I am in over $70,000 in debt with student loans, a few private loans, and credit cards. The private loans and credit cards were taken out just to survive the hard times my family have gone through, which we are still either paying off or fighting off the debt collectors on. My credit rating is shot because of this and there have been several times where we thought we were going to be without a home. This is the cycle of debt people talk about. Our debt started to get really bad after we had our son, which happened to be 2008, the start of the financial crisis, yay! Thank you greedy bankers for making my son's early years a rollercoaster ride of near abject poverty.
At the moment, I am only working 28 hours a week as a photo retoucher and graphic designer while I am finishing my BFA at University of Houston-Clear Lake; my wife is working 40+ hours at a dead-end job just so we can make some of the bills. I am also taking on several side gigs to help close the gap and keep our heads above water, all the while taking several courses and trying to be a great father to my son. My wife hardly sees our son because of her schedule; she wakes up early every morning to send him off to school; other then the two days that she is off, that's the only time she sees him awake. This has put a huge strain on our relationship as well; we have gone over a year without a date or time to reconnect before.
Because I came from a poor family, they could not give me the financial support I needed to continue my education, and now I am stuck with over $60,000 in college loans and maxed out on pell grants. I have never had a chance to just focus on my artwork because of this as well. I create when I can, but I have never fully had the time or space to actualize my creativity. So many ideas are in my head waiting to get out, but I either can't get the time or money or space to bring them to life. It is a struggle. I know that if I can just get a foothold and complete a body of work or be able to fully flesh out my portfolio, I can make something more of myself. Which is also frustrating, since I envisioned myself much further along in my career as an artist by now, and sometimes I get crippling doubt on if it is too late for me. I also want to break the cycle of debt and poverty, so my son does not have to struggle like I did.