abundance · community · debt · deprivation · finances · growth · integrity · recovery · self-care · self-support

No Soup For You.

It’s astonishing, the lengths I’ll go to deprive myself.
The thick pattern of deprivation, living small, quietly,
unobtrusively, knocks on the door of all my actions and insists on being
allowed in.
Luckily, my latest personal recipe is: Me + G-d + Friends +
I was on the phone with a friend the other day discussing
the fact that I needed a spending plan for my upcoming trip to Seattle and
Boston this Saturday. I told her that I’d already “found” $235 in my usual
monthly spending plan, which means whittling funds from other line items, like
entertainment, personal care, household purchases–line items that
fluctuate anyway, so I consider them “fundgable” when they’re really not. (I’ve
This isn’t to say that my spending plan is a monthly set of
10 Commandments, chiseled in stone and fatal when not adhered to. It’s an
ideal, a goal, a guideline, and the actuals that I tally at the end of each
month tell me the story as it happened, instead of how I thought it would.
Usually they’re pretty close these days.
However, when my friend and I were speaking about my trip,
and we calculated aloud bus fare, BART fare, coffee&food at 4 airports in
10 days, groceries, eating out, incidentals, tchotckes, gas money… well, we
figured it out to about $400, a number I’m supposed to double check before I
Immediately, I begin mentally looking at those fundgable
categories, which I’ve already cut thick slices from this month to support the
trip. And I start to get panicked and fearful about the trip and how much I can
spend, and try to pre-manipulate how I can spend less than I actually know
I’ll need.
This, friends, is the compulsion. How can I whittle down my
needs, how can I deny what is actually true about my needs, hide them, dismiss
them, and discard them, so that I can live in a way that I misguidedly think
will support me?
Luckily, I was on the phone with my friend as we spoke all
this out, and I admitted to her that I have nearly a grand in my vacation
savings account… but, I told her like a child revealing they’ve stolen a
Snickers, I’m “supposed to” be saving it for my hypothetical trip to Paris with
my mom next Summer.
I don’t want to give up my Snickers. I don’t want to break
part of it off to eat now, because I believe I just need to save it for later,
or there will never be enough.
This is preposterous. And where voices that don’t live
inside my own head are so valuable.
She didn’t even have to say anything, as I admitted my
vacation savings money could easily provide the additional $200 that I’ll actually need for this trip. I just talked myself through it,
admitting it, accepting it, saying that I see the fallacy and the deprivation
in that kind of
save it ALL for some unknown date and live in fear
right now
thinking. And I told her I would
move that money over this week, so that I could use it in today, for the
intended purpose: vacation.
It’s not actually called “Paris Vacation with Mom” savings
account: It’s just called Vacation. And if this isn’t the time to use those
funds, when I need them, when I’m plotting to slice myself and my funds even
thinner than they already are this month, then I haven’t learned a thing.
Yesterday, I did move that money. It felt illicit, illegal almost. I felt
nervous and anxious and excited and proud to know that I was supporting a
vision for myself without putting myself in deprivation.
The ridiculous part is that I will easily replenish that money in the vacation account over the next few months. “Vacation savings” is a
line item in my spending plan every single month. It’s not like I’ll never get to go
on a vacation again because I’m using this money now.
But my addiction to deprivation and fear continues to knock
on my door and insist entry into my life and my decisions. So, luckily, today I have
an antidote: Me + G-d + Friends + Action. 

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