Dealing with money overwhelm

I haven’t posted in a few days because I’ve been having a meltdown a few fears.

Sketch: Strawberries © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2010. Oil on canvas board, 4"x6"

Sketch: Strawberries © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2010. Oil on canvas board, 4"x6"

January 5th is fast approaching. That’s the day I’m informed whether I’ve been accepted into the program in France or not. Quite frankly (and surprisingly), I’m not worried about that part. It’s totally out of my hands, so there is absolutely no point in thinking about it. I may have a tendency to worry a lot, but I’m also not an idiot. I am fully aware that worrying about something out of my hands is a waste of my brain space.

What I am worried about?

The money.

Ohhh, the money. My arch-nemesis. We’re still learning to be friends. Some days, I want to ring its neck. Other days, I’m just baffled. Most of the time though, I’m wondering where it went and why it won’t return my calls.

I got an email from the school informing me that the tuition has gone up. Now I need 3500 Euros = approx. $4650, depending on the day. It’s not that much more than before, but it was enough to remind me that I don’t have much of anything.

I’ve tried some things. I applied for a grant from my local arts council. I’ll know about that before Christmas. I applied for a scholarship with the school itself – I’ll know about that on January 5th.

I set up this big sale of my art but that’s not been very effective because I’m too shy to promote it properly.

I’m going to apply for the Elizabeth Greenshields award, but I’ve been procrastinating on finishing the pieces to send with it.

I went to my bank yesterday, to discuss a small personal loan, but I’m not a very good gamble. The lovely lady I talked to said my odds of approval were slim. She gave me some other options – getting a limit raise on my credit card for example – but I don’t think the methods of conventional funding are going to work here. And I would like to avoid debt if at all possible.

The biggest problem with all of this?

The overwhelm. There’s an embarrassingly large part of me that just wants to sit on the couch and sulk, and maybe kick my legs. She insists that this is just too Adult and I am Just A Kid, and it’s impossible for me to ever raise that amount of money because only Adults Have Money.

It’s not surprising I’ve been feeling less than optimistic when a large part of my brain insists that this is just Impossible and Could Never Happen.

So what to do now?

I obviously can’t just sit here flailing my arms and feeling helpless. That would be, uhhh, less than helpful. (Unless, of course, these were Shiva Nata flailings. In which case, that’s different.)

So I think I’m going to experiment. There’s no way I’m going to be able to instantly undo my patterns and suddenly believe that I can make $4650 by tomorrow. But I don’t need to do that.

I just need to open myself to the possibilities. It is completely and totally possible I could have the tuition money by tomorrow. Or next week. Or by January 5th. I could suddenly sell $4650 worth of art. Someone could generously give me $4650. I could get that grant and that scholarship. I could finish my application for the other grant and send it off. I could sell gift certificates and have everyone buy last minute gifts from me. I could sell 100 8″x10″ prints of my art. I could ask for donations.

When I start to feel helpless and “ohhh, this is impossible” I forget that there are hundreds of possibilities surrounding me. I have options. I have opportunities. I just have to remember that they’re there and use them. I just have to take baby steps in any direction. And I can spend the whole time thinking:

“Even though this feels scary and overwhelming, right now, I just need to take this one tiny step forward. And even though I want to be able to believe that I can make this money, it’s unreasonable to expect a lifetime’s worth of conditioning to suddenly undo itself. But I can still keep moving forward, one tiny baby step at a time.”

And I can ask for support – from you, from friends, from Jesse, from my networks. I don’t have to do this alone. I’m allowed to ask for help. (What is this…help thing?)

I just have to remain open to the possibilities. And keep moving forward, one tiny step at a time.


I’m open to fundraising ideas, although advice on how to “manifest my dreams” is not quite what I’m looking for. And no “shoulds” obviously.

But I’d love to hear your stories about dealing with money overwhelm and how you helped yourself move forward!