 something and this is it. I’m a damn adult!
But I don’t think I saw this coming.
It started to fall apart.
Things were a little shaky on the home front. My then husband lost his job. He was making a little over 1500 a week. I was making 3200 a month. We were okay. We were so okay that we didn’t plan for when it wouldn’t be okay. No one warned me for the ugly parts. We lost his income, and soon, I started to rely on my no-brain way to pay for groceries and pay bills- get another credit card.
This time, I was approved for $2,500.
My head spun with excitement. My limbic system must have exploded. But somewhere inside, the small voice who needs a megaphone, you know the one, was screaming, “you can’t pay that balance! The interest and the fees will drown you!”
At that moment, every card, (I had three at the time), was raising my limits. Limits that would eventually drown me.
Seems like I may have heard that from someone…?
Thank you for reading part 2 of My Appendage. If you missed part 1, you can read it below. Follow along on my ever growing debt story. My Appendage
A side note: I call my debt my appendage because it grew and attached itself to me, like a disgusting boil that is somehow now a freakishly small arm. It’s on my side, poking out of my ribs.