Category Archives: Think

I launched a thing.

I’ve been hinting to you guys for months that I’ve got something fun rolled up my sleeves.

Well, today’s the day I finally get to tell you what it is!

Personal Finance by Women

In the independent financial media space, we’re a little more than 50% female. I think that justifies accurate gender representation when it comes to publishing opportunities, speaking gigs and features. I think that means we ‘ve got plenty of people with lived experience speaking to the issues of women’s finances that hiring those without to pontificate on the topic isn’t always going to bring you the best perspective and information.

Because I think all this, I thought it was time to launch Personal Finance by Women. Apparently a lot of other people think the same thing. Since its launch two days ago, Personal Finance by Women has tripled its membership — I’m still uploading profiles! And that was just from a couple mentions in online networking groups.

What does Personal Finance by Women do?

Personal Finance by Women is a social entrepreneurship venture which believes that just because you center the most intersectional of stories doesn’t mean you have to be a charity. There is value in these financial experiences, which contain something to be learned by all.

It’s not about helping anyone; it’s about empowering everyone.

To achieve this, we’re going to have lots of projects including:

  • Publishing and syndication of money stories centering intersectional writers who are paid fairly for their content.
  • An RSS feed featuring members’ content.
  • A bookshop featuring members’ tomes on money.
  • A financial literacy book basket initiative for charity auctions/raffles.
  • A source list for journalists attempting gender diversity in their sourcing efforts.
  • Service projects and initiatives in our membership’s various local communities.
  • Hashtags on Insta and Twitter featuring members’ content and further bolstering community.

How can I support Personal Finance by Women?

As I mentioned above, this is a social entrepreneurship venture — not a 501(c)(3). That means that while monetary support doesn’t get you a tax deduction, it does potentially get you other perks.

Those who become Early Access Subscribers on Patreon will receive access to original Personal Finance by Women content 24 hours prior to its public release.

You can also support by participating as a member, taking advantage of the fact that membership is currently free during launch. If you want to join as an ally, we’ll talk about how you can best support the initiatives we’re currently running. If you want to join as a woman or non-binary individual, we’re excited to check out your work!

The Costs of Performing Femininity

Last week, someone said something to me that stuck with me. It was hurtful, but the person meant it as a compliment. The words were not this eloquent, but essentially they told me the same thing my grandma told me back in 2004 when I attended her milestone birthday party:

“You clean up nice.”

When my grandmother said it, it made sense. I was a teenager who usually dressed in ripped up jeans, a hoodie and a beanie. To see me in full business casual was probably a legitimate shock.

But this person last week — I don’t feel like the similar comment was as justified. I’ve been “cleaned up” around this person before, and the way it was worded made me feel like my worth to this person was intricately tied to how much makeup I had on or the amount of jewelry that adorned my collarbone.

Without it, I wasn’t quite enough.

Performing Femininity

I was aware how much of a show getting girly was at a very young age. When I was a child, I loved playing baseball with the boys, hated brushing my hair and loved hanging out with the people I cared about. Eventually, cultural pressure kicked in and I switched over to the softball team. I started brushing my tangly hair on the regular. I don’t regret the latter.

When I was a teen, I learned to perform femininity to gain social acceptance. I am a cis woman, and I do feel better about myself when I’m all dolled up. Whether that’s because it’s what makes me happy or because it makes society treat me better I still have yet to figure out.

It’s inconvenient. It’s time consuming. And comes with other costs. Back in those days when I shocked the elderly by dressing up for birthday parties, I came across this quote that really struck me:

Femininity is not made for comfort or movement; it is made to accentuate the sexualization of a woman’s body — and that’s why things like holding the door open (so she doesn’t dirty her white gloves or expensive manicure,) pulling her chair out (so she doesn’t have to awkwardly move a bulky piece of furniture and risk getting it caught on her skirt or stockings and ripping something,) or holding her coat (so she doesn’t have to reach around and risk ripping the tight seams in her shoulder or upper back) are necessary to me, as an acknowledgement of how restrictive femininity can be, and of how difficult it is to walk around in these clothes, as a celebration of the beauty of femininity on the body, and with deep respect for the courage to costume and perform femme to begin with.

