Questions from Melony Hill’s Writing for My Sanity Therapeutic Writing Workshop (@STMSBmore), held online.
• Do you feel like you know your purpose in life? If so, what is it? If not, is there anything holding you back from discovering your purpose?
I feel like I am ultimately here to bring peace. To make spaces for it, to magnify it, to grow it Peace is what I seek, what I thrive in, where I feel most at home.
However, I recognize that peace is not accessible for everyone, and I don’t think that this is right. I believe everyone should have the right to access peace, and that oppression needs to be removed in order for that to happen.
This sometimes means that systems and norms and traditions have to be disrupted and changed and abolished for that to happen.
• Are there areas of your life that you notice you compare yourself to others? Why do you feel you do this if so? How does the comparison make you feel?
I find it very hard to not compare myself to others, constantly, about everything.
Learning “mindfulness”, the art of being in the present moment, has helped, because most of the time I am not around people to compare myself to. But sometimes it still creeps in.
I think I use comparison to try to understand the world and what is happening to me. Sometimes life just doesn’t really make sense, so I try to compare myself to others just to get my bearings. I think this kind of comparison was built into my upbringing too. My parents, my teachers, everyone around me would constantly compare me to other people who were doing things better or worse than I was, and so now it feels habitual.
I don’t like the comparison at all. It makes me feel inadequate a lot of the time, and makes me second guess my actions rather than letting me be sure of myself.
I feel like my default is to be sure of myself, but the comparison gets in the way of that.
• How is your relationship with money? How were you taught about finances and budgeting? What would your life look like if your relationship with money were different?
I actually think my relationship with money is pretty good. I save a lot, and once I have a set of rules to follow about setting aside money for certain things, I do pretty good with.
I think the frustrating thing for me is that I do not always know the wisest decisions to make with money. For example, I was given the advice of buying property right as I got married, so I bought the house I currently live in. That turned out to be just a couple of months before the economic recession, and the house has been underwater ever since.
I have learned recently that it would have been better for me to let go of the house right away, but because I didn’t know that, I held onto it.
A lot of my knowledge of money came from my Mom, who is a shrewd business person. She thrives on finding good yard sale and thrift store deals, and prides herself in making a dollar stretch. We played Monopoly endlessly when I was kid, which taught me a lot about managing money and resources… but also was extremely traumatic to lose over and over.
We were very poor, though I did not know this until I got to high school. That comparison came into play, where I would see other kids wearing Nike and Adidas and FUBU, which made my homemade clothes my mom had stitched together feel insignificant and comical.
My Father’s approach to Monopoly was very different from my Mother’s. He freely gave to all of us on the board. He would give breaks on rent, and was generous with his resources. If someone needed something, he would just give it to them, or trade it for next to nothing. He almost never won because of it, but it showed me that there was another, kinder way to handle money as well. A way that could help everyone.
Though I still struggle with money just because I don’t have very much of it, I still manage what little I have well. The biggest thing I could learn is how to plan things better so that the money I do have will work better for me.