On Slim Dunlap & the Financial Realities of a Stroke

Oh Darling Ones,

Today I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.

I started the day tweeting about the Slim Dunlap family moving sale and ended it losing another client.

Fuck. On both counts.

If you’re not a ‘Mats person, Slim Dunlap took over for Bob Stinson. Slum suffered a stroke in 2012. Maybe you remember the whole “Songs for Slim” thing circa 2013.

Slim has been on my mind a lot since surviving my own stroke in March. I count every one of my lucky stars that my stroke was not as severe as his. Hopefully, my ongoing medical care won’t be too expensive.

However, the current financial anxiety is real and it’s scary as hell.

I became a freelancer in 2009 after a second layoff in two years. In the fourteen years since I bet on myself I rarely regretted my decision to work for me.

Being a freelancer taught me how to live with financial ambiguity and a childhood growing up in poverty taught me frugality and hard word.

I worked so hard to build my business so I could cover my living expenses, pay off my debt (mostly student loans), and start to save. It has not been easy. I made a lot of difficult choices to live a life I loved. I didn’t go on vacations. I drive (or did until my stroke took away my ability to drive) a 1999 Chevrolet S-10 that’s been paid off since 2007.

Since March everything I made so many sacrifices for, worked tirelessly for is slowly vanishing.

Now, I have $21,000+ in medical debt and it feels like a dwindling ability to not just pay that off, but to cover my living expenses.

Losing four clients is rough. I’ve built my life and career on servicing a small cadre of clients. I’m proud that I’ve worked with some my entire freelance career.

I try to comfort myself by telling me they weren’t high-dollar clients, though I was in the running for $10K project that slipped through my stroke-addled fingers in March.

Can you see why I’m a little freaked out?

While I know when it comes down to it my family won’t let me fall too far, I’m still scared. I’ve taken care of myself by myself for so long having to lean on them for housing or money will do a real number on my mental wellbeing.

Right now I’m living in a world of regrets and what ifs.

What if I worked a “real job” and had a lot more social capital? What if higher salaries meant I had a bigger financial safety net? What if every decision I ever made was wrong?



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