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Home vs. Hustle: How To Pursue Your Dreams While Financially Supporting Your Family

Women of color

When you grow up poor, the struggle is real. For a lot of us, fam.

Being self-made doesn’t always equate to “me, myself and I”. Though that’s all you got in the end, most BAUCE women often take on the extra responsibility of making sure their families and kin are covered. Sometimes this implies taking care of a loved one who is ill, providing extra cash for the fam, or being the queen of support in the house. But how do we hustle and care-take simultaneously?

Self-Care

Although social media trends and strategic brand marketing techniques have made self-care a hip and fashionable topic, it truly is the route to living a successful and meaningful life. We learn self-care by listening to ourselves and analyzing our own needs emotionally, physically, mentally, and realistically. My own addition of “realistically” serves to emphasize the idea that taking care of your needs is not a contest or a fantasy, but significant actions that align with what you actually can and cannot do to improve your daily well-being. Self-care can resemble anything that nourishes your own survival and breath. Drinking water and going for a walk, making sure you refrain from working to an unhealthy point of exhaustion, taking deep breaths, and even saying “no” are ways to exercise self-care.

In terms of dealing with external pressures from family, it’s important to compare what is being asked of you to what you desire and what you are capable of carrying out. For example: you are grinding daily to become the most rad interior designer of all time! You soon find out that there are extra hands needed at home. What’s a BAUCE to do? Think about your needs as well as the impending situation. Will quitting or altering your current gig affect your future in detrimental ways? Are there ways to grind and provide in a manner that sustains your personal growth? Though lots of external pressures can be thrown at you,  BAUCE, taking small steps to consider your personal health despite hardships can paradoxically improve your ability to manage struggles at home and work.  

Dreams

At times, making sacrifices feels like sitting on the edge of a diving board, dangling our futures over the water below. While not all sacrifices are severe, it’s still essential to know the pros and cons of diving into life decisions, even from the low dive. Pursuing your own dreams is plunging into the depth of waters with divine cannon balls, making waves and causing a ripple effect. Sometimes this leap of faith is not only necessary, but will help change the world around you. Perhaps you are asked to not take on your dream position at a company you’ve worked hard for in order to take care of family business. Remind yourself and those at home of your passions and what they mean to you. If someone is able to understand your desire to kick ass in a field you are passionate about, they might start to support it too. Allowing yourself to submerge into a field, career, or hobby that interests you will only cultivate exponential outcomes. Even when your family can’t hear it, force yourself to imagine long-term results for motivation.

Re-Imagining Guilt

This is what I struggle with most. Guilt is genuinely a sentiment that causes more harm than good especially when trying to establish a positive relationship with yourself and others. Sometimes you may see members of your family working long hours, performing more physical labor, or even taking on multiple jobs to meet household expenses. You may never have been told to help, but you feel a sense of obligation, responsibility or guilt that leads you to making quick cash instead of working towards creating a worthwhile future.

What’s a BAUCE response to overcoming this sensation of shame or accountability? Build. And I don’t mean a new house (unless of course that’s your fancy). I mean really start to build your career. If music is your passion, then build! Create, collaborate, connect, and learn to hustle! Maybe you are already working for a big corporation. Build! Take on your newest projects in a way that reminds other folks that you know your stuff and you won’t take ‘no’ for an answer! If you want to be the head writer of your own magazine, well you’re gonna need to BUILD! Start writing for blogs, magazines, and online sites that you admire, grow your profile, and form connections! Now, every time you feel guilty, remind yourself to keep building! Recognize the amount of building your own family has done and channel that into your own ambitions!

Compromise

Now some of you are reading this thinking, “Yea, Vanessa. It’s not that simple.” Okay. I hear you. There are particular circumstances where following your dreams and charming your family into believing in your aspirations aren’t going to quite cut it. In a world trying to further dichotomize rich and poor, healthy and sick, or mainstream and alternative, survival is not guaranteed, it’s unjustly granted. People born into historically marginalized circumstances aren’t always going to have the luxury of “choosing” their most coveted job. Even so, the concepts above cannot be thrown out the window.

Everyone deserves to “self-care.” (Yes, self-care is a verb! I self-care. You self-care. BAUCEs self-care.) It is crucial to listen to the push and pull of everyday life while understanding our ability to coexist or refrain from engaging with it. The same applies to your aspirations. Dream-chasing cannot be taxed, taken away, or tampered with. You may not have complete jurisdiction over the beginning of your livelihood, but you do have the freedom to dream. Oh yea, and block out that guilt! It’s pretty useless. Start to build yourself up. This, in turn, will build up your family.

In case you still find yourself needing to forfeit your dreams to solve family needs, seek compromise. Not all is fair, but a BAUCE will not settle for quitting. Make an agreement with your family. Be a means of support for a limited amount of time. Take on a job that interests you even if it has to be part-time. Bring home extra food or home goods from your workplace that would otherwise be discarded. Find ways to hustle and flow, the BAUCE way.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. maria

    May 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Yes yes yes. Honey! I needed this. Merci

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