Dreaming of a more Honest World

I’ve been thinking about writing this post since I had a dream a couple weeks ago. In the dream, one of my good friends openly said I was poor in some conversation. It wasn’t to shame me, and I didn’t feel embarrassed with people knowing that. I just said, “Yeah, that’s about right,” and continued with the conversation. And upon waking I was struck by how different that is than reality. Friends wouldn’t usually just offer up that information so nonchalantly because they would worry about how it would make other people perceive me. Unless I was with a small group of very close friends, this would be an awkward moment, not a routine one.

But why? Why is there shame associated with being poor? So often, it’s not the fault of the person who is poor. Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you’re uneducated, lazy, or irresponsible. People may discriminate against you because of your gender, sexuality, race, appearance, or anything else, even when you’re completely qualified for the job. And the cycle of unemployment is vicious. So often, you’re expected to have experience before you can get a good job. But where on earth are you supposed to get that experience if everyone is looking for people with experience? Or maybe you’re poor because one of your family members has a chronic illness, and all of your extra money goes to their treatments instead of to luxuries that other people find so commonplace.

To be completely fair, I’m poor but not super poor. I’ve never worried about where I was going to live or how I was going to eat. But I’m poorer than most of my friends. I live in a townhouse instead of a big home. My family can barely keep two cars for longer than a year, so I haven’t thought about getting my own car. I never went to New York with the choir and drama departments in high school, and I have never seen a show on Broadway. I borrowed my friend’s dress for senior prom. I’m so used to looking at costs when I go out to eat that I almost always opt for a less expensive option even when someone else is paying for me. I even like to brag about how little I spend on clothing. And the only thing that kept me from needing to do work study this past year at college was the fact that I earned a $7000 scholarship.

And you know what? I’m happy about that. I didn’t write those things so that you would pity me. Sure, it would be nice to be able to care a little less about money, but it’s also good to care (then again, that’s coming from my lips; I’m sure my parents would like to care less). But this has been my life so far, and I’m okay with that. It’s made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t trade the past for anything.

So there, I’m not ashamed of being poor, though I don’t even know if the label truly applies to me. There are people much poor than me, and people much richer than me. Don’t be so quick to judge (judging quickly is a whole other problem we have in society, and it pervades literally EVERYTHING). There isn’t inherent shame in how much money you have, only in how you spend the money you have. And in the end, money doesn’t really matter. It’s not what gives life its true worth.

I'm really good at acting like I'm rich....

I’m really good at acting like I’m rich….

Epylle Spydre

p.s. I tried hard to make sure that it doesn’t come across that I don’t like rich people, but if it does, I’M SORRY. I love you all, regardless of how much money you have.

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Being Okay with “Okay”

I once asked a friend how her day was, and she said, “It was pretty okay.” I, being used to hearing “okay” with a somewhat negative connotation then said, “I hope your day becomes stellar.” And then she said this: “Thanks, but given the circumstances of the rest of the world, pretty okay is just fine by me.”

And that small statement shocked me. When we’re sad or depressed or hungry, a lot of times, we like to remind ourselves of the rest of the world and think of how blessed we are. We say #firstworldproblems and try to laugh it off. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Very rarely do we say that when we’re just okay. Just okay is boring. It means nothing special happened; you could have had a fantastic day, or you could have had a terrible day. But just okay? What’s up with that? We like action; we like it when something happens, even if it’s not exactly what we wanted. On okay days, we say, “I may not be having a bad day, but I deserve better.”

“Okay is just fine by me” is a beautiful thing to say. It is the epitome of contentment. And I’ve already written several posts on contentment, so I’m not going to restate myself (the best one is here). And it really comes back to the fact that happiness is a state of well-being and not a feeling. Your life doesn’t have to be great for you to be happy. We don’t have to have a stellar day to be happy. We just need to be okay with being okay. Or maybe being okay when we’re depressed and sad and feeling under the weather.

And another thing, when we’re sad, I think a lot of times we like to blame ourselves. Sure, we blame other people for the circumstances that put us into that place. But then we say, “Why can’t I get out of this? I should be stronger than this. Happiness is only a step away, why can’t I get to it?” We feel guilty because we do think about all the other people who are hurting worse than us, and that makes us feel like weak, superficial jerks. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be in pain. It’s okay to be angry. It happens to all of us, and just because you can’t make yourself happy doesn’t mean you’re weak. It’s when that pain stays in your life, becoming your cloud of depression and bitterness that it becomes unhealthy. I’m not really the person to say exactly how to get out of that place, but what I really wanted to stress is that it’s okay to be in pain.

It’s okay to have amazing days; don’t feel like you stole it from someone else. It’s okay to be in pain; it’s not your fault. And it’s okay to be okay; that’s contentment. 

Epylle Spydre

p.s. Don’t be this light covered in ice. Let your light shine, okay or not!
(I wrote “okay” so many times in this post, it’s beginning to look funny…Woops!)

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photo credits to my loverly sister 🙂