When you feel like a camel with one too many straws on your back

Subtitle: Why budgets are important
You budgeted x amount cash for the St. Mary’s Polish Fair because it’s a family activity that you attend every year.
You spend y amount more than x on your debit card because food was more expensive than you planned for, and it’s okay, because you have enough to cover it in your account that wasn’t already earmarked for bills. Yay! You were able to do a thing with your family that you have looked forward to for months and it was a beautiful, wonderful day.
So you go about your life as normal until you receive a phone call from your apartment’s management office on rent day to let you know that your automatic withdrawal for the rent was unable to go through because of insufficient funds.
You are defensive because that isn’t possible under your budget, unless you somehow fucked up and your checking was overdrawn, causing the credit union to move money from your savings to your checking (and since you’re living paycheck to paycheck you only had rent +$25 in your savings to begin with).
Except it was possible, and you begin to panic at how much damage you may be facing.
When you log-in to your account and scroll through the myriad numbers your error comes to light and you remember that two weeks ago, you paid a medical bill by phone after receiving a collections call.
You also recall that you got interrupted on said call and had to leave the classroom, so that you forgot what you were doing. When you came back you neglected to move your paper notes into your electronic spreadsheet where you carefully monitor all of your bills and budget. You made a mistake, like all humans do, but this one cost you at a time when “one more thing” is one thing too many.
You are now z amount over budget: $4 in  instant transfer fees to cover the checking overdraft which auto-pulled from your savings, $30 auto-withdrawn in overdraft fees when the rent tried to pull from savings and there wasn’t enough there to cover it, owe $40 for NSF to the rental company, along with a $30 late rent fee, which they “may waive” if I can get them a “secured form of payment” (meaning bank check or money order) by 5pm today (which I cannot because of work commitments and an inability to prestidigitate money until my payroll hits tomorrow morning).
You begin mentally kicking yourself in the ass, beating yourself up over and over and over again, because that $30 bill, when unaccounted for, has cost you and your family over $100 in fees that aren’t in your budget, which will now have to come out of your grocery and gas money.
You try so hard not to compare yourself to others, but you see those around you succeeding and moving up in the world and you are doing everything in your power to do the same for yourself and your family but every little setback, every mistake, costs more and more time and money that you do not have.
You fall apart at your desk, in your classroom, with the door closed. It isn’t that you are embarrassed to be seen crying, but you question your ability to adequately answer questions about “what’s wrong?” without collapsing into more burning tears of shame and the accompanying spiral of depression.

Ultimately, you end up writing about it for nearly thirty minutes of your prep time because you still have to teach, and you cannot carry so much anger and resentment with you until 3:30pm. You put some music on. You stretch. You wipe your face with a baby wipe and walk around the room for a few minutes. You practice all the positive self-talk that you can muster given how shitty you currently feel.

“You can get through this.”

“You have been through worse than this.”
“You will get a pay raise in September with the start of the new school year and hopefully things will be better by then.”
“You have a healthy family and health insurance.”
“You have family and friends that love you.”
“If you are really hurting you do have at least one person you can ask for help.”
“You are not a failure.”

But that last one causes you to break into tears again. Because no matter how much you have in intangible wealth, or how many good deeds you have accomplished, you are still {pinches fingers} that close to losing what little stability (a roof over our heads) you have, and it terrifies you.

You dry your tears again, stretch one more time, and get back to work. What else is there to do when you’re a camel?


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