I’m not saying everything in that quote is morally right. Or that those who spoke the words are infallible human beings. Just that it was a thought that really made me think over the past 17 years.

The Costs of Performing Femme

Performing femme has a lot of economic implications for those who either do or don’t don the costume. If you’re not society’s whitewashed, caked on makeup, impossibly thin version of beauty, you’re less likely to get paid well at work or even secure the position in the first place.

There are those routine costs, too. The cost of makeup. The cost of clothing and unmentionables. Overpriced shoes that kill your feet.

As you’re getting ready for the day, the most feminine look is going to take the longest to apply — at least if we’re assuming femininity is defined by our society rather than us as individuals. When time is money, women are either waking up earlier to get ready for the day or spending time getting “pretty” when they could be working and bringing in an income. I’m aware the latter is a strawman’s argument, but this is a PF blog. Time is money is an important theme in our discourses.

Then there are the more dire costs of performing femininity as society defines it. Body image issues. Self-hatred and the need to address the mental health issues that come along with not being “enough.” Eating disorders. Potential of death if you take things too far.

Abandoning Aspects of Femme

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten far more comfortable in my own skin. I do feel better about myself when I’m dressed to the nines, but I’ve also started actually believing that my value is not tied to how well I perform femininity. Despite what the world may tell me.

Coffee mug reading "You should be more feminine. Me: Suck my dick."
When I landed in Boise, I spotted this mug at my friend’s house. The timing, y’all. Also this is why we’ve been friends forever.

I tried to wear heels a couple times after I had kids. I couldn’t wear them when I was pregnant because I’m super klutzy and would have fallen as my center of balance adjusted to my changing body. When I tried to resume the practice, it invariably ended in tears of pain. Eventually, I gave them up. Yes, I’m short. Yes, heels make me look even more bomb than I already am. But they’re not a necessary part of my femininity.

I am more than enough without them.

I’m also a remote worker. That means I don’t have to get dressed up to go into work. It’s beautiful, really. I’m crazy lucky I can work in yoga pants without makeup on while earning a decent income.

Why do I do it without makeup on? Why don’t I put on real clothes while I’m clacking away at the keyboard in my own living room?

Because I am more than enough without it. And yoga pants are freaking comfortable.

Also, my skin looks awesome when I don’t wear makeup for a few days. So there’s that.

I’m leaving on a jet plane.

Yesterday I flew into Boise for a book signing. Usually when I fly, I do the yoga pants or leggings thing. I try not to look trashy, but I’m also not trying to get all made up when I know I’m going to look a hot mess after 12 hours of travel.

But the comments from last week left me feeling insecure. I really respected this person and thought their respect for me was a little deeper than the jewelry I was wearing or the way I did my hair on any given day. Complimenting femininity is great, but when the largest part of your value as a human being is attributed to your external presentation at any given second, it’s more than demoralizing.

So before I hopped on the plane, I got all dolled up. Full makeup. Girly clothes. Later, I even put on a bracelet and necklace.

Women in full makeup smiling in a selfie demonstrating the costume of femininity.

Did I regret it?

Totally.

I wasn’t comfortable. My makeup melted throughout the day as I ensured I made flights, tried to catch up on edits on layovers and dragged my two bags throughout the entire airport because I’m too cheap to check.

While I had worked so hard to get “presentable,” the drunk dude sitting next to me and elbowing me throughout the entire flight stank to high hell. Reminding me that the standards for me and this guy were so far away from each other.

I’m going to continue performing femininity. I like the way it makes me feel. I like that people treat me better when I put on the costume. But just like the heels and the yoga pants, I’m not going to bother myself with it when it’s not worth it anymore. The next time I hop on a jet plane, I’m not going to perform anything. I’m just going to be me.

Because with or without makeup and stilettos, I’m plenty enough. Despite the economic realities our society places on us when we don’t conform, you are enough, too. I see you, and your value as a human being doesn’t go up just because you put on a costume.

Why Being a P.I.T.A is a Good Thing!

I meet some of my favorite people in the most random and beautiful ways. In 2017, I was fortunate enough to meet Shanah Bell at a surprisingly emotional and wonderful dinner. I love talking to Shanah. In a world where I often feel like I’m walking a different path than everyone else around me–especially those my own age–her words make me want to celebrate this fact and all the rich experiences that come with it rather than allowing myself to feel isolated.

