like father, like daughter.

i have ridiculously expensive taste. naturally. i’m convinced it’s in my molecular makeup. the things that make me go “ooooooh, i wannnnt…”, even without labels on them, always end up being nonsensically costly. for instance: for my first car, one of the models i asked my father to put on the list was a land rover discovery, because it was “cute” & would probably be more “practically priced” than say, a range rover. in my mind–one of a spoiled brat, as i realize in retrospect–this was perfectly logical. i was doing him a favor! he just laughed. right in my face. another example: in day one of the tumblr challenge, i said i loved glasses. one of the pairs i have now–and the first pair i gravitated toward in the shop–is made by a designer ranked at the top in menswear fashion by the luxury institute. i mean, i wasn’t even trying to be a fancy bitch. i was just like “oh wow, i’m in love with these”, and the salesperson was like “yeah, they’re super cute. and they cost a billion dollars.” -_- thank God for optical insurance.

honestly, i blame my dad. he busted his ass running up and down a field for 12 years so that he could give myself and my siblings the world. and before being exposed to what life was like for a lot of other people, i assumed that what we had was normal. i thought every little black girl put on a frilly dress and shiny shoes, and went to the opera with her daddy, putting the ticket inside her designer purse as a keepsake. most people probably punched in a secret code to get the gate to their neighborhood open, too. meanwhile, some little black girls wondered who their daddy even was, & hoped for the day they could leave their neighborhood & all its ills. even after being made aware of the struggle that people dealt with, i was still sheltered and ignorant. i didn’t know what a mortgage was until i was a junior in high school. and i remember graduating, and having friends ask “so are your parents going to make you pay the rest of your car off if you take it to college?” i was totally bewildered, because my father insisted upon buying cars outright. these just weren’t things to be worried about in my world.

whenever i tell people stuff like that, they laugh, or say something sarcastic like “must be nice”. and it is, but not always. because when you get from up under your parents, and they cut that ass off, your taste stays. and it’s harder to get rid of than you think. my dad likes to joke that i have “champagne taste on a beer budget”. and honestly, it’s real as hell. because i’m stubborn, it’s been an unnecessarily long road to that admission. instant gratification had become too ingrained in my mode of thinking when it came to spending; so much so that many of the things i convinced myself were needs were truly just wants. i did not need those glasses, that bag, these shoes. or even more simply, i could’ve cooked instead of going out. i was that person, who got a relatively nice refund check, and rather than invest or put away savings, was satisfied to pay my bills and then spend like a coon until i realized i barely had a damn thing left. it’s stupid. and embarrassing. really, when you take a second to let go of label whore-ishness, and the pressure to be the most “fly”, or imitate the lifestyle of those around you, and just humble yourself for a second, it’s a good feeling. because you know that in this short period of time that you are living meagerly, you’re setting yourself up for a longer, lavish lifestyle in the future.

why overspend…when you don’t really have anything? and furthermore, why create that horrendous habit at this stage in the journey? we’re still young; we should be developing intelligent spending habits to accompany the wealthy futures we all brag that we’ll have down the road. part of why i’m trying to get my ish together is because i don’t want to be that person later in life, who ends up absolutely broke, and no one understands how. or the wife in that family who couldn’t keep it together anymore. though we react in awe at celebrities going broke, america’s middle/upper middle class is a less publicized and more common example of how living beyond your means can end terribly. the watsons proudly opt for an s-class mercedes instead of a lexus. but the minute hard times fall, the note they once bragged about paying becomes delinquent, & their shiny black token of bourgeois status is towed off as neighbors look on smugly. the smiths feel a $750,000 home would be far better for the image they wish to project, than a $450,000 one…until passers-by are greeted by a foreclosure sign awkwardly staked in the front yard.

at the end of the day, it’s like this: i’d rather be eating ramen that i bought on my bridge card, turning down nights out to save money, and pining after a house of my own as i pay rent on an apartment now, when i’m 22 years old, than to be in that state at 32, 42, 52. i’ll take a temporary tight budget any day over engaging in peer pressured pomposity that will do nothing more than set me up to operate in a perpetual state of “rich-broke” for the rest of my life. because though i blame him for my ridiculous taste, i also have my father to thank for being a living example (and a damn good one, at that) of what humility, hard work, sacrifice, and investment can do in building the life i’ve always wanted, the one i was raised to desire. i don’t have it now, but i’m content to wait. and you know what? it’ll make it that much sweeter when i finally get there.

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