1. Owning or mastering something. Used with of: one who is possessed of great wealth.
2. Controlled by or as if by a spirit or other force; obsessed: a teenager by love possessed.
3. Calm; collected: one who remained possessed in times of great trial.
I would have never imagined how relevant that description of possessed could be to how I'm feeling. I find it fascinating the meaning includes the topics of wealth, love and great trial. Sure I'm reading it in such a way to find relevance, or am I?
As mentioned previously I would categorise myself as a have-not in terms of wealth or material possessions. When it comes to spiritual, emotional and basically all the other good stuff then I am indeed a Boss by all accounts.
However as much as I appreciate that I live a happy and satisfied life, the lust for that of which I do not have is still strong. This remains a real problem, regardless of my intellect, my understanding of what's important and the lessons learnt during a fairly shitty childhood. By any means necessary for me only meant I amassed a debt to the value of Wayne Rooney's hair implant.
By paying off that debt, by using a budget and other tools I'm ensuring a more prosperous future for myself and my family. In order for my children not to suffer in the same ways I did I simply cannot buy what I want. Easy right? Wrong. You'd be forgiven to think I have four mouths to feed, four backs to keep clothed and a roof to be kept over four heads. But you'd be wrong. Simply put I'm not only a provider in this family but also a dependant in the form of a child that never had. Getting your head around that can't be easy, unless you walked a mile in my shoes. I don't expect understanding and I'm not looking for pity or sympathy, I'm just stating.
Nostalgia has a lot to answer for in my world, it's on thing I cannot give into and one of the hardest to deny myself.
What I'm trying to remember is the difference between want and need. Believe it or not that isn't as obvious as it looks to be. I know my son needs new school shoes next term, so why am I trawling through endless styles and models of men's footwear online? It maybe the Sale section but that doesn't make it right or acceptable, at least not to me. Are you starting to see my problem? It comes back to the separation of self complex (not exactly related but I love how things tie in sometimes if you look in the right places), which me is in control?
Husband me says we can use that money for something practical to benefit the family. Father me says both children can have new shoes for that price. Then there is that voice saying "Hey don't I deserve that too? And won't it make up in some way for not having it before when I really needed it?"
It shouldn't be a surprise that I know the right answer but what could be is that I can't always say no to that guy. I make decisions I struggle to deal with, often. I'm my own worst critique for sure. My wife understands me, the supports me and would never pull me up on something like this. Probably because she knows I'm likely to be kicking my own ass and trying to learn from my own perceived mistakes. Maybe just because she loves me and the problem is little and nothing we can't handle together.
Being used to struggle, hurdles and all that of course I choose a career in the retail industry and surround myself with temptation. I immerse myself in an environment and culture of seeing, spending and thirty seconds later searching for that next shit. All in the name of what? In hope of achieving what? Not happiness and certainly not satisfaction. Mick Jagger & the Stones got it right, you really can't get none, but if you try you might just get what you need. Shame that brings me right back to the start. 9 times out of 10 I only want, not need. Are my shoes exposing my socks, are my socks exposing my toes, are any of the pairs I have unsuitable for work or any other activity for that matter? Of course not. So, logically I don't need any new shoes. I have no reason to be on forums and fashion websites checking for what's about to be released.
And that's all good but who can live that way? Unfortunately not me. So I feel frustration, disappointment and even anger at not having something I accept I don't actually need. I'm
caught between being right and wrong in most situations and circumstances. I read this quote from Joel Osteen that said "God wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labour". Yes! There ya go, a co-sign from the man upstairs so what's the problem? Let me tell you it doesn't help.
I turned to the Internet for guidance, inspiration and greater understanding. So far I've discovered that so many struggle with this, I am not alone. Just run a quick google search for materialism, commercialism and the like and there are so many articles and blog posts by people who recognize this is a big problem in their lives.
I've decided to take action as It's up to me how this plays out and I found this article that brought to light questions I never considered before.
I truly feel having some guidelines will help me. Taking the time to note down, ask the questions and answer truthfully should stem the flow of money from my bank account to those evil merchants out there. Don't for a second think that the livelihood of any store owners will be affected, nor that the economy will suffer. You see I don't actually spend frivolously or in any way as to warrant an intervention. Never have I lived so comfortably, minus savings sure, but free from worry of being destitute.
So why the blog post you ask?
Well, there is a deeper version of this post asking questions much greater and searching for more understanding. This version is an attempt to highlight a real problem that people face, albeit in a lighthearted way. I read with some astonishment recently that a fellow blogger was able to buy four pairs of shoes last month. Not only that but was on the hunt for more now that the calendar had changed. Please don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that. What I took from that was he is ABLE to do so. That's the difference physically, but not necessarily mentally. I wonder though if he has ever questioned himself about the validity over the ability to do such things?
A guideline I stuck to successfully was if I can't wear it I don't want it. With only the one regret. Now I will put to use the points in the article by Seana Turner. In order to give myself a break (worth doing once in a while) I should mention I've acted on those lines already without realising it.
Case in point being the 400% Be@rbrick recently purchased. I will love having that to look at once I've got it on display. Same thing for a painting bought for the wife that has yet to be framed and a work of art given to me by a dear friend. These things mean something and give me no feelings of guilt.
It's also worth looking at this from a spiritual point of view. I found this Interesting piece here and although its written by an American Christian, the message still rings true for anyone in the free world. Again, well worth a read and it brings up some very poignant questions and feelings for me personally.
Would I have slept well tonight having bought a pair of boots for the All Saints sale? Honestly no. It's crazy how small insignificant things can distract you from the things you really do want. I don't need anything, but I do want a few things that I can hand on my heart say I will cherish with absolutely no remorse. And better still my kids will eat and not experience playground bullying or fingers crossed be writing a similar story in the future. I was brought up to not ask for anything, to feel nothing but guilt for normal desires of which I only required guidance and understanding.
I plan on squashing that now, and though I've taken the initial step of removing myself from seemingly harmless environments I ask for your support. I tweeted earlier that should anyone see me buying anything other than Art, Collectibles, a Tattoo, Music or something for my family to kick me square in the nuts. I mean it too. My wish list consists of a few things and I better have a great f'in excuse for buying something else.
For now I want my wish list to remain under wraps, as a couple gifts are on that list, and a couple last chance items I don't want to miss out on by giving someone the heads up. Now I just need to have some patience and wait for the money to be available. Ok one little teaser, I would love to have this on my wall!
All of this is from the perspective of someone with limited wealth and substantial responsibilities. Some of you will relate and I applaud those that don't have to. Peace.