I don’t know when it started, like the specific date when I awoke and realized I aint really living, but I remember feeling trapped. Stuck, in a rut because I have no butt. Look, we all know what it’s like living paycheck to paycheck with maybe $20 or $30 left over, and that’s if budgeting was done properly. Rent was $736 (I lived above a garage in some complex back in 2012 that had the most insane amount of palmetto bugs and I lived in terror) and I was only bring home about $800 every two weeks but for some reason that just didn’t make ends meet. It just doesn’t. I wouldn’t say it was bad money management but I’m 23 living on my own and I have bills on bills on bills and basically, I’m poor. There was food shopping, light bill, cell phone, cable and believe this, the damn WiFi was separate from the damn cable bill but came in a package. Man, 2012 was a fucking year and so was 2013, 2014, 2015 up until 2016 when I got my break but that’s for another time. Tonight’s story is about how my poor ass somehow mustered up the ability to travel without ever leaving the state with about maybe $15-20 to spare only on Saturdays. Instagram was like really up and coming around this time, well social media in general and I was just so tired of seeing all the things people were doing and the only thing my broke ass was doing was going to work in the middle of the day and coming home around 11pm at night (I worked 10hr shifts 4 days a week Sunday- Thursday) and it sucked. The gays were ruling the brunch scene and I was beaming with jealousy behind the screen looking at how fabulous and fierce they looked. You know what my social media consisted of? My face because I couldn’t do anything else. Monetary restrictions really put you in a bad place, mentally especially, because I’m sad I can’t do much and no matter how hard I work or how many hours I put in, something was always coming up, always ruining my shit. I just got tired of not seeing things and always feeling like I’m not living. I mean seriously though, how many times can you see my face before you’re like “ok Brittany we get it, you have green eyes and big teeth” like what else you got? To make matters worse, one year Facebook did this year in review of all the pictures you posted and guess what my whole entire year consisted of? My damn face. Had I really had nothing else going on? A whole year goes by and all I’m doing is working and taking selfies? Disgusting. Sad. Out right pathetic. What is that? That’s called being poor with Wifi access. I’m working, barely getting by and I’m not even enjoying my life? Come on, our 20s were terrible as it was, I mean, there were extracurricular activities I definitely was indulging in but that was not bringing me no money unless I…..but I’m a professional so I would never. I was sad and I made a promise to myself that I never want to spend another year like that. Next year when Facebook did that year in review thing, I would have something to show for and I did.
That’s where my love of museums came from, I won’t give my actual love for the arts any credit tonight, just Facebook. I went all over Florida because Facebook put me in my feelings. It gave me that outlet, allowed me to visit and see different worlds, cultures, people, and languages all for under $25-30. Didn’t break my pocket, I could still pay my bills and it was only like two Saturdays out the month I could afford to do such. So I ran with it and went all over the state of Florida and saw as many museums as I could because I could. I had figured out a way to travel. I always brought my girlfriends along because what’s seeing shit without good company? What’s experiencing shit without your favorite person? It just began to grow into something that I’m extremely proud of. It gave me purpose, gave me something to look forward to. I was given the ability to travel without ever leaving the state and I was brunching, because mimosas are important. Museum culture is important. The fact that I was, as nerdy as it sounds, learning shit is important. The fact that I was meeting people and having crazy conversations in art museums is important.
I learned to travel through time, through cultures and worlds because of museums, and that’s important.
I wasn’t trying to get super poetic and delicate with my words as this was more of an ode to my love of museums, the reasoning behind why I make sure to visit a museum no matter where I go. There was a time when I couldn’t afford to travel as I do now and my way of seeing the world was through the art of others.
As poor as I was, as restricted as I was, I’m really grateful for museums giving me just a glimpse of a world I could have never imagined.