Jun 7, 2014

When I was young, I dropped a bowl onto the kitchen tiles. An accident, of course. But I cried. Mum came and helped me clean it up and calm down, but I still cried. Why? Shock. Shame. Fear of getting in trouble. The unexpected.

Another time my mum went on a holiday and brought me back a present. It was a necklace; black leather cord with a pendant made from some kind of polymer clay. It was made to look like a picture of a lizard in amongst some dots and colours, looking very 'outback Aboriginal' in its design.
I felt special recording that gift; it was precious to me, because it was mine, and because my mother had given it to me. I kept it in my pocket on that first day, and I loved to play with it; the pendant felt slightly rubbery and bendy and as I kept testing its strength and malleability between my fingers, it snapped right in half.
I cried. I took it to my mum, and she reassured me that we could fix it, but still I cried. Why? Shock. Disappointment. Pity. I was so sad for myself - I had just got this new thing, this prized and precious possession, and it was already destroyed. Sure, it could be glued back together, but it would never be the same again, never pure and new again. It was ruined forever and I was in mourning.

Today a plate broke at my sister's house. Part of a one-of-a-kind thrifted set with unique painted details. It's my sister's crockery, but even I loved that plate. It wasn't my fault, but my sister wasn't home to witness, so I sent her a photo with excuses and reassurances that the whole thing was an accident, or course including an obligatory sad face emoticon in mourning for the plate. I was expecting retribution and scolding in reply. I received this:
"It's okay - not precious!"

And that is precisely when I sat down and began reflecting upon all of this. All my life I have put items and objects and things in a place of protection and preciousness, often before even myself.

Earlier this year I had a car accident. It was my fault, but an honest accident nonetheless. It's left me quite cripplingly in debt, and for the days following the accident, I was an awful mess - but my sister said this to me:
"Em, the most important thing is that no one got hurt. There are more cars and there is plenty of money in the world, but there's only one you. You need to look after yourself."

And that is true. It doesn't immediately seem like entirely helpful advice - I'm still in debt, regardless of my self esteem. But it has been a battle since then to not define myself by my financial status or what 'things' I have. Coupled with having a new job, necessary for the debt, but in a semi-rich area of town where status is quickly applied with money and possessions, the battle has been a difficult one.

Who would want to be friends with me when I'm at a financial loss?
Who would think anything of me when I don't have rich fancy things?
Why would anyone want to hang out with a girl who drives a shitbox car?

You know what, though? Those questions shouldn't matter - anyone choosing their friends based on that criteria is misguided.

There IS only one of me - my financial status, the things that I have and don't have, the car I drive... All of these things affect my life, but they aren't me. I'm always me, rich or poor. 

And you are always you, rich or poor,  healthy or not, happy or sad, here or there. 

This year my goal is to minimise. To stop being precious about my replaceable things and realise that I am precious. That I am more important than the things I own. That things don't own me. 

That all being said, I'm off home now to clean my room. To get rid of the things I don't need and make that space my bitch. I mean, make that space my own, and make it life giving. To reflect that I am one of a kind and value myself far above any of the clothes or trinkets I own.

'But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.'
-Philippians 4:10-13

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