A few days ago, an exceedingly generous, kind-hearted patron and longtime supporter directed messaged me via the popular social media platform Twitter and offered to cover my travel expenses for my upcoming trip to Washington D.C. to cover the Juggalo March on Washington. In a perfect world, High Times would happily cover the costs. In this imperfect world, I’m hoping to make enough money off my March article to make up for the money I lost covering the Gathering of the Juggalos.
My first, very Midwestern impulse was, “Oh God no. I couldn’t possibly do that. That would be embarrassing and I’m not that desperate or that needy.” I grew up deeply repressed, feeling like I needed to hide my fears and anxieties and depression and sadness from the world so life’s cruelty would not destroy me.
I was weird and wrong and broken and mentally ill. I felt like I had to pretend to be someone else or people would reject me the way I’d been rejected all my life. I internalized the repression around me. I felt like my emotions were shameful and messy, a source of embarrassment not just to me but everyone around me.
In my writing, I was free. In my writing, I could bare my soul and be my truest, boldest, least inhibited self. In life, I felt like I was so inexorably broken and wrong that I had to pretend to be someone else just to be even semi-accepted. And that fucking sucked.
Getting fired from what I suspect will be the last job I ever held was shattering. It completely destroyed what little security or stability or consistency I’d built up over the course of my life. But it was also freeing, albeit not as freeing as starting Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place. Honestly, I wish I’d started this site the day after I got fired from The Dissolve but I was scared shitless that I wasn’t good enough. I was terrified that my career was over, that I’d been found out as a sham and a fake and a pretender. The fact that I couldn’t so much as score an occasional movie review assignment after eighteen years of working as a film critic didn’t do wonders for my self-esteem or bank account either.
So it’s so fucking validating to realize that I can be myself and be accepted, that I don’t have to hide who I am for the sake of not offending people. It’s fucking validating to be able to ask for help and receive it, and not be shamed for asking. It’s incredibly validating knowing that you can bear your scars and your soul-sickness to the world and have people empathize and relate instead of sourly judging me for being so open about all of my struggles, personal, professional and otherwise.
That’s why I write so much about money. I grew up feeling like I was the only person who struggled with money, and did not understand it, and felt like money was a sinister, nefarious entity that could only harm me, so I want other people who feel the same way to know they’re not alone. A lot of us go through this shit. They just don’t have a blog about constantly wrestling with money.
I’ve decided on principle to be brutally honest about my life, even if it makes me seem like a broke, unemployable loser with his hand perpetually out. In my repressed Midwestern days, I probably would have stoically refused the kind patron’s offer on principle. I’m different these days. So different, in fact, that this time I’m going to accept the offer of help on principle as well.
As a core principle, I don’t think you should be afraid to ask for help if you genuinely need it. You also shouldn’t be afraid to accept help when you genuinely need it and it is genuinely and graciously offered. And I am in a state of genuine need. There’s “no money for a vacation or luxuries” broke and “not enough money to pay the rent” broke. I’ve reconciled myself to a lifetime of the first kind of being broke, but I’m the second kind of broke right now. That’s temporary, God willing, but I sure as shit could use a hand up wherever it comes from.
The other thing you have to remember is: this is my therapy. I haven’t seen a therapist since I left Chicago two years ago so this is how I work through my issues and angst and depression and fear and anxiety. And a lot of that, understandably, comes down to money.
I’ve always been a big believer that you should dispense praise widely and sincerely, but you should also be able to accept praise graciously. I’ve found that people who do not offer other people compliments are also terrible at accepting compliments. Here’s the thing: being shitty at accepting compliments doesn’t mean you’re humble or gracious or beguilingly modest. It just means you’re being kind of shitty to people who want to praise you and make you feel good.
So I’m going to very graciously accept this offer of assistance. I’m hoping at a certain point the narrative in this here blog goes from “Nathan struggles with money every day of his life” to “Nathan keeps bragging about all of his money in kind of an obnoxious way” but I can’t see that happening any time soon. Unless that motherfucker John Green finally pledges. I know he can afford it. I’m guessing he struggles financially, at most, four days out of every week.
Support Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place and the impossible dream of Nathan Rabin only struggling six out of seven days of the week over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace