My old unconscious mind was quite a princess. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t wait to have a mansion in every state. I can’t wait to own 17 Louis Vuitton bags and have a butler. Once I’m rich, I can be happy and finally rest.’ The only thing I can say to that is ‘That poor soul.’ I would say this is a rather appropriate response to, what I like to call, a materialistic princess wish list. It actually makes my stomach churn like butter thinking I used to perceive a successful life this way.
When I was in community college, I was a fashion merchandising major. I had high hopes of getting accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. My dreams were to become a high-profile icon in the fashion world. Fashion is an art, an art where you can express yourself fully. That was the draw. The turn-off was the materialistic viewpoints of the industry, the glorification of a false identification. This was a huge turn-off to me. I eventually switched majors, unwillingly knowing my intuition was just doing its job. I just would never be happy following that career path.
In my 20’s, I have moved at LEAST 7 times. Stability is a foreign language to me, and although I love it, I secretly hate it at the same time. There are pros and cons to each. But with my frequent moving, I learned to abridge my belongings, and to my surprise, actually enjoyed the ‘simple life.’
There’s something about simple that fills my heart with so much PURE joy. REAL GENUINE JOY. I think it’s the combination of knowing I am capable of being unattached to physical objects and my deep emotional knowledge of the formula, lots of stuff doesn’t equal happiness.
With that being said, I just want to make sure it’s clear that I LOVE MONEY. It took me a long time to cope with that statement, considering money can’t buy you the most important things in life. I would constantly feel guilty, when I hustled waiting tables or worked overtime at my office job. But money is an exchange of a value, and it is okay to accept it for a service you provide. As long as I can remember that fact, I can conquer my guilt. I also find the more conscious I have become, the more I spend my money on truly meaningful things, such as experiences, health and wellness products and services, travel, and my loved ones. Not a bad way to spend my hard earned GUAP (people still use that slang for money, right?)
When I am at my most sensitive, I tend to be very delicate to the idea of gifts. When I feel as if gifts are a forced gesture, it can really set off my sensitivity alarm. Two really distinct examples come to mind.
I was once in a relationship with someone who used gifts to show (my viewpoint was he used them to BUY love, too) love. Maybe it stemmed from his background and how he was raised, but it was something about him that really bothered me. So, low and behold, when he was flirting with other people, canceling dates, showing up drunk, running late, a gift would appear. Now, to CERTAIN people, this gesture would be perceived as SWEET. To me, this gesture was considered highly disrespectful, SAD, disappointing, and offensive. This gesture was translating to ‘I can’t give you what you genuinely need, so take this jewelry instead. Since I’m buying you stuff, I can continue to do whatever I want regardless of your feelings.’ That is the literal translation from the thoughts swarming around in my mind. Low and behold, I would cry, every time this particular boyfriend would buy me something materialistic. It just wasn’t me, or how I wanted to be treated. Call me crazy, but keep your jewelry and be a good man instead. Low and behold, every time this particular person bought me something, I would cry myself to sleep.
Another story that comes to mind was this past Christmas. If you’ve been following this blog or know a little about me, I have been practicing and studying Buddhism for the past two years. I do not identify with the Catholic religion anymore (sorry, big Italian family). So Christmas for me, is just a time to be with family. Every year, without hesitation, my sister texts me telling me it’s time to start planning the Christmas gifts. This text gives me anxiety, EVERY TIME, WITHOUT FAIL. I show little enthusiasm.
So this past year, my mother asks me what I want for Christmas. I tell her nothing; just donate to my Buddhist Meditation Center. Christmas day approaches, and my mom has bought me three pairs of panties that are too big, a jacket I already own, and more lotions than an average person would ever need. After meticulously unwrapping my last lotion, I begin to feel tears in my eyes. I guess it was a combination of the following:
- My mom not respecting my wishes of a donation to an organization I felt very strongly for.
- The thought of all this money being wasted on material things that are completely and utterly unnecessary. The monetary value of these gifts could have fed a family of four for an entire week.
Because I feel this way, people often mistake me for cheap or ungrateful. This thought alone bothers the shit out of me, but I can see why people perceive me that way. I just have to trust that the right people know that I’m genuine and that my intentions are good. This is just how I feel and I just can’t help the level of sensitivity I oftentimes experience.
I think the best kinds of gifts are gifts from the heart. Deep down, no matter how much people deny it, everyone just wants to be loved, appreciated, and mostly, UNDERSTOOD. We all just want to be loved by the people that get us, and SHOWN that, and that’s really all that matters anyway.
So, material things, you can suck it.