not too long ago i had a paltry $3.11 to my name

The week of August 9th 2010, I had $3.11 in my bank account. My savings accounts totaled around the same. The bills in my pocket were a tad over $10, and my business account was a goose egg. I was a financial mess. And it’s not like i was unemployed or was stuck in a mediocre, under-paying gig; i was, unfortunately like many of my peers, foolish beyond belief, possibly more so than them.

See, i have an issue with moderation: i totally eschew the constraints of possessing discipline, i’m a firm believer and practitioner of indulgence. It’s a form of my OverZealous-ness.

I vowed—and i will admit that it wasn’t the first time—to never allow that to happen again. It was embarrassing. I broke that vow—innumerable amounts of times.

Even before writing this, i asked myself, “What’s different this time? Why am i putting my foot down? And why so confident?” The answer was quite simple: i was getting too old for the financial foolishness and irresponsibility. During that tumultuos week, i happened to read a candid article by then Congressmen hopeful, Kevin Powell, entitled My Financial Life — and Yours, too. It was apropos to my dire straits; a wake up call to the ambitious, twenty-something within.

It all sounded good in my head … and on the sticky notes … and on the texts i sent my (then) girlfriend … and blah blah blah. Yet, regardless of the words written above—the audacity, confidence and proclamation of absolute resolve—it sure wasn’t easy, i’ll tell you.

Two months had passed, and i was back in the same predicament—albeit worse. For proof, look below at the screenshot of my bank accounts. Pitiful. I couldn’t even order a very inexpensive, used book on Amazon, even with my free two-day shipping (courtesy of Prime). And, that book was required reading for class, too! That was rock-bottom for me—or, at least i thought it was. I was already clawing, trying to slow the descent down the mountain of financial woe, and although i began to get my footing and balance, i fell to the floor nonetheless.

The hits to my accounts weren’t the worse bit, though. It was the repeated, utter personal embarrassment that rattled me the most. I continued to shake my head and berate myself, not understanding where i (continued!) to go wrong. Why was i so foolish? The adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Heck, i was shameful on both counts—time and time again over the years.

All Ancient Greek heroes suffered from harmartia or a fatal flaw. Although mine was not tragic, pride and exulted vanity wouldn’t allow me to seek assistance from others in my self-inflicted predicament. I wouldn’t even speak candidly on my situation. Not until months later. Not until now, honestly.

During April, i re-read one of my favorite books, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, which changed my 19-year-old life, and would assist me, interestingly enough, seven years later. One thing that came from Johnson’s memoir was his admission that as a youngster he didn’t know how to save; he never had a reference point or shining example to show him the ropes, either. We both shared financial ineptitude, lacking the ability of spendthrift. We were a mess—and something had to give for each of us.

Throughout the beginning of 2011, i was doing all right. Up until around April that is, when i took my first trip to Nawlins (boy, do i love that city!). It began my borrowing binges. I was lucky enough, or, as my mother would say, blessed, to have a great, great friend in Nigel who throughout the year bailed me out by at least a stack, as well as finding frequent financial buoyancy from both my parents and even my little brother, a telling sign that things weren’t right. I even needed to borrow against my retirement accounts in the form of a loan–not smart.

I want to begin 2012 with more monies in my accounts at the end of January than last year. It may be difficult, however, since i’m always trying to do everything with whatever funds i have, and that is the problem: i never leave any buffer—it’s all or nothing with me. There goes that moderation problem again.

Eventually, though, through much trial and error, i will figure this out, i think. Or, i just need to make more money. Eh, even then, i know what will happen: i will spend it. It’s a wondrously subversive, perpetual cycle. I gotta keep reminding myself of the paths taken, to re-read my posts more often, to constantly keep the foolishness at the forefront. This is the first time i’ve read and tweaked this in about six months—it was time.

Two-thousand and eleven has been an interesting year—one of growth, malignant and benign. I’ve been able to recognize the ailments, but for some reason i have not been able to utilize any aliments to rectify the situation. I have ideas, but nothing concrete, nothing that i want to truly acknowledge, at least. I’ll touch more upon that, will go more in-depth in the search for acceptance in a forthcoming book review (of sorts) of a book that spoke to me greatly. I’ll reference this post when i do.

Rain down encouragement or chastisement. I deserve the latter, at least. Here’s to a more improved and focused 2012. It just might by our last year (if you believe in such foolishness).

Wish me luck. Peace.