Global Financial Crisis, you say. For me, it’s been a Gay Dad Financial Crisis for a few years. Recession, after two quarters? How about four years and counting?
When I calculated how much rent I could afford when I moved out, I was mortified that I might only be able to sleep on the back of a cockroach instead of letting them sleep on me.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I was able to share a decent place with decent people while I fumbled spare change in my very old jeans. Others I’ve known have done it very tough, handing over child support money and living expenses to make sure their families are supported. Why only eat one guilt pie when there’s a smorgasbord of guilt to dine out on? Gay dads sometimes don’t need food.
I don’t think I’ve really ever caught back up. What with art purchases, shiny shoes, my first and only wig, there is always something going on to drag your wallet out for.
When I left the family, I took on the entire mortgage, my rent, my living expenses and then some extras when they needed shoes and haircuts. I used to get excited to see a $5 note in my wallet. Perhaps that’s why I started painting, not for emotional release but to wrap up as arty presents so I could escape going shopping.
These days I don’t need to live on Safeway brand two-minute noodles. I live frugally but comfortably. Material possessions don’t clutter my house, although I can’t shake my art penchant.
The boys and I head to parks and kids festivals. We spend time drawing and painting. We spend most of the summer at the beach. It’s not about how much I spend on them, but what we do that counts.
Some of my gay dad friends will rent for years, some will be able to move into small owned shacks one day and others have done exceptionally well. Where I live doesn’t really drive who I am.
I always feel happier when I can flip my favourite homeless man a gold coin and be genuinely thankful that it’s not me nor ever was.
Perhaps I should sell my de Lempicka… on second thought, I’d rather eat two-minute noodles again.

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