Today I want to share her words with you! Shanah recently released a great book called The Art of Being a PITA, which addresses the financials of living a nontraditional life. It’s super rad and you should pick a copy up today!

Without further ado, here’s Shanah to give you a little background on her own story.

Most people might consider being a P.I.T.A (pain in the ass!) a negative quality. In reality, that isn’t necessarily the case.

My mother gave me this nickname when I was growing up because I refused to do anything the traditional way. I am stubborn! And things haven’t really changed so much for me — I still fit into that category today! So, I suppose, if you want to call me a P.I.T.A for not always going with the flow, then so be it. I am a P.I.T.A.

But being one only means that I do things my own way, instead of how most people think I should do them. This primarily relates to how I have carved out my work-life and my career, going the non-traditional route and dumping the corporate 9-5 ideology. And actually, if anything, it has only aided me in being as successful as I am.

P.I.T.A Youth

When I was growing up, I was told that success equated to getting a good, corporate job, and that was the ONLY way to experience life-long stability.

This never felt right to me, though. I felt that there had to be a better way, because corporate jobs just don’t suit every personality. This is especially true of us P.I.T.A’s! We like to buck the system and think outside the box, which does not typically translate well into a corporate environment.

Even so, there were a few times that I tried to make it work. Oh, how I tried! I wanted to be considered stable and successful, and more than anything I wanted to make my family proud. But I never felt at home in a corporate job. I felt like those jobs sucked the life right out of me.

Why I Left Corporate Jobs Forever

Whenever I worked at a corporate job (and I’ve had a few!), I spent a decent portion of the day not doing anything productive because I had already completed my tasks. I really HATE being bored, sitting around and doing nothing, even if I am getting paid for it. I would much rather be busy, working my butt off the whole time than sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, trying to find things to do, or waiting for new opportunities to crop up.

To me, that is just ridiculous!

Then, after spending most of the day doing nothing, I would have to go sit in afternoon traffic for another hour, and once I was home it was time to decompress, which took at least another hour, if not all night.

For me, working a corporate job meant I was on someone else’s clock for close to 12 hours a day, yet only getting paid for 8. And the 8 hours I was getting paid, I wasn’t being nearly as productive as I could be on my own.

It became clear to me that leaving corporate jobs for good could not only free up my own personal time, but also potentially increase my income! I am much more productive overall when left to my own devices than I ever was when I was restricted by the constraints of a corporate job.

Tips to Being a Successful P.I.T.A

As a life-long P.I.T.A, I have learned quite a few tips, tricks, and lessons about success along the way. Some of these are:

  • Think outside of the box
  • Increase your problem-solving skills
  • Apply skills from previous jobs to new and unrelated fields
  • Never stop learning
  • Bust your ass at every job to prove that you can do anything
  • Keep lines of communication open with old co-workers, because you never know what future opportunities may lie there
  • Live your successful life — it’s different for everyone, so don’t let someone else determine what success looks like for you
  • Keep a budget and check it weekly
  • Don’t forget to save a little bit each week and put it into a high yield savings or retirement account

In Summary

Because I chose to live my life authentically, on my own terms, and in a way that I can be proud of, my income has the potential to be limitless. Every hour that I work is productive.

Therefore, I am able to work less hours and enjoy my life, while still continuing to learn and grow and increase my income. What a win-win! To me, this is the only way that I can live my life successfully. It took me a while to learn, but now there is no going back.

While being a P.I.T.A takes work, creativity, drive, and critical problem-solving skills, it is the only way that I get to live my life happily and successfully.

In what ways have you found being a P.I.T.A a good thing?

Read Across the Spectrum: Books by Autistic Authors

Great reads for parents of autistic kids! Books about autism by acutally Austistic authors.

It’s Friday, so it’s time for another edition of our Friday series for Autism Acceptance month! Acceptance means that not only are you aware of autism, but you appreciate all the beauty Autistic individuals bring to this world. You not only make yourself aware of the needless systemic obstacles Autistic people face because of the systems we have in place–you actively work to change those systems.

