Shhh, I want to talk to you about something, ok? I don’t want people to get the wrong impression or nothing, but I want to talk to you about…..debt. Let’s talk about debt baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be (props if you got that reference).
Not enough people in this country do it. We don’t want to talk about debt, because it’s our own fault right? We must internalize the shame of our debts and keep it secret.
Some people can’t even utter the number. It’s as if we’ve been financially slutty, and we don’t want to reveal “the number”. And I’m not judging the people who do that, but our society that makes it easier to make racist and sexist jokes than it is to talk about our money and our debts.
Yet, we live in a nation built upon debt. Debt upon debt upon debt. That is our foundation for a nation.
I am advocating for more conversations around money and debt. When I stood outside of my school and begged for tuition money, I was making a statement. This was one year before Occupy Wall Street and still many people did not want to talk to me about student loan debt.
“Oh, well it’s your choice to go back to school, and to an expensive one at that”
Yes, this is true and for that I will take responsibility. However, we also live in a culture where millennials have been told we could do whatever we want, and that if we do something it should always be the best. So why not go to the “best” school for the “best” opportunities?
I digress…I’m glad that the Occupy movement started to open up these conversations. A silenced nation protested its secrets. When I was protesting at Occupy Wall Street, I met an older woman who at 72 years of age told me the government was taking money from her social security check because of an outstanding student loan. My heart broke for her. I was determined not to be in that situation.
With debt, there is so much blame and shame that people don’t want to speak up. But what change could occur if we did? Sometimes you don’t know something’s a problem until someone says something. We don’t know what hurts are lying behind our cool exterior.
We can change ourselves, a community, a city, a neighborhood and a nation. We might not see it today, or tomorrow or in our generation. If I thought I couldn’t change anything, I would have given up long ago. It can get frustrating at times, like walking in circles and still feeling lost.
But let’s start the conversation about debt. Why and how did you get into debt? Imagine the money we spend on debt, and what we could do with that elsewhere?
It starts with us, and it starts now. You with me?