Last week an article I wrote was picked up and published by The Financial Diet, a popular financial blog for the millennial demographic. I wrote about my personal finance situation and about my difficulties scraping by in an expensive city, how sometimes there’s nothing you can do but keep your head above water until things get better. I exposed my personal history for the benefit of others, but it felt a bit like coming out of the closet.
Money is one of those taboo topics that people avoid. Like politics and religion, it can put people on opposite sides of a discussion. A few of my closest friends have always known about my money situation because they’re supportive and understanding and more often than not in the same financial boat. They can relate and it’s good to have each other to lean on and vent to in difficult times. But I definitely feel like I “outed” myself to the bulk of my friends and family. I’ve burst the illusory bubble that I was hiding behind and any illusion there might have been that I “had it all together.”
I also “outed” this blog. My stats grew exponentially last week because of routing from The Financial Diet’s post. Granted, I submitted the link to my blog as part of the mini bio I had to write up for the post, but I certainly didn’t think so many people would actually click on it. After all, I have more than 300 WordPress followers and maybe only ten people who regularly read my blog!
So my little blog is out in the world now along with the details of my personal finances. I’ve had a slew of positive feedback, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel like people were watching now. Any sense of anonymity I once had is gone; I’m exposed to the people in my immediate network and beyond.
I’m happy that I wrote the article. It was honest and if it makes any of the hundreds of people that read it feel like they’re understood, then I’ve done what I set out to do. I was truly tired of reading financial articles that didn’t take into account the circumstances and work that many people like myself had already put in, that always assumed I was starting from point zero. I wasn’t struggling because I hadn’t made a budget yet; I was struggling because short of pulling additional income out of thin air, I was maxed out just on the essentials like rent, student loan payments, and food.
I wrote the article because I needed other people with my circumstances to know that they’re not alone. It meant outing myself, my blog, and my personal financial history to do it, but it was worth it.