Ask Willie D: I Won a Settlement, Now Everybody Wants to Get Paid. Help!
[Editor's note: Rap pioneer and Geto Boys member Willie D answers reader questions for our sister paper, Houston Press. Something on your mind? Ask Willie D!]
I WON A SETTLEMENT, NOW EVERYBODY WANTS TO GET PAID
Photo courtesy of Peter Beste
Dear Willie D:
Three years ago I was involved in a major accident that left me partially crippled. Recently I was awarded a large settlement for pain and suffering and to pay for medical expenses. Before I could go to the bank and cash the first check, my relatives and friends came at me with a barrage of requests to borrow money. Some of the people who contacted me for money I hadn't heard from in years.
I live modestly so the only big purchases I made were repairs to my house, and I bought each of my four siblings a new vehicle. In the first month alone I wrote so many checks to people borrowing money that I went through two checkbooks. None of the checks was for over $5,000, but I was writing them so fast I didn't realize I had already loaned out over $168,000.
That's money I know I'll never get back, but it's okay because it made me feel good to help them out. Even so, once I started telling people no, most of them stopped calling and coming around. I retained a lawyer to set up a trust for my kids and me, so we will have a comfortable future. But I'm wracked with guilt for telling my relatives no whenever they ask for money because I know they need it. How do I rid myself from feeling culpable for their financial distress?
Wracked With Guilt:
People are in the position they're in for a reason. You rid yourself of culpability by giving yourself permission to say no. It's okay to say no because you didn't put your relatives in the bind they're in. It's your money and you have the right to spend it how you want.
I used to have a problem saying no until I had to file for bankruptcy and couldn't collect on those outstanding family loans. Now I wake up in the morning, look into the mirror and practice saying no just in case somebody calls me begging for money.
If you don't remember anything else, remember this. If the banks won't loan your relatives money and they're in the business of loaning money it's probably not a good idea for you to do it. Don't confuse love for your family with exploitation.
MOVING TOO FAST?
Dear Willie D:
I met a very nice guy one month ago and married him yesterday; of course my family thinks I'm out of my mind for marrying him so quickly. My sister and mother say that I don't know enough about him but I disagree. I know that he loves me and he treats me very good. I feel it's right because we click. We are on our honeymoon at the moment. The reason I'm writing to you is because of a comment a woman made tonight.
We were at a show seated at a table with her and her husband. When I mentioned that we married within one month of knowing each other, she jokingly told both of us to have fun while it lasts. We laughed and blew her off, but the remarks are stuck in my head.
I expect query from my family members because that what families do but for a total stranger to say something like that I'm really starting to get nervous. What have I gotten myself into?
I need to clear my head. Any comments from you and your readers would be immensely appreciated.
First I'll give you the bad news. The divorce rate is astronomical for people who marry too quickly. One month isn't enough time to get the scent of your last boyfriend's cologne off your pillows, let alone get married. Of course there are exceptions. There are also those who dated for five years, got married and then divorced shortly thereafter. But in most cases the marriages of people who don't take the time to get to know who they're climbing into bed with will typically end much sooner than those who do.
Quick story: my oldest brother Warren was dating a woman and he told me everything was going great. He raved about how wonderful she was and how happy she made him. However, he said he didn't feel it would work because she was too perfect. As we sat in a booth at Church's Fried Chicken eating our lunch, as respectfully as an agitated little brother could be to his big brother, I told him to shut up and be thankful for the woman he has now.
The good news is you're still married and at this moment your husband hasn't shown you anything but love. Author Stephen Richards said, "Even though your thinking might not be right for others, just so long as it's right for you then that's all that matters." Hopefully, this helps to clear your head.
More Willie D wisdom on the next page.