I haven’t spoken to the bitch in almost three years.
I’m talking about my mother – but I’m already getting ahead of myself. Let me explain.
See the term ‘poor’ has no bearing on a kid. You see the signs, live them, hear the grievances of your struggling single mother, but don’t accept the situation as anything but the norm.
As a kid you can’t understand why you’ve gone to school without breakfast. Why you’re wearing school clothes on weekends. Or why Christmas came in a cardboard box, delivered by a few strangers at the back of some musty church – a place you’d never been, never go, and never return to on any other day of the year.
For a kid, there’s no blame or recognition; just the mute acceptance of how it all is.
I remember my mother counting on the lotto at least once a month. A bill would come in, some standard expense, and she’d calculate its payment terms in line with the date she intended on collecting her winnings.
To her, financial freedom was inheritance, the lottery, or some other form of sheer good luck that would impose its will on our future and deliver a sum of cash.
That sum came, ironically, in the form of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars – compensation, garnished by my mother on my behalf after a car accident delivered me to the doorways of death, at only fourteen.
For me, the cash was revenue paid on a nil balance account; a six figured cheque ignoring entirely that accidents were a way of life. For my mother, this was the dream she’d been hoping for. That golden pot at the end of the rainbow that’d sooth all her worries, deliver all her dreams, and rewrite the mistakes of the past which had carved her financial woes in the first place.
That it should come at the expense of my health simply didn’t factor in.
That it should cost us our relationship was beside the point.
By the time I reached eighteen, I’d watched my mother spend every cent of my compensation, not on investments or bailing out of her increasing debts, but squandered on nic-nacs, holidays and temporary fixes, burning through the six-figured sum as if it would last forever.
Four years, one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and only bitterness and loathing to show for it.
Her failings though were not lost on me. I learned two lessons: money is the greatest test of morality there is. And also that no amount of money, no matter how large or how small, can withstand the onslaught of mindless spending.
By the time I hit my twenties, my severed relationship behind me, I began searching, seeking out the difference that cast certain men as homeless, others as titans.
I wanted to know, needed to know, whatever error in judgement had left my mother addicted to small, disposable sums, in order to prevent the same fate from happening to me; the same future from happening to my future children.
It didn’t take long to discover the root – that the value one imposed on one’s life was inexplicably intertwined with the philosophy one had to a dollar.
What has money done for me? It showed me the bottoms of the earth, hinted at the top, than provided me with the scale on which to test myself, to prove myself, demanding I grow at each instant, react and improve, until I’ve achieved a place at the top, amongst the kings of men who’ve claimed financial freedom. People who took hold of their own destiny.
Now I may still be some way off. But as I increase my financial education, increase my Mojo, and strive to be just a little bit better each and every day, I know I’ve learned to stand on my own two feet.
I’ve learned to tread my own path.
(This was an email I received, and I really did hire him).