The realizations and steps forward in my last post were huge for me. ( click here to go to the Money Conversation part 1) Facing my shame, stepping through it to a place of vulnerability, and making a commitment. It was very difficult, and a part of me, a part of the story I made up about who I was died. I was creating change. Brené Brown says that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
I was on the right track, and I did everything “right” I opened up, I was vulnerable, I became okay with my situation. But I still was hung up about money. I thought about it all of the time. Which money I needed to put in which pile so that I could do the things I wanted to. I hoped I would have enough to go on vacation. Why wasn’t I making more at work, You get the idea. Money was still a big part of my life.
Next came some big realizations. When I was growing up I felt like we didn’t have any money; to what extent this is true is beyond me. Parents don’t usually share the actual state of family finances with their children. We reused foil, and I remember my mom sending the utility companies only partial payments. As I grew up, I was scared to not pay the bills, and I always made sure that I had a cushion.
Realization #1: I was a money hoarder. I did not want to let go of my money. I wanted my savings account to be full, so that if something happened I would be okay. Yes, this is a product of my need to control things so that I don’t have to feel pain or trauma.
Next I started thinking about what I actually used my credit cards for. For me it was printing and framing for art shows, photography equipment, artistic endeavors, (you might think to yourself, hey that’s okay, she’s an artist, and sometimes you’ve got to do what you got to do). I also used credit cards for anything I really wanted to do, but had not been saving for. This included concerts, dinner with friends, a new pair of jeans. And lastly, I used my credit cards for any unexpected expenses that came up, fixing the car, new shoes for work. Now remember, I had a savings, but there was something in me that couldn’t bring myself to use my “real money” to do anything fun or creative.
Realization #2: I used credit cards to pay for unplanned life, and my creative outlet. I had tied my debt and created shame around having spontaneous fun, and my creative outlet. On the surface I knew I felt shame about my debt, but I had no idea that I had intertwined it so deeply into the things that brought me joy.
You see, it goes deeper than money, as do most issues we have in our lives.
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