The very first thing you have to do when in a situation like this is manage the panic. Beyond being a terrible feeling that no one wants to endure, panic keeps you from being able to function. You have to start with the basics — the most immediate and smallest things that let you put one foot in front of another. After the first baby step you can start to think about the next one, but for now, just be focused on the first thing you CAN do, you’ll cross the next bridge when you get there.
For me, this meant getting at least a few dollars by any means necessary, almost any means, that is. There is one person in the world I could turn to, a friend of mine who is a struggling actor in LA who has no business lending anyone any money. But I know he will understand my plight. It’s an interesting phenomenon that often the people with the least can be the most generous.
That’s an important point too — most people don’t truly understand the concept of being genuinely broke. Some people get the idea of being low on money, missing bills, having less in reserve than they are comfortable with, or not being able to get things they want and even need. But few people understand the concept of having zero dollars. It’s hard to understand it if you haven’t been in the situation. And being broke in college until your parents send you more money is not the same thing. This level of broke means unless you are prepared to steal (and I am not), you are hungry because there is nothing in the fridge. You can’t take the bus or subway so you walk. You could find yourself without clean clothes, or without a place to go while all of your things are thrown into the trash. You will not be able to have even the basics of existing in the next hours. You cannot react to an emergency. Even people in prison don’t go through quite this experience. The sense of vulnerability and powerlessness is paralyzing. Having no money is dangerous.
Anyway, he knows how this feels, and understands that it can happen to people who are in our position. That is people who have no backup in life. He sent $150 to my bank account which was at -$1.17. It felt like someone threw a bucket of water on me while standing in the middle of the desert. This will get me to my next paycheck and it feels euphoric. But that’s part of the problem, the relationship with money becomes like the relationship between a drug addict and junky. More on that later, but at least for now — oxygen!!!
This is “How to Make a Comeback”