Monday, July 02, 2012

Loath to Desire, Part two: Wants may cause suffering

Lesson:  If I get what I want, someone else may be suffering in order to give it to me.  Another lesson that I learned early and learned well was that it is risky to want things, because getting what I want might mean that someone else does not get what they want or need, or that someone will sacrifice something in order for me to have my want.  That solidly strikes me as a bad thing, and I have an easy time relegating my wants to the back burner in the face of just about any other legitimate thing that seems to be at odds with it.

Lesson:  Being financially invisible is less upsetting than having someone have to support me.  As a child and teen I remember being aware of financial strains in my family, and the logical solution that I resolved upon within myself was to try to be financially invisible as much as possible.  I got jobs as early as I could be hired, and then almost never had to ask my parents for a few bucks to go to a youth group event or to go out for pizza with my friends.  It wasn't that my parents were trying to make me feel bad about money.  It's just something I knew about and internalized in a way that was striving to be as little trouble as possible, and also to insulate myself from the uncomfortable feelings that came with asking for things,  or needing things.

I would feel bad about needing money from my parents for my school vocal ensemble uniform, or to go on a retreat.  That sense of feeling guilty and like a burden poked at my conscience.  I always had those things, but I worried that I had somehow caused a strain on my parents.

My brother played hockey.  It's an expensive sport.  Between the fees, equipment, extra skate time, the skates and laces, admission to the games, snacks during the games, and trips to away games, even all the way to Canada, I'm sure my parents spent a lot more on all of that than anything I did.  I'm sure it was probably a challenge, at times, for them to afford to do all of that as well.  I don't remember ever feeling anything about the financial side of that.  I just think of it now, and wonder why I was the kid that felt like I had to suppress the normal expenses that went with being a kid in my family.

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