I grew up in a household with a motto of “honesty is the best policy.”  The only time I was ever grounded, it was for lying.  

It was a good rule.  

In the last year, the importance of transparency has been continually reinforced. Last spring, I discovered I had asbestos tiles in my building.  Most people encouraged me to hide it and remove it on the sly.  And even though it was scary announcing to the world, it started a series of events that resulted in an honest solution to the problem. 

Since then, my uncomfortable truth bombs have been producing honest solutions all over the place. Some are small.  I tell my family when I’m struggling keeping up the house, and they pick up the slack.  I tell my car mechanic that I don’t remember to change the oil very often, and he adds an “oil extender” to it. 

Some are big.  Take this year’s taxes.  For a decade, my parents have encouraged me to be very open when doing my taxes as an independent musician. Let me tell you: it was embarrassing to track just how many miles I traveled for just how little pay.  This year was the first year that I “earned” any sizable income; it is all the money that I raised during my Kickstarter campaign to help restore my building in Rockford. Unfortunately, that money is all taxable. 

Fortunately, I was able to use all of those tax loss carry-forwards from the last decade of honest tax reporting to help offset that income.  (Meaning, I didn’t have to lose quite as much of that campaign money as I was prepared to lose…hallelujah). 

It’s hard to legitimately tackle a problem if the problem is never brought out into the open.  And so I’m sticking to the path of transparency on all fronts. This month’s problem is how to tackle my building’s lead paint.   Wish me luck finding the upright solution to that one.  I’ll realllllly need it. 

Until next Sunday, I’ll leave you with this picture of my friends Aerin and Mai, who came to my building today to help me scrape tarpaper.  Why did they come?  Because I told them openly that I was working hard and could use some help.  That’s the moral, Reader: put it out there.  That’s how stuff get fixed. -Em

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