Spenderella adored the feel of the supple white leather pumps on her feet; they made her feel like a real princess and a lady. The boost of confidence she felt made her want to strut around like royalty, they were perfect. She turned, whirled, and posed in front of the mirror, wanting more than ever to keep them on her feet and walk straight from the shoemakers shop. “They’re so lovely! How much are they?”
“Well my dear, these are made of the finest leather in all our land and I’ve put hours of my own blood, sweat and tears into making them. They do fit so divinely on your feet, they are $400” said the Shoemaker, as a true salesperson would.
“Oh my! $400! But I don’t have any cash to pay for these and they’re sooo lovely. What will I do?” Spenderella pouted with a pleading look on her face.
“Just for you my dear, I will let you buy them on credit” the Shoemaker had a glint in his eye as he saw the money coming in. It would only take another moment of having the shoes on her feet before he knew Spenderella would make the purchase. He didn’t care if she didn’t have the money; the Evil Bankmother’s cash was good enough to him.
Just as Spenderella was about to utter the words “I’ll take them”, her fairy godmother appeared with a pouf and a pink cloud of glittering dust.
With a stern look in her eye, her fairy godmother said matter of factly, “Good heavens child, you cannot buy these shoes no matter how lovely they are. You cannot afford it! It was your wish to cast off the Evil Bankmother was it not?”
“Yes, Fairy Godmother. I do so wish to be rid of the Evil Bankmother” Spenderella rhetorically replied in a childish tone.
“Well then my dear, we mustn’t be buying things we cannot afford then should we? And most of all, we should not even venture into a shop if we know we will be tempted. Temptation from the Evil Bankmother is all around us, and she cares not if you can pay for it. It does not matter to her if you are enslaved for 8 years to pay for these shoes.”
“Eight years!!!” screeched Spenderella, “I did not know it would take that long!”
“Yes of course it will, for you have a small income and no handsome prince to help with the bills.” replied The Fairy Godmother, “Spenderella have you not learned yet that money looks much better in the bank than on your feet or body? Would you not rather be the boss of your money instead of the other way around?”
When it’s Time to Wear the Big Girl Pants and be your own #Girlboss
Sometimes I often wonder whether I would have been better off living a life of true struggle and poverty instead of the middle class life I grew up in; the trivial childhood struggles of being bullied and picked on are experienced by all, no matter what your parents financial status is, but being poor is a whole other ball of wax. It pains me to think that maybe I would have been more responsible with my money instead of believing that there was a constant pool available to me through my parents. Even though they tried to instill in me frugality and responsibility, it still didn’t entirely rub off on me; I was spoiled as a child, I openly admit that. So do my parents by the way.
Don’t get me wrong, I still had to work for things and not everything I received was shiny and new, my first car cost $600 bought from an elderly neighbour who couldn’t drive anymore; a 1988 Plymouth Horizon that I washed, gassed, insured and repaired on my own with the money from a part time job. My father’s stipulation was that if he bought me the car, I had to pay for all the incidentals, which entailed having a part time job. I saved, but never enough and usually spent a lot of my income. It seemed that somewhere deep in my subconscious was this programming that told me I had a backup in my parents if everything financially failed. It was a subroutine programmed and written in Michelle code that I could fall back on them to buy things for me, keep a roof over my head and keep me fed. Many of my friends in high school were from lower income and/or single parent households and knew it was important to hang onto their money, so they could get out on their own. So where was my priority?
Looking back, I am reminded that I lacked focus or a priority in life, that sense of urgency motivating you to your life’s work. All I focused on was doing well in school and getting good grades. This absence of focus accounted for my lack of direction when college application time came around; I knew I wanted to be in big business and be a crazy successful executive, but that was it.
Fast forward twenty years and I feel as though I’m still floundering, albeit with a much better understanding of myself and perspective on life. Would it have made a difference if I had grown up poor?
Unequivocally, I need to take ownership of my life, not live in the past and put on those big girl pants called responsibility. It wanes at certain times in my life and has me realizing I need not rely on my parents so much. Being coddled again as in high school, when you are 38, just doesn’t work; it creates discord and leads to fallings out with family. Not something I would ever want or wish upon anyone.
On Wanting to be a #Girlboss
Reading Sophia Amoruso’s #Girlboss was an enlightening and inspiring experience; it put me to wondering all of what you just read in the previous paragraphs; if I had grown up poor and wandering from job to job and place to place like her, would things have been different for me financially? I grew up with the mentality that dumpster diving, hitch hiking and swearing like a trucker were unladylike and beneath me.
There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means – Calvin Coolidge
Sophia’s motto for money is similar to what was dictated and shown to me throughout my life by my father, we lived the frugal life but had the money to travel to Hawaii for our yearly family trip – this is how I earned the high school nickname “Rich Bitch” from friends. Why was it that I ignored and ultimately rebelled against this pathway that could offer a life of financial freedom? It was right there in front of me, yet I chose to ignore it.
Sophia on money: “I saw it as a materialistic pursuit for materialistic people, but what I have realized over time is that in many ways, money spells freedom. If you learn to control your finances, you won’t find yourself stuck in jobs, places or relationships that you hate just because you can’t afford to go elsewhere. Learning how to manage your money is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Being in a good spot financially can open up so many doors.”
I’ve learned the same financial lessons as Sophia at the same time, in my late teens, but I never actually “learned” from them. In all futility, I repeated the same idiotic behaviour over and over (three times to be exact). I suppose each time I did extract some knowledge, but I relied on that subconscious programming that there was someone there to bail me out; I never learned that one day there would be no one there. After reading that she had almost $1 Million cash in the bank and never spent any of it, I was in disbelief, until I read the next paragraph: “#Girlboss, when your time spent making money is significantly greater than your time spent spending money, you will be amazed at how much you can save without even really thinking about it.” It took Sophia until 2011 to take her first trip – to Hawaii.
Right now, all I know is I want to be a #Girlboss, to be involved in something truly exciting that has me contributing my all to this crazy world. I am willing to do what it takes to move my career and myself to where I believe it should be in this stage of my life. Those big girl pants are looking like a great idea right now!
From now on, I’m taking Sophia’s advice and not wearing $50 and $100 bills on my feet (or body); I’ll be walking those babies all the way to the bank where it looks so much better and works harder for me.
What are your thoughts?
My Goodreads review of #Girlboss
Read Chapter Five, it’s all about money.