8 blessings of being broke.

we all go through it. we’ve all tasted the salt of the rain on our tongue before. we’ve all been tempted like water with cereal or sleep for dinner. when we don’t have the number for Privilege on speed dial to bail us out or the moment of adultisms bulldozing down our adolescent picture-framed walls, it’s all the same, fiery trespasser. an old ass, misery loves company biddie named BROKE.

CHIIIILD. having NO money. BROKE. B-R-O-K-E. walking around with no fill for a few weeks broke. bills stacking up and not knowing when they’ll be taken care of broke. no line up for months broke.calling second, third, fourth, fifth, seventeenth cousins because you done asked everyone else broke. why did my mom send me a groupon gift card when i told her i needed money for a metrocard? broke.

if you’ve been here before, you might empathize with the feelings of sadness, being overwhelmed and stuck, lost. others it may feel like an end-all-be-all, being bound by circumstance and not able to fly. when you’re in the abyss without a metrocard swipe to get out, it can becoming overwhelmingly blinding. money isn’t everything but it does keep the electricity on. although, there’s always light in darkness.

i’m coming out of (still sort of in the midst of) a period of not being able to rub two nickels together. coming right out of college without a secured full-time job, one realizes the tenacity it takes to survive in the city without the safety net of mom and pops. (don’t get me started on the lack of jobs for graduates. this is a whole other conversation. stay tuned!) here are a few things i was able to pull from my dry(wallet) spell. they’re certainly not in order and they certainly are all related to one another. they’re all blessings nonetheless:

 

 

  • newfound knowledge. 
    okay, this is pretty broad and kind of like a “duh” bullet point. through any experience, you’re going to have knowledge coming out of it, right? wrong. sometimes you might be passing through the experience without your conscious cap on, not paying attention to the signs or the scenic route. during your journey, there are lessons to be learned and notes to be taken. there’s a story being written and a story to be told for others to learn from as well. what is knowledge unless it’s being shared? during your broke-ass-ness, you’re creating an experience for yourself, picking the apples on the trees, and hopefully, afterwards, making pies for the community to eat. 
  • a sense of resourcefulness. 
    historically, the etymology of the term “ghetto” truly has nothing to do with the way in which it’s used today. (that’s another conversation over tea.) but, the people who are coined this term are usually products of the african diaspora, confined in areas of extremely-low poverty and lack of resources. when you are without, you make a means with what you have. sure, we laugh and see stereotypical photos of our brothers and sisters looking crazy, but when you take a step outside of your messy self, you realize these people are working with what they have and what they can afford. they are creative. when you are in a situation of not knowing where your next dollar is coming from, you get your creative juices flowing. you think in ways you wouldn’t believe- fitting pieces of the puzzle that didn’t fit there before. you learn how to live without. [which brings me to my next bullet…]
  • a sense of what truly matters. 
    there are success stories we read constantly about people on top and where they were before. fetty wap & monty were living in their cars, madonna was living on popcorn (how nutritional), vincent van gogh only sold one painting ever. in his whole life. and he created more than 900 works of art. (bruh.) jean-michel basquiat lived in a cardboard box. in the times of being without, the idle time can reveal what is important and what the extras are. you won’t allow yourself to be distracted with this or that because you’re worried about your next dollar. you’re worried about getting to your goal. things that once occupied your time (and money) are now obsolete. you realize. with real eyes. [which brings me to my next bullet…]
  • you find your eyes. 
    meaning, you begin to possess a vision. without the privileged distractions that come with monetary benefit, like partying every weekend, excessive material items, the comfort and idle time that comes with a cushioned bank account, your perspective doesn’t have much left to be blinded by. you find your eyes with knowing what truly matters. you begin to perceive with your mind. there is clarity about things that might have been fuzzy before. without a job, now you have time to work on what it is you really want for yourself. you know what matters now. what are your goals? what is your dream? you now have all the time to make that dream a reality. 
  • you become rich in spirit. 
    in your brokeass-ness state, you are vulnerable. if you like it or not. it’s a moment when your low self is working towards your high self again, but without the cheat of coins to get you there. i know that when i was broke, my partner was telling me i needed to get into a habit of making myself want to be better. this is where rituals come in. you get in the habit of doing things that keep your mind, body, and spirit renewed. daily. because that job search and that hustle will weigh on you. daily. you begin to implement regimens into your daily routine. when you are without physically, you have to hustle for your inner self. otherwise, there will be no harmony with the external world. simple equation:
    positive daily rituals + healthy thoughts = inner peace = external peace = universe in harmony (aka money coming your way, opportunities arising, etc.) and to think it all began because of your initiative to become rich in a different way. 
  • silence. stillness. harmony. 
    let’s face it. you ain’t got the money to go out. so you’re stuck at home. this is the time to really become one with what’s around you. find the goodness in what you take for granted everyday. you find gold in your solitude. you harmonize with the universe. you breathe deeper, because you have the ability to now. passing moments are now waking moments. in silence there is wisdom. in stillness there is motion. in harmony, there is peace. (i know i just went mad yoko ono on y’all, but it’s true.) be still and reflect in these moments, because they can be a safe haven for you when you become active and things become hectic again. 
  • clarity and humility. 
    my solitude can turn into isolation, sometimes. i know i isolate myself when i don’t feel aligned. during this time of isolation, it’s a time to see who takes the initiative to reach out and check on you. but instead of that cliche cop out, let’s flip this and look at the scenario adhering to the golden rule, “treat others how you’d want to be treated.” you never know what others are going through, and it’s really easy to get caught up in your own world when you’re feeling low and going through things. they say Misery loves Company. try snatching both of their edges off and flipping the script. are you being a good friend despite your situation? are you taking the time to learn (#1!) during your experience and turn it into wisdom? during low times, you gain clarity about yourself in relations to others, in relation to your(self), you learn your worth. it humbles you. yes, you want support during these transition moments; do you support those around you? were you shooting with THEM in the gym? from this, you gain stronger, more meaningful relationships. don’t lose yourself and lose people in the process of being broke. know yourself. 
  • conversations with god. 
    (insert interpretation here.) we all have our ideas about god, but one thing is for sure: you talk to someonewhen you’re low. that positive, higher energy you look to share words with, those intimate dialogues, that mirror speech, those spirit monologues, you begin to find your tongue searching for new ways of expression. there are new languages of “thank you” because gratitude becomes a high, an escape. realization sits on your mind heavy and you know there is more out there for you, it just becomes in which color of wind to call to it. you become rich in spirit and you become fluent in ways of communication with your higher self. take all that stardust and throw it on someone else when they’re going through brokeass-ness, too. (#1). 

 

 

 

footnote/OJ note: a slight moment of realization during writing this piece…there is privilege in even being able to write this post. “i’ve never been poor, only broke. being poor is a frame of mind; being broke is only a temporary situation.” - Mike Todd

i know there are people in the world WITHOUT. i have the blessing of being able to get out of the struggle and share light on it. i pray that you keep others in your mind when thinking about your situation. there are others out there with nothing. please give/help when and where you can, and share this message. love and light, y’all.