The exquisite liberation of being really, really poor.

Today I got a letter in the mail that the City of Los Angeles is charging me $604 in taxes for “operating a business without a certificate.” I promptly called to clear it up and was informed that an independent contractor (I file all 1099s) is considered a “business” in L.A., and yes I’d have to pay the $604.

This is in addition to the $573 I have to pay on my tax return (majority of which is H&R Block fees), the $220 I owe to Kaiser for a trip to the emergency room last week, $700 in rent, $111 to the Dept. of Water and Power, $59 for missing a toll driving the wrong way on the freeway, an additional $59 for driving back through the toll once I was heading in the right direction, my cell phone bill, three credit card payments, and two student loan payments.

These bills were all due by March 22. It is now March 25.

And I have no money. Absolutely none to speak of. Given the nature of L.A. jobs, I’m waiting on several paychecks that the employer has 30+ days to process, despite the fact that I’ve been working all around this damn town.

I know it’s considered bad form to air financial grievances, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not the only one who has fallen on hard times. And to be honest, I think the puke stain that is my current financial situation is funny. Downright hilarious. Because all these companies/institutions want money from me, but they ain’t gonna get it.

And if this is what the dregs looks like, it’s not so bad. I might be using coffee filters for toilet paper and borrowing gas money from my 95 year-old grandmother, but at least I have the filters and the grandma. A lot of people have much less. It’s quite liberating, being at this place. I understand with perfect clarity “When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.” So I just keep on writing. Keep on planning films and projects and photo shoots with Beth. There’s this weight off my shoulders. I can’t go out because I don’t have any money. Can’t go buy food or concert tickets or make-up or anything. Life is very, very simple.

I must admit this financial insecurity has been my life for going on three years, since I kissed my conventional life goodbye for good. But if this is what everyone is so afraid of, being really poor is what everyone shapes their whole life around not being, to the tune of going to school for something they aren’t interested in, then getting a job that bores them, then building an entire life around not losing the illusion of “success” they’ve built…then I want nothing of it.

I might be broke, but when I wake up every day I’m the captain of my own fucking ship.

Bring on the coffee filters.

2 thoughts on “The exquisite liberation of being really, really poor.

  1. erin,
    i just found out about your blog…it’s pretty great.

    i don’t know that you recall who i am, but we took a b&w film photography class together at UNR. i love seeing people pursue their dreams with abandon. absolutely awesome.


  2. May be one of my favorite things I’ve ever read from you. You rock my conventional, stable, bills paid on time or will have a hernia world.

    May be able to come to LA in the next month. If so, I will let you know and will bring some filters/TP.

    I miss the shit out of you.


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