An Anna & Angela post.
I really don’t like my rain boots. It’s raining today and every time I put on these boots, I think, “I really don’t like these boots.” Cute rain boots exist, but mine are not cute. They are utilitarian and totally functional, but they have zero personality. I wear them because they were free. Sent to us by a very generous friend of my husband’s who works for an outerwear company. Free and void of any personality. I really don’t like them.
But I wear them every time it rains, and when it’s not raining, I don’t shop for new boots. I don’t even think about it. But every time it rains I’m reminded that I do things for other people. I do things to make other people happy. I wear the boring rain boots because my husband always worries about money and why would I buy cute, expensive rain boots when I have a perfectly good pair of rain boots that just happen to be ugly? I’m not that girl – the one who has to have cute things. I’m the one who does what’s easy, partly because I’m lazy and mostly because I don’t like to rock the fucking boat.
Argh. But what does MY boat look like? Am I constantly a passenger on someone else’s fucking boat? On my boat, we wear cute rain boots that make us feel good even if they cost more than rain boots ever should. I want to be the captain on my own boat – or better yet, a pirate. I will take over my own boat because the captain version of me is a pussy who needs to have her world rocked a little bit. She needs to wake up and realize that IT’S OKAY TO HAVE YOUR OWN BOAT!! Your boat can veer off course from time to time and rejoin the fleet later on in the voyage. Your boat can explore. And hey, the people from the other boats might even want to come aboard once they see how fun and free and expensive your boat is.
What the fuck am I even talking about? I don’t sail. I have no idea how to carry this metaphor through. But I know that I don’t like my rain boots. I know that I don’t take very good care of myself. I know that I feel eternally conflicted; caught between doing what’s best for the people I love and doing what I actually want to do. Thankfully, the two are very often one and the same. But every now and then, I just want to buy the cute, expensive rain boots.
A few years ago I bought red rain boots with white polka dots. I forgot them in the closet for a bit. It would rain and I would wear whatever shoes I had on. Then one day I found my polka dot boots and my heart soared. I thought, what ever would be better than polka dots on a rainy day.
So I wore them.
And they smelled like plastic off gassing. And they made my feet slide around inside because they were molded from poison.
So I put them back in the closet. And every time I opened the door I could smell them more. Which didn’t make sense but seemed to in fact be the case.
So I got rid of them in the move. I was planning to donate them with all of the other stuff that I gave away, but I didn’t want anyone else to have to suffer the fate of the cute boots. The smelly, uncomfortable poisonous boots.
As for boating…I seem to sink most ships, so I’m trying to stay off the water. I mean that literally, I have owned and sunk three boats. That’s not a great record.
From what I know about your life you do an excellent job balancing things for you and for those around you.
The money thing is a bit trickier. Spending as little as possible seems to be a core value for your husband. I wonder, is there a way for him to accept that as his core value rather than a full family mission? I live at the far far other end of the spectrum, so I don’t think I am one to give advice. Its tricky though when one partner’s dogma lines up with the general world view of virtuous (don’t spend more than you need.) It makes it more difficult to establish a family norm.
I have been thinking and talking about spending and sharing more. Why is building wealth important? If your family is comfortable, and your kids are taken care of why not spend, share, and donate the rest? There has to be room for cute boots. If you buy them from the right company the money pays itself forward. Maybe not for your family, but your community. And every time you wear the boots you can smile and look forward to the rainy days of life.
Just try not to pick boots that off gas.