No Fund Me
Since moving back to San Diego in 2019, I’ve been driving my boyfriend’s car, a 2004 Mercedes.
When I moved in with Justin, I had $30,000 saved. I can’t go down that rabbit hole of self-deprecation. The money is gone, Cha. And you have no one to blame but yourself. Surely I’m not the only one who’s ever lost $30,000. I didn’t lose it. I spent it chaotically. I used it to fund my insecurity.
That money was supposed to be for Cha Cha. I was scared to let her out. I was scared of what would happen if I really tried. So, instead, I focused on my boyfriend.
It’s Nice to Have a Boyfriend
I often think back to the infamous unraveling of Ross and Rachel from Friends, when Ross sends the barber shop quartette to Rachel’s office. A line in their spiffy jingle, “It’s nice to have a boyfriend.”
F*ck. It is nice to have a boyfriend! Justin is my first boyfriend. (He may be my only boyfriend which scares the hell out of me, but that’s a different story.) I met him when I was thirty-one. Before that, I was alone.
“I have a car!” Justin said when I moved to San Diego to live with him. “You should drive the Mercedes. Don’t spend your money. Let me help you.” He said. Justin is a plumber. He drives a van daily. His 2004 Mercedes Benz E500 was just sitting there, in his uncovered driveway, collecting bird sh*t.
Accepting the keys, a sense of relief came over me. I finally had someone I could count on. Someone who actually liked me for me.
This is why it’s so weird to think that when I moved in with Justin, I stopped being me so much. I was distracted by how much I loved him.
My Boyfriend is a Plumber
With $30,000 and no real plan or concept of budget, I started throwing spaghetti at the wall of “I am a writer.”
However, instead of trusting Cha Cha and believing in her self-worth, I turned into that girl that only talks about her boyfriend.
Instead of projecting my own persona, I hid behind his. I started a business called My Boyfriend is a Plumber and designed graphic t-shirts. Top sellers included SNAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT and MAKE AMERICA FLOW AGAIN.
“You’re just doing this so you don’t have to talk about yourself,” Justin said when I asked him permission to use him as my muse.
He was right and I knew it. This made me love him even more because he truly saw and understood me. But I told him he was wrong and started the brand anyway.
My Boyfriend is a Plumber was not a failure. Well, it had the potential to not be a failure. If I were willing to do what’s required: namely, Instagram. My numbers were small but suggestive. I needed more content. But the thing about boyfriend plumbers is that they work a lot. Justin was never around to make videos. And the thing about social media is you have to engage to get noticed. There was only so much plumber content I could look at before checking out.
I still have $3,000 worth of unsold t–shirts in storage.
When Girl Meets Boy
Yes, it is nice to have a boyfriend. But for a gal like me, having a boyfriend can be dangerously distracting. My primitive cavegirl brain feels a primal pull to nourish and support my man. (Ironically, the cavewoman inside me doesn’t want to have a baby. But that’s another story.)
I am not proud, but honest when I say, for the past four years, I have used my boyfriend to escape the burden of facing myself. Instead of writing, I told him my stories. Instead of exploring myself, I’ve anchored onto his identity.
The car is a metaphor. I’ve literally been driving his energy.
Back in the Driver’s Seat
The Mercedes is in the shop again. After nearly twenty years on the road, the ol’ girl is no longer reliable. My boyfriend is sad. But I am ready. It’s time Cha Cha got her own ride. Her own energy source.
It’s nice to have a boyfriend. Someone to come with me to the dealership and talk numbers. Someone to celebrate with me after I purchased my first car ever.
This is my car, my decision, my money. Which is terrifying and empowering at the same time.
Buckel up. Let’s see what this baby can do.