Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Looking for Abundance

Living in New York City is difficult, even living in Brooklyn, outside of the madness of Manhattan, is tough.

I've been a stay at home mom for 4 months now. More if you count the months when I was pregnant and unable to work. It's a really strange phenomenon for me. I haven't been this dependent upon another person since I was 17-- and even then I was bringing in a few bucks with babysitting or ushering or selling marshmallow treats to the highschool kids at lunch time. Now, if I want to get a coffee, I have to ask Sean.

It's so wierd. And money is tight, too. It's not like Sean is a doctor or lawyer or works on wall street with all those people, who, I'm sorry to say, don't really contribute much to the furthering of society. We make it week to week, and some weeks are tighter than others.

I just came back from the grocery store, and something about it made me cringe. Something made me feel poor. Not just broke, but poor. There's a difference. Sean gave me 30 bucks to go grocery shopping, which is not enough, wasn't even enough when I was shopping for just little old me. Not only that, but I spent about ten on lunch today at my Mommy's group. I needed to eat, you know? So here I am, trying to get basics to hold the house over until the next time I go shopping. I'm going for the cheapest rice, and just one head of garlic, skipped the fruit all together, because I can get Sean to bring some on his way home from work.

I put my groceries on the conveyer, and everything was white. White fish, white baby cereal, white rice, white garlic, white onions, white cheese, white pasta. It seemed empty to me, it seemed poor, it seemed like the way you eat when you have nothing but change for a bagel. Yikes. It gave me the willies. Of course, when I got the bill, it was ten dollars less than I thought it was going to be. (Probably because I left behind the cereal and ground beef, without subtracting the cost from my mental ring-up)

So, I'm walking home with my bag of groceries and my sleeping child, my boots soaking from the brief rainshower, and in my head, I'm thinking, I feel poor.

I feel poor. I grew up poor, and with that came the shame of poverty, of not being able to afford simple things, of not having what others had or doing what others did. The shame of feeling like you somehow did not belong, and instead lived on the outskirts of the world, looking in. Walking down the street, I felt that shrinking feeling, that "poor" feeling, but I had to stop and really examine it.

I don't have a lot of money, but I have the opportunity to stay at home with Gabriel, to care for him and spend time with him, without having to scramble for daycare. I have a large comfortable home in a neighborhood that is alot safer than the one I grew up in. Sean and I go out often enough, for brunch or a beer at the neighborhood pub. I have the time, although I don't use it, to make art and write. And if I wanted too, I could get the money from Sean to buy my favorite fruits and veggies and fresh mozzarella and steaks, at least some of the time.

See the thing about poverty is that it is a state of mind. It's about seeing the lack, not the abundance. It's about feeling trapped, and not having hope. I could be selling my soul on Wall Street for 150 thou a year, and feel utterly poor. I could be making 15 thousand working on a farm and feel truly blessed. I know that there is actually more to poverty than just this, but it's a big component.

I really want to start looking at my abundance. I want to simplify and enjoy the life I have, instead of wanting more and more stuff that really isn't all that important.

I think it would be nice to feel that satisfaction.

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