My car was falling apart. I was sitting in my boyfriend’s new Honda Accord, fiddling with the fancy af front dash. Ughhhh. It was so new. Granted, I had no idea what I was doing, and I was probably ruining all of his settings, but in the moment, I was in complete envy of how advanced this all was. “You know,” he said, “we can go car shopping, if you want.” I cringed. I knew it was time. My car was old and growing to a marginally unsafe status. I knew I was due for an upgrade. But I hated the idea of car shopping. I hated the idea of spending money on something that I was so certain that I didn’t need right now. I still said, “Okay.”
We went to Toyota first. I had my heart set on a 2016 Rav4, particularly this burnt orange color that showed just enough uniqueness and spunk. I test drove this sucker. I gripped the steering wheel with admiration and glee, feeling it up like this was a winning first date. I convinced myself that I needed this car.
The salesman, my boyfriend, and I went back into the dealership to crunch the numbers. Oy. That’s when my heart started to pound. When the salesman came up with the final estimate, the amount wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. At the end of (what seemed to be) the longest day of my life, I walked away. I couldn’t do it.
Afterwards, Brent and I drove to Buffalo Wild Wings in my garbage car, with my garbage radio, and my garbage everything. We got a beer. I told him how relieved I felt. I told him how I didn’t need a new car. It would’ve been a waste of money.
When we got home, I told my mom everything. And just like an old, worn-down pipe that’s ready to burst, I started to cry. I chalked it up to exhaustion, until the truth came out: “I don’t deserve a car that nice.”
Do you see where I’m going with this yet? To me, the concept of owning something so lavish (in my eyes) was interlaced with shame. This past year, I had purchased my first home, a renovated townhouse in a great part of town. I had worked so hard to get to this point of stability, and yet, I felt like I didn’t deserve something this nice. I still have to wake myself up from this delusion to remind myself that I own something. Like, I own this. And I should be proud of that.
Where does this feeling stem from? Probably from some f-ed up part of my childhood that has been buried for many years. Without digging into all of that, I can say that I know this is a problem for me. I know several people that have also struggled with the idea of having a sense of ownership and pride over something, and I am curious as to where this comes from. Is it a product of a void from our childhood? A result of an indiscretion in a past life? If you have ever experienced this emotion, I’d love to start this conversation with you.