From Rags to Riches

Sometimes it can be difficult to spend money.

I am not talking about the difficulty of budgeting one’s funds.

Or flat out being broke or stretched way thin financially.

I am talking about these little pockets of things that I find it difficult to spend money on.

They often, if not usually, have to do with ordinary and necessary things.

Underwear. Bras. Curtains or window treatments. Towels. An air conditioner, a new mattress.

There were these things that I felt so guilty doing, such as buying new bras.

I often literally feel nauseous after doing so.

It is as if I am more comfortable neglecting myself than giving myself the “luxury” of having them.

There is a mentality that I absorbed somewhere along the way that to not be wanting is to be “bad” in some way. As in morally.

Those who do not struggle are extravagant. (This is a negative.) There’s a judgement towards them.

Those who earn and struggle, who often “do without,” are just better people than those who “have,” who didn’t work for it, who’ve had life handed to them on “a silver platter.”

There was a real disdain for people “born with a silver spoon in their mouth.”

And so living well, with all the creature comforts is something to be grateful for and be generous around (which I am.) But it is also something of an embarrassment, something I am ashamed of.

I am talking unconscious here. This is something I have been unraveling for some time.

It feels scary to have “enough.”

Now, putting fear fo scarcity thinking aside, for I do have that as well at times despite having worked on that for some time, I mean that it feels dangerous to be a person who is not wanting. Who has enough. Why is this?

I know I am the child of parents who grew up post World Way II and that certainly shaped their attitudes, which informed mine.

My father knew poverty, but he could also have been the poster child for The Great American Dream: a self-made man who took advantage of ROTC and Navy scholarships to get an education, he was by all accounts a hugely successful man.

Maybe he felt conflicted about his own success. I know I do.

I wish to embrace the abundances in my life, and I do: on a daily basis I practice gratitude for all that I have, in every way: love, health, family, friends, freedom, opportunity. Material comforts and luxuries.

I believe in being of service. In giving back to the Universe. I believe in circulating abundance.

And I feel guilty. And ashamed. And aware of the privilege of being a white, American woman who grew up middle class.

This is not at all where I meant to go in this blog. I meant to examine why it is hard to buy new socks to replace old, worn ones. To examine the little ways I find that I still neglect  and limit myself.

But here I am writing about all of this. And just now in this moment, I am attempting to suppress a desire to apologize for being so privileged that I can write a blog about my guilt around being white and privileged. I feel guilty around my own guilt, for that, too is privileged.

Is this just a reflection of the climate I am living in?

Are we given messages that it is wrong to have a “rich” life? (Rich in love as well rich in abundance.)

Is the only “valid” life one of being down-trodden, of struggling?

How do successful and abundant people handle their abundance?

How do successful and abundant people of color handle their abundance? Do they feel as if they are betraying something or someone?

What is extravagance? Is it a concept invented by moralistic religious groups to encourage tithing?

What is monetary currency really anyway? Is having it or not any indicator of anything?

I am confused. And I don’t think I got here on my own. (Meaning, I think perhaps we as a society are confused. There are certainly mixed messages in our media and pop culture.)

I clearly have a lot more unraveling to do! I would love your thoughts around any of these thoughts.

Inspired by The Daily Post Dsily Word Prompt: extravagant

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