Financial Dependence

As I sit on my deck, delighted to be able to spend the day doing work that holds meaning for me rather than cooped up in a cubicle, I am confronted by my first dilemma.

Where will my next paycheck come from?

The answer, of course, is that there won’t be a next paycheck.Not until I convince some person out in that vast world they call literati that I am worthwhile of a print in their fine magazine or journal.My instinct tells me to go quick and revise that resume, start skimming craigslist for possible positions, and practice my interview delivery.

But I don’t have to do that.Ben makes enough to support us and is willing to be that sole source of income for as long as I want to give this writer’s life a try.It’s a fantastic opportunity for me, I know, but I can’t help but feel that it makes me a lesser partner in the marriage somehow, like I’m not pulling my weight because I’m only microwaving the bacon, not slaughtering the pig.As a fiercely independent woman, willingly choosing to not pay my own way is anathema to my nature.

I know there are many of you out there who do depend on someone else to pay the bills and have for years.How do you deal with it?Do you feel that your non-monetary contributions are enough to balance the scales or have you learned to be at peace with your situation and accept it as a gift?Maybe you haven’t come to terms with it at all.Whatever the case, comments are appreciated!

7 comments for “Financial Dependence

  1. Ann
    February 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I went through similar feelings when I took a year off, but the time you get is a gift and the more you free yourself to it rather than over-thinking the implications, the more productive you will be to do what you need to do – write!

    It is a tremendous gift to have a partner who can support you and is also supportive of what you want to do. Besides, your goal is to have a writing career, not eat bonbons and be fanned by palm fronds. AND, you’ll need to fill some time with procrastination and one way to contribute to the household is taking on the chores (cooking, cleaning, logistics, etc). I don’t say this to put you in a box of domesticity, but it’s as a necessity of life as is making income.

    So try not to dwell too much on whether or not this makes you less independent or less of a contributor, and run with the writing. I wasted too much time thinking about this stuff and not focusing, so my year of writing did not fruition to much. I learned to cook, had a lot of fun, and learned some things about myself, so it wasn’t a total waste.

  2. Ann
    February 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Oh, and one other thing – view your writing as important, value it the way it deserves and needs to be.

  3. Angie Lau
    February 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I think what you have to know in your heart is that you’re not “bumming” off your husband – that you could easily support yourself financially if you chose to. If this is something that he wants to do for you then you’re very blessed because not very many households can afford to do that.

    Call me old fashioned, but I think the husband should be able to support his family on his own. It shows he’d be able to provide for a family even though you don’t plan on having children.

    Having him be the only source of income for you guys doesn’t make you any less independent. =P

  4. Ben
    February 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    This feeling will pass. It takes time, but it will.

    The best way for you to get to a comfort point is to structure yourself as much as possible. Writing, even for yourself, is a job. Treat it that way. Get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and then go to work. Keep a constant workspace. Make sure you sit, uninterrupted, for a long period of time, and write whatever wants to trickle out. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be seen by anyone but yourself. But the act of doing it will get yourself in the right mindset for when the real stuff wants to be written. And you learn from letting yourself write.

    Then, at the end of your shift, walk away. Read a book. Take a walk. Go to a movie. Do whatever you’d normally do when you get out of work.

    Stay positive.


  5. Virginia
    February 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I like Ben’s words.

    I’ve been living off of Tony for two years, and two more to come – but I have always maintained a job on the side while going to school. I like to have my own money in my own account. That way I feel free to do what I want guilt-free (or just treat him to a movie or bojangles… he’s pretty simple like that. 🙂

    But school is work, even tho i pay to be there – and writing is work, even if no one is paying you for it… yet.

    And who knows…. just as I plan to support the family when Tony returns to school full time, I’m sure there will be some kind of trade-off in your future as well!

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