Financial vulnerability – You are not alone

By Stephanie Barbee | Nov 17, 2022

Let’s talk about vulnerability and finances during the holidays. The only way I know is to share my experience. It is my intention that this helps someone.
I grew up with a single mother who didn’t drive in an area outside of a major city. It was tough for my mom as her circumstances changed suddenly. She never accepted government aid and often worked 3 jobs. Sometimes we had nice Christmas’ and most of the time we got clothes. This is what I came to expect, although in my head I said I’d be “different” when I was a parent. So, I did what I was told would keep me out of that situation and got my master’s degree. I was good for a while until I decided to start my own business without being aware of the core wounds of money that still lived inside me.
We never accepted help although we were taught to help others. So, as I work hard to translate the skills of my education into the life of my dreams I was promised, I am smacked with the reality of my now. I can’t give myself or my children much more than a roof over their heads and food in the refrigerator. I don’t have savings and if I experienced any major life event, my family would be at risk of homelessness. I realized I needed to make some changes, so these are the steps I’m taking.
1) Talk about it. I am a very private person and have a hard time asking for help. Writing is my outlet so here I am!
2) Sit with the emotions. I have felt a rollercoaster of emotions over the last few weeks. I’ve felt anxiety, shame, self-doubt, self-judgment, and disgust at letting myself get where I vowed to never get. I allow those feelings to come and go.
3) Ask for help. This is the part I’m working on. It’s hard. My first step was alerting my social circle I wasn’t ok and telling the truth about what I’m going through. It’s hard AND so is being in this current place. I also am open to more community resources including churches, our urban league, and more.
For several reasons, the holidays can be hard. Finances don’t have to make them harder. There are resources out there and many times the challenge is feeling worthy. I know it’s not easy to move through. I believe if I keep going through, I’ll make it to the other side; that’s everything I desire and deserve. I believe that for you too! Remember, you are enough regardless of how much is in your account or under your tree.

About the Author
Bio: Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily Black Queer people who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. She also speaks, trains, and consults. Feel free to contact her on her Clinicians of Color website:


Stephanie Barbee

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