The awesome thing about this is that you don’t have to–nor should you–take my word for it. Instead, you can turn to people who are Autistic themselves. These talented writers and authors will show you the world through their lenses, across nonfiction, self-help and sci-fi literature.

Non-Fiction

The ABCs of Autism AcceptanceThe ABCs of Autism Acceptance

by Sparrow Rose Jones
Get it here.

“Sparrow Rose Jones is probably best known for their blog, Unstrange Mind: Remapping My World, and their previous book, No You Don’t: Essays from an Unstrange Mind, both of which deftly narrate their examination of themself, their identity as an Autistic person, and the  changing state of access and civil rights for Autistic people. Their essays have covered everything from famous civil rights and criminal cases in the media to sexuality and relationships, life skills, coping mechanisms, and personal introspection.

In The ABCs of Autism Acceptance, Sparrow takes us through a guided tour of the topics most central to changing the way that autism is perceived, to remove systemic barriers to access that have traditionally been barriers to Autistic participation in some sectors of society.

They also take us through the basics of Autistic culture, discussing many of its major features and recent developments with a sense of history and making the current state of the conversation around this form of neurodivergence clear to those who are new to it, whether they are Autistic themselves or a friend/family member looking for resources to help themselves support the Autistic people in their lives more fully. While it is impossible to capture the full scope and diversity of Autistic communities—and there are many of them out there—this book does serve as an important conversation starter, a primer, and a humble guide to the world.

In these 26 short essays, you will find most of the topics most often blogged about by Actually Autistic authors, including footnotes, resources, and references to other writers whose works continue the conversations that start here.”

The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children

The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic ChildrenEdited by Michelle Sutton
Get a copy here.

“How do I help my child to thrive? To be healthy and happy, to fulfill his or her positive potentials, and to grow up to lead a good life? Every parent of an autistic child struggles daily with this question. Just trying to understand an autistic child’s actions, feelings, and needs can seem like an overwhelming challenge. It doesn’t help that professional “experts” and the mass media bombard us with all sorts of harmful and terrifying misinformation about autism.

Fortunately, more and more parents are discovering an essential source of insight into autism: the writings of autistic adults. Who better to help us understand autistic children and their needs, than the people who have actually been autistic children?

Listening to the insights and experiences shared by autistic bloggers has helped Michelle Sutton to help her two autistic children to thrive. In The Real Experts , Michelle has collected writings from a dozen autistic authors, containing “insider” wisdom on autism that has been invaluable to her family. The result is an extraordinary resource for families with autistic children, and also for educators, therapists, and other professionals.”

Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking


Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking
by Julia Bascom

Get it here.

“Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking is a collection of essays written by and for Autistic people. Spanning from the dawn of the Neurodiversity movement to the blog posts of today, Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking catalogues the experiences and ethos of the Autistic community and preserves both diverse personal experiences and the community’s foundational documents together side by side.”

Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness

Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness

by Melanie Yergeau
Get it here.

“In Authoring Autism Melanie Yergeau defines neurodivergence as an identity—neuroqueerness—rather than an impairment. Using a queer theory framework, Yergeau notes the stereotypes that deny autistic people their humanity and the chance to define themselves while also challenging cognitive studies scholarship and its reification of the neurological passivity of autistics. She also critiques early intensive behavioral interventions—which have much in common with gay conversion therapy—and questions the ableist privileging of intentionality and diplomacy in rhetorical traditions.

Using storying as her method, she presents an alternative view of autistic rhetoricity by foregrounding the cunning rhetorical abilities of autistics and by framing autism as a narrative condition wherein autistics are the best-equipped people to define their experience. Contending that autism represents a queer way of being that simultaneously embraces and rejects the rhetorical, Yergeau shows how autistic people queer the lines of rhetoric, humanity, and agency. In so doing, she demonstrates how an autistic rhetoric requires the reconceptualization of rhetoric’s very essence.”

Fiction

Monsters in My Mind

Monsters in My Mindby Ada Hoffmann
Get it here.

