I have lived my entire life being very very stingy. I remember going to the grocery store with my dad and learning to pick the products with the cheapest unit price and the generic knockoff brands.
All of my peers were broke during college, but then after college when my friends were getting salaries and benefits, I stuck around Charlottesville and nannied and waitressed while seeing what would come of this "singer-songwriter thing." I gave myself 2 years, telling myself I loved Charlottesville too much and if I didn't make myself move I'd end up living in one place my whole life and I wanted more experience in the world.
So after 2 years and a cross-country bike trip with Bike & Build, Boulder was calling to me as my next place to live (or Portland...those food trucks :).... but I had relatives in CO) and I packed up my things into my swirly-painted car and drove out here.
Now I live in a mobile home with 3 roommates. I don't eat out much, or even buy groceries. I clean at the yoga studio to be able to afford it and buy all of my clothes secondhand. I have a huge crack in my guitar that I gig with and after having it quoted at $200 to fix it, I just decided to keep playing it with the crack in it.
I've chosen everything about my life, I live within my means, and my lifestyle affords me the flexibility and freedom to be pursuing what I really want to do. But I still feel like a loser sometimes, as I can tell because it shows up in lyrics in my songs. Equating success and money is still a thing for people, even when by all other measures of success, I'm very successful. I'm happy, free, love what I'm doing, and have the best friends and family supporting what I'm up to.
The worst part about not making much is I've let it impact how much I financially give to others. I'll show up to potlucks empty-handed, not give birthday or Xmas presents, even not tip the musicians at shows, which is really embarrassing. I don't ever pay more than my share at a shared meal or ticketed event. I love off of the generosity of others and haven't been putting mine back in the pot. I even didn't donate to Kickstarters my friends have had when I totally love them and believe in their dreams. (If you're reading this and you're one of those people, I'm sorry and would love to donate now if that's cool with you)
So far in this Kickstarter campaign, some people I did expect to donate have, some people I expected to donate haven't, and a LOT of people I didn't expect to donate have. But being the recipient of SO much love and kindness through a mode that to me is so sacrificial is really changing my heart about the energy of money.
I've felt compelled to donate to those FB fundraisers that show up in the feed. I'm treating my friends to lunch. I gave 50 bucks to someone because I randomly felt like they needed it. And 20 bucks. And tipped at shows where I didn't even see the musician play. I can feel my stingy self loosening up a bit and I finally understand why giving gives the giver just as much, if not more, than the receiver.
If I don't make my stretch goal of 20k for this campaign, which doesn't look like it's going to happen, I'm still going to make a great album because of the kindness from others. But if I live the rest of my life remembering this lesson, then this Kickstarter is really life-changing for reasons far beyond this music project.
To everyone who has cheered me on, backed the Kickstarter, shared it with others, or offered help and ideas, thank you so much for showing this stingy girl a much-needed change of heart.