After my last extremely materialistic post (yes, the one about Disney. Are there more?), my friend Whitney reminded me of the time some jerk on Twitter said I must be, “part of the 1%.” And although I knew Whitney was teasing me, by bringing it up again, I may have gotten a little defensive (okay, I was a lot defensive), prompting her to text back, ‘I’M KIDDING’ in all caps.
The truth is, I’m sensitive about materialism. I’m very aware that I am blessed beyond measure, and yet at the same time, I actively try to keep my material belongings in check. And it’s not even like I’m doing it just to be a saint. We actually just don’t have that much money. Not only do I frown upon those who spend money gratuitously, I actually couldn’t physically go out and buy most of the things I see my friends buying anyway.
Sometimes, I take this to the extreme. Take, for example, my favorite black flats. They just happen to be my only pair of flats. I remember the gluttonous day that I purchased them at Sears for $14.99. I felt so guilty for spending money on myself, and yet so happy to be wearing them with my jeans and sweater. I looked FINE I tell you. So fine.
That was 2008. No joke, and I still wear them and they are still my only pair of flat shoes. Every once in a while, when they start to look really bad, John will use black shoe polish to cover up the bad spots and then he will beg me not to wear them out in public (not really, but he has nicely advised against it). I know I need to get new shoes, but these are comfortable and they work fine. It’s hard to spend money on new shoes as long as these don’t have a hole in the bottom.
I’m not telling you this sad story so you will let me claim my part of the 99%, or excuse me for spending money on vacations to Disney (which I clearly enjoy and can’t seem to stop mentioning). I’m telling you this so you can share this story with the other girls in your office and then laugh really hard at my expense.
No! That’s not the reason. Focus! I’m telling you this because I’m being super defensive! But just let me have my moment and then you can go back to rolling your eyes at me.
It’s true: we don’t own a lot of stuff. Without even trying, we are minimalist compared to most of the people in our social circles. However, compared to the rest of the world, we are drowning in over-abundance. And I hate it. I hate seeing it in other people and I hate it even more when I realize that I am no different. It makes me feel guilty, and then I purge a bunch of closets and drop it all off at the Catholic Action Center. Later, when I forget how guilty I feel, I talk myself into thinking I deserve a nice vacation. But never a new pair of shoes, because that would be way too indulgent. (What?!)
So thanks to the asshole on Twitter who called me out, and thanks even more to Whitney for bringing it up again (Oh, I’m kidding, my friend. I know you were just teasing). I do feel bad for saying I want to take an expensive vacation….the same way other people feel bad for buying expensive clothes, or having expensive television channels, or car payments that are more than my mortgage. Or maybe they don’t feel bad; There seems to be a huge sense of entitlement these days.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I just need to go polish my shoes. I have a business meeting and I want to look nice.