“Ada Hoffmann’s MONSTERS IN MY MIND anthologizes 49 pieces of the author’s speculative fiction and poetry published between 2010 and 2017, including ten new, never-before-seen pieces. The author’s range is on full display in this collection: the 49 works alternate among traditional short stories, flash fiction, microfiction, poetry, and prose poems, creating a rhythm and flow to the collection as a whole and uniting stories with otherwise multitudinous and divergent content. Much of the work is suitable for readers of all ages, although it is worth noting that several stories deal frankly with issues of gender, queerness, sexuality, grief, and loss. Every piece in the collection constructs an immediate and effortless world whose rules are self-evident, although rarely explicit, plunging the reader again and again into an ever-expanding literary multiverse.

When it comes to themes, MONSTERS IN MY MIND spans the speculative fiction universe, demonstrating that the genre itself is bound only by the limits of the human imagination, and that its “raw materials” continually reemerge, shift, act, and process in ways few can articulate. The collection is not merely “weird,” as so much speculative fiction is; it is weird in the best ways, weird in the service of, and underscoring the true expansive potential of, the human. By exploring deeply human experiences like loss, grief, duty, love, courage, and loneliness within the context of parallel universes, fantasy quests, reimagined fairytales, near-sentient AI, velociraptors, and the occasional cephalopod, the collection creates a form of access for the reader: a way to approach, understand, and even befriend the monsters in one’s own mind through the exploration of worlds that are vividly different, yet achingly familiar.

The collection is essential reading for anyone interested in speculative fiction, the shifting boundaries of more “traditional” science fiction and fantasy genres, queer theory, or monster studies.”

All the Weight of Our Dreams All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism

by Autism Women’s Network
Get it here.

“Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many autistic communities, often speaking out sharply on issues of marginality, intersectionality, and liberation.”

This Other World

This Other Worldby A.C. Buchanan
Get it here.

“When her son reached adulthood, Vonika made the decision to emigrate to Kami, settling in the nation of Temia. In the years since, she’s married a Temian woman, established a distinguished career in architecture, and found the sense of belonging that she, as an autistic woman, struggled to find on Earth.

But the approach of old age brings decisions that Vonika knows she can’t avoid forever. And as Temia teeters on the edge of war, Vonika finds herself a reluctant emissary for peace.”

Want more from Autistic authors?

Check out this Actually Autistic Book List on GoodReads!

#InternationalWomensDay2019 PF Blog Tour

Hey, guys! March 8th is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, I got together with some fab personal finance bloggers to arrange a blog tour. Each one of us answered the question, “Why is financial independence important to you as a woman?”

Keep scrolling to read Robin’s piece. It’s deep, and will definitely leave you thinking about money on another level.

Want to check out other posts in this blog tour? You can do so here:

As an Asian immigrant woman, I have to survive on my own and have learned not to use my background to lower my ambition.”

Elise on brokeGIRLrich

“When we were fighting over where to live, he ended the fight one day by just going out and buying a condo.”

Mel on Mastering the Side Jam

 

“You’re forced into poverty. You learn to get by on what little you have. There is no pathway to financial independence. And that’s not okay.”

Femme Frugality on A Dime Saved

“Women have worked so hard for the rights that were begrudgingly given to us. Let us not relinquish them. Even in our minds.”

Robyn on Little Seeds of Wealth

And now, without further ado, I introduce you to Robin from Mastering the Side Jam:

Why Financial Independence is Important to Me as a Gen X Woman

In honor of International Women’s Day, a group of female writers were asked to share why financial independence is important to them as women. I decided to participate, knowing my story might be a bit different than others in my age range. I’m located squarely within the Generation X era, generally considered to be middle-aged.

Far enough from youth that one would assume I’d have a fair amount of knowledge and wisdom. And while I won’t exactly dispute that, I will say I’ve worn my share of blinders over the years.

But also, I love having opportunities like this, as it provides a venue to experience and share many unique perspectives. Because every story is different. Every scenario weighted and affected by millions of decision points. Not one person has a life, or background, or “why” precisely the same as someone else’s. We are a product of our genetics, upbringing, influences, experiences, actions, choices, and challenges.

So why is financial independence important to me specifically?

I think it essentially comes down to how complicated life can sometimes become. Because for all the planning, and education, and best-laid plans …. well, you’ve probably heard the end of that phrase. No matter how much time you’ve spent in painstaking preparation, things don’t always go the way you expect them to.

