Sarah Monteiro on "Am I A Capitalist?"

Dear Carville Annex,

Thanks for the kind words about my interview [for the forthcoming Communing / Farming Inquiry]. It's a really good thing to remember our dimensions, which is easy to forget when we believe so much in one of them.

I had this crippling disintegration of my-self this summer as I came to terms with the fact that I both need and want to earn more money. And that in order to do so, I needed to totally restructure my relationship to money itself. I had started to pick up work doing flowers for weddings and it was super odd to discover how much money people spend on flowers for weddings. The first wedding I did, I earned as much money for the event as I do in approximately three weeks of farming. It was exhilarating and disheartening at the same time. In my current flower farm, I have weddings built into the business plan. I'm depending on that work to be the financial spine of my small farm. It's an odd reality to find myself browsing trends on wedding websites. The world in disarray all around me and I'm browsing websites called: Style Me Pretty.

But, I'm trying to not judge myself so harshly. My dear friend and housemate is an herbalist and a big cheerleader for treating yourself well. She told me that earning a fair living wage is a form of self-care. I repeat that to myself when I'm being critical. And at the peak of my crisis this summer when I was standing in the back field of the farm, drinking a beer with Adam, watching the fireflies, I fretted about my new identity as a capitalist. He assured me that figuring out how to earn more than $16,000/year does not make me a capitalist. And that he doubts I will try to exploit people or resources for my own wealth. I think he is right.

I realized that I have this childlike relationship to money. When I heard that C was going to earn 50K/year teaching I thought I would never have to work again. (She thought she could buy me a farm!) When I told my folks about her new gig and impressive salary my mom looked at me oddly and said, You really think that's a lot of money don't you? I felt embarrassed. I stopped telling people how rich my friend was going to be.

The very good news is that it occurred to me that how much I need to live is achievable. I can figure out how to earn $30,000/year - that is my financial goal. For 2016. As you know, Capricorns don't like to rush their goals.

The other week I saw the front page of the sports section of the New York Times. (I'm not really in the sports loop so excuse the half-information I'm about to give, it's unreliable.) The story was about Alex Rodriguez aka A-Rod and how he has been suspended for many, many games (maybe the most ever) for being found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs. The article had figures about his salary, which I later looked up. A-Rod earns 27,500,000/year to play baseball. This is why I have a weird perception of money. This is why I don't even really know what word comes after billion and just say things like a kajillion or a bajillion. Seriously $27,500,000 dollars every year. (That's a contract for 10 years btw). Frankly, I may not have all my politics ironed out and understood, but that is too much money for any one person to ever need. Why does A-Rod need a kijillion dollars?

Love // Sarah

Posted on September 30, 2014 .