Echoes of Another Life

I went shopping for my party today.  I don’t remember the last time I stepped into a liquor store or a fancy gift shop.  But, I did remember the feeling—picking up and sniffing pretty candles, recognizing wine labels, touching lush fabric.  It was as if ghost images of my old life bled through today’s snapshot.  But, they were someone else’s memories—a very different me.

And while I enjoyed myself—found pretty napkins and nice Champaign for the punch—I don’t miss that life anymore.  Living 200% below the poverty line has made me much more careful and practical about money.  Even with my propensity for compulsive spending during bipolar episodes, I can usually live within my means now.  I’ve learned there’s very little I must have.

I thought celebrating the finish of Callinda in style meant spending enough money on a party to feel normal (i.e. not poor and not crazy).  I’m grateful to my mom for gifting me with the funds to make that party a reality.  But, I discovered today that part of that drive, that need, was an echo from a life that no longer exists.  I really could have been happy with M&Ms and cheap punch, because that’s who I am now.  I am poor.  And I am crazy.  I don’t need to prove that I’m anything else.  And the party would have been just as joyful.

Somehow, this understanding makes me feel sweeter and expansive about the party coming up on Saturday.  My gratitude seems to spread out like melting ice—a slow seep dampening everything around me.  In this moment, I am perfectly content with my life.  With the poverty, with the challenges and gifts my illness gives me, with the support and love of my family and friends, with my sore fingers from crafting presents for those who want to celebrate with me.  In this moment, I’m most grateful for the fading influence that those ghost images hold over me.  Slowly, slowly, I’m setting myself free.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fiddle gal
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 20:23:24

    This is such a powerful piece, acceptance of who you are and where you are in life. Wow.


  2. littlesundog
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 22:07:12

    This is one of my favorites posts! Being content in the moment, and happy with a more simple way of life is the most wonderful thing I can think of! Freedom, liberation and joy… does it get any better than that?


  3. carlarenee45
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 23:14:29

    That is what biggy small meant by “mo money mo problems” lol I remeber me and my ex husband got along a lot better when we were poor and had nothing but when he started making money his personality changed and it was part of the reason we didn’t stay married.


  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:07:17

    Gosh, I had to learn this same lesson. However, I’m so glad your mom gifted you the funds to do this party.

    I missed reading your blog this weekend. I was in Nashville functioning as a wedding correspondent of sorts, for one of my blogging buddies. Talk about a hoot!



  5. pegoleg
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 09:30:33

    That’s a great reminder of how much more pleasant life is when we learn to be content. Money isn’t the root of all evil, but extreme lack of it can certainly cause a lot of problems. You’re so right about the middle ground.


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