A few weeks ago I wrote about the idioms in our lives that were left to us. Those that inspired us, kept us going, or truths that help us go through this journey of life. Many wrote to share their profound inspirations from fathers and mothers. Today, I m facing those other statements or comments that have trapped us or kept us from growing. Those that steal our creativity or our self-worth and chain us for a lifetime. Whether it be a thoughtless remark about our weight, our nose, our profession, or how we decorate, the instant it is said, maybe falling off the back of the one standing beside you, but hits it mark on you; and it plants itself in the middle, germinates from that little negative seed and grows into a mighty oak of doubt and fear. Most of these remarks were so off-handed or so flippantly made that the speakers probably don’t even remember saying them, but those words settled into the core of our being and shaped us into who we are. It may have been so internalized that we don’t even know where it started but every incident closely related just intensifies the negative thought, and it grows.
My issue is money…or rather the lack of it. I don’t even remember the initial statement that might have caused me to feel that I can't spend my money because a sucker-punched incident will be around the corner, and I won’t be prepared. I don’t hoard my money. If that were the case, you would see a large bank account or stuffed mattress somewhere. I would be one of those recluses who when they died, left bajillions somewhere. NO we live paycheck to paycheck, and I feel a constant struggle to keep on top of every debt, and literally shut the pocketbook before the month runs out. Trying to plan trips is a nightmare because of the expense. I don’t enjoy shopping (retail therapy? HA!) and usually I look at the price tag before I even look at the style or color. Now this may be considered a blessing to some; I know my husband doesn’t mind his wife’s desire to be frugal, but I am now facing the fact that my issue is not the lack of money, rather that it is me. When something surprising happens, I want more than anything to erase that initial thought of “Oh God, how much will this cost us?”
I have a classic picture of my sister and me at a market that shows the vast difference between our way of looking at the world. We are at an open market and Janie is showing me the wares of the booth, so excited to find something for me to pick out. I’m standing right next to her, and the clinched fists along with the look on my face says it all. How did these two girls grow up under the same roof and be so vastly different?
We weren’t considered wealthy but we certainly did not do without. “Money doesn’t buy happiness” we were told, but I sure would like to do a test drive. My siblings have all been much more successful financially than I have been and they all seem pretty darn happy. So what made me this way? I remember my mother juggling the budget on my father’s feast or famine paychecks that was typical for most salesmen. I remember Mom saying, ”Someone in this family has to be the Scotsman.” “Don’t hang anything on the walls in your room; we may have to sell the house soon.” I remember choosing to stay in town and go to the local state college instead of going to the more private (and expensive) Christian College away from home because it would be cheaper. I wasn’t told I couldn’t go, but I know it was a relief to hear me say it. Maybe the desire to please is attached to this money issue. If that’s the case, I may have made a life time of pleasing others and never myself, and it just surfaces as a money issue. If this is true, I am at least in the beginnings of recognizing it, so hopefully I can begin to work on it. I think I have heard that there is a book out there called Your Money or Your Life. I think I had better go check it out. Then I can start working on those other past words cramming my head about my lack of decorating talent.