Family Structures

Case in point: I am in a long-term, committed relationship. However, I am not married. Our relationship has lasted a lot longer than the marriages of some friends and peers. But just the same, we have no legal document saying we are responsible for, or indebted to, one another.

In addition, I’ve been the parent of two children who are not my own. I chose to raise them, provide for them, support them emotionally and financially. That was my decision. Do they owe me anything? No, of course not. I am not their mother. I love them like the children I never actually had (and never will.) But they technically don’t owe me a thing.

As I grow old and gray, there’s no guarantee I will have anyone to care for me in my later years. There’s no reason to assume they will provide assistance, like one might expect children to care for their aging parents. While I do give them the benefit of the doubt, since they’re amazing young men — it’s not a position I prefer to even put them in.

In my early 20’s, I willingly entered into a relationship with a single father of two children. Their “real” mother had hightailed it out of there, for reasons no one will ever know. But I knew what I was getting into. I was fully aware of what I might be giving up. How they would always come first, since they were his flesh and blood. I was just the person who cooked, cleaned, paid bills, packed lunches, attended school conferences and baseball games.

Putting the needs of all others above my own, because that’s what a mother does. (Even though I’m not a mother.)

Three women wearing pink and white khimars standing looking out at a blurred vista underneath a flowering, pink/purple plum tree. Underneath, pink and black words on a white field read "International Women's Day Personal Finance Blog Tour"

They’re grown. What next?

Twenty years later, they have sprung into adulthood. They’re self-sufficient, and I am nothing but proud of all they’ve become. But as they get older, their lives will begin to evolve as well.

They’ll fall in love, get an apartment or a house, begin a family. Do I want to remain a part of their lives? Absolutely! But that’s not an ironclad promise. Because their “real” mother may enter back into the picture. They may begin to feel nostalgic, and forgive all of her transgressions.

And if their father and I part ways someday? There’s a chance I may be cut out of the fold. After all, he is true family, and I’m not. What loyalties do they have for me, over him? When push comes to shove, if they’re forced to take a side, I know it would be him. It would have to be, since he’s their father.

He and I have never married, which I suppose makes it both better and worse. Better, because we legally don’t owe each other a thing. Worse, because it would almost be too easy for one of us to make that decision, take that leap. No messy divorce red tape to cut through, because we are just “dating.” (For twenty years.)

Because of that, he also does not owe me anything. All I did was raise his children, keep house, act as disciplinarian, and give up a huge chunk of my youth and child-bearing years. But that was my choice. I know that, and have no regrets.

Raising those boys has been the absolute best part of my life, and I truly believe it was my purpose. But also, acknowledging there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “Why bother changing now? We’ve made it this far — and marriage is just a piece of paper.”

And now that I’m a bit older, wondering where my life has gone — there’s a renewed frenzy to start getting my financial house in order. Because back then, I was needed. Whether appreciated or not, I was a staple in the household. They couldn’t get by without me. And now they can.

So the years of putting others’ needs ahead of my own are finally beginning to gnaw at me. A lack of savings, inadequate retirement plan, barely perceptible emergency fund. Those are things I’m in the process of building, because no one else is going to do it for me.

I have to learn how to be self sufficient, financially independent, if need be. To have a handle on where the next phase of my life is headed.

I know plenty of middle-aged single women, who have been operating on their own for many years. And I know just as many middle-aged married women, who have the inferred safety of leaning on another for financial worries. And I’m not sure where I might fit in with these groups.

Because although I’ve been part of a family unit for an extended amount of time, I’m still essentially on my own. When it all comes down to it, no one is going to take care of me, except me. And that is my goal in pursuing financial independence.

I’m the odd woman out. Or am I?

So why is it important for me to be financially independent? Because there’s that possibility I may have to fend for myself one day. No one else has an obligation to care for me — which is a scary realization.

And while my circumstances may be a bit unique, I’m pretty sure there are women out there who may be in a similar situation. Putting too many eggs into one basket. Betting on something that is far too risky to gamble.

After years and years of giving pieces of yourself, be careful you haven’t given away too much. Make sure you have something else to fall back on, just in case you need it. And if you don’t — well, then that’s the best possible insurance policy for you to hold on to.