So here’s the first thing I’ll say about this absurd manufactured mini-controversy:
If you donated money to me during my recent cancer fundraiser, and you’re not happy with the fact that I recently spent some money on a somewhat-more-expensive-than-usual pair of dressy comfortable shoes bought largely to be worn in professional settings, I will refund your donation. Email me at greta (at) gretachristina (dot) com, with the email address you used for PayPal and the amount you donated, or with the check number and the amount you donated. When I confirm that you did in fact make a donation, I will refund your money.
I don’t actually think that this controversy has any merit, and I don’t think I have any moral obligation whatsoever to do this. But I also don’t want anyone who donated money during my fundraiser to be unhappy about that donation. So if you made a donation and you now want it refunded, let me know, and I will refund it.
Now, a few brief words about this absurd manufactured mini-controversy.
To fill you in, in case you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about: A few months ago, when I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, I did a fundraiser on this blog to cover my expenses while I was recovering from the surgery. (Since I’m now a full-time freelancer, the months that I couldn’t work meant months with significantly reduced income, and since I don’t have a day job, I don’t have disability insurance.) The fundraiser exceeded my wildest expectations: after about a day, I had raised enough money to cover my expenses for several months and then some, and in fact I pulled the plug on the fundraiser the day after I began it, redirecting people instead to donate to Camp Quest or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk via the Foundation Beyond Belief.
Last Friday, I posted a Fashion Friday piece, in which I discussed a pair of shoes I had recently bought: a pair of dressy comfortable shoes that are somewhat more expensive than most people typically spend on shoes. Some people have taken exception to this (yes, it’s the usual gang of haters), and are expressing their objections on Twitter and elsewhere.
Stephanie Zvan and her commenters have already covered most of the reasons why this is ridiculous. The high points: 1: A pair of well-made comfortable shoes that will last for years, bought largely to be worn in professional settings, is not an extravagant expenditure. 2: Many people who donated said specifically that they wanted me to use some of the money in fun ways that would give me pleasure. 3: In any case, when you donate money to someone, you don’t get to dictate how they spend it. 4: When men spend money on clothing, it’s seen as a legitimate expense; when women spend money on clothing, it’s seen as frivolous fashion.
I just have one important point to add to what she said.
Given that I am now working again, and am earning my own income again… at what point is it okay for me to start spending my money the way I want to?
I am now working again, and making my own income again. I was bringing in a small amount of income even when I was sick, mostly from book royalties, and I am now working again and earning income again (although not as much as I was before the surgery).
At what point is it okay for me to spend that money as I choose?
Does the fact that, in October of 2012, I did a fundraiser to help cover lost income during recovery from cancer surgery mean that I should never, ever spend any money that I earn on anything that a handful of haters on the Internet deem frivolous? Should I post in advance about what restaurants I’m going to, what clothing I plan to buy, where I plan to travel, what holiday gifts I buy for my friends and family, and get approval before I make these expenditures? And for how long? Do I have to wait six months? A year? Five years? Or am I never allowed to do this ever again?
In case anyone was wondering: I spent the overwhelming majority of the donations from that fundraiser paying my mortgage several months in advance: something which relieved me of an enormous amount of stress and worry, and enabled me to focus my energy on my recovery. Most of the rest got set aside for taxes — I do, in fact, have to pay taxes on donations — and most of the leftover from that went to bills, groceries, paying off debt, etc. I do still plan to make a healthy donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation through the Foundation Beyond Belief: when I first proposed doing this, several commenters advised me to wait until my health had returned, but now that my health has largely returned and I feel confident about eventually recovering completely, I think it’s okay to do this, and it will make me happy. And yes, I spent some of the money on things that I didn’t absolutely need and would not die without. Which, as many commenters on Stephanie’s post pointed out, several of my donators specifically said I should do. And now that I’m earning income again, I am spending some of that income on things that I don’t absolutely need and will not die without.
At what point is it okay for me to do that?
This is a bullshit controversy, manufactured by the usual gang of people who hate Freethought Blogs and are always looking for a reason to snipe at us. But I will say once again: I don’t want anyone who donated money during this fundraiser to be unhappy about it. So I will say again: If you donated money to me during my recent fundraiser, and you’re not happy with the fact that I recently spent some money on shoes, I will refund your donation. Email me at greta (at) gretachristina (dot) com, with the email address you used for PayPal and the amount you donated, or with the check number and the amount you donated. (If you’re someone who I requested to never contact me again because your private correspondence to me was borderline threatening, I will rescind that request for this purpose only.) When I confirm that you did in fact make a donation, I will refund your money. Thank you.