14 Jun Plush Pillow: First night at second location
A few months ago, I slept in a toddler’s bed for the first time in my life. Well, not counting when I was a toddler myself. I could complain about how it wasn’t a big comfortable queen-size bed with plush pillows, but I’m not. The bed was actually the perfect size. Although I own a queen-size bed, I only sleep on one side of it so in actuality, sleeping in my nieces bed gave me a different perspective on what I’ve valued and have financially invested in over time.
Which brings me to my next point: I know that God has me exactly where I’m supposed to be. Heck, I certainly didn’t plan any of this! The natural part of me desires nice things, the newest trends, the most fly shoes, and a fresh sew-in (Malaysian me please!) but the spiritual part of me is saying that I was wayyy too comfortable. Let me explain; I didn’t worry about much, not that I was careless, but I think I may have taken some things for granted. I’ve lived everywhere I wanted to live, geographically and physically. Mostly anything that I’ve ever wanted, I’ve purchased. Hard work pays off. So how would you feel if you didn’t have all of your materialistic possessions? Would you still feel like yourself? I know that I’ve put too much value on things that do not matter.
So how did I end up here? I didn’t have much growing up; most of my clothes were hand-me-downs’ and others, well, they were free 99. You know what I’m saying, right? I shared a bed most of my life and when I didn’t, it was a bunk bed. I can recall many nights feeling my brother tossing and turning above me. Yes, I shared a room with my brother, two of them to be exact. Food options were very slim in my household. I will never eat chicken flavored noodles again. However, this forced my siblings and I to be a little creative. Syrup and sugar sandwiches don’t taste so bad.
When we moved to Chicago, I had no clue how the kids would treat me, but I realized very quickly that they were not going to be easy on me. Not only did I witness several students being bullied, I had to defend myself on several occasions, one of which became physical. First fight and I’m only two weeks in. SMH This is when I became very self-conscious about my attire and my teeth. Up until that day, I wore the same blue pants and white top to school every day of my seventh grade school year. On the other end, I became accustomed to using the Celie method when laughing or smiling. I’m sure you’ve seen The Color Purple. I had the biggest gap, and not only did it make me self-conscious about my appearance, but it also affected my self-esteem. I needed to make some money and I needed it fast, so I started braiding hair and invested the profits into a candy stand. I learned fairly early how to sale, negotiate and flip money and I didn’t have to sell drugs to do it.
Nevertheless, I spent every penny. I bought everything, and if I couldn’t get it then, layaway me please: ECKO Girbaud, Apple Bottom, Fetish, Nike and Timberland were some of my favorites, but my obsession for clothes wasn’t nearly as bad as my shoe habit or the biggest transition that was about to happen; I started wearing heels. The diva in me had arrived. I lived in Bakers; they always had the newest trends and to top it off, they always had the best prices. I would buy the same shoes in two colors. I was slowly becoming a trendsetter; so instead of me asking people where they shopped, they were now asking me – the table had turned.
I always been good at saving money to purchase what I wanted, but I was even better at spending it. It was easy for me to create and sustain these habits over the years, so I expect that I have an even longer journey ahead of me – one that is, hopefully, filled with creating new habits and unlearning old ones. The good news is that I haven’t shopped in nearly a year and quite frankly; it’s not on my priority list. As I look around this room, I see totes and bags full of good quality clothing that I’m blessed to own; buying more would only feed my ego. I’m not saying that I’ll never shop or purchase the newest trends again; I’m saying that my priorities have changed. My prayers are no longer about thanking God for food on the table and clothes on my back – even though these do matter, but now it”s more about ears to hear, air in my lungs, and eyes to see – the things that matter more. I know now that unless I was completely removed from my situation, there was no way possible that I would’ve learned this lesson.
My friends ask me often, “What is your plan”? Oddly, I do not have one; what would normally cause an anxiety attack is now bringing me peace. God is preparing me a new level and while in this season, it is clear to me that God is building my character and exposing me to situations that require that I depend on Him.
What behaviors do you need to unlearn?