The Shape of a Dream Life.

In a lot of the work I do on myself as a human, one of the questions I struggle with the most is picturing or visualizing what my dream life would be.

Where in my dreams (not the huge, impossible I won the lotto dreams the maybe attainable kind) would I live?

How would my home look?

What would I do with my time?

What sorts of things might I buy when the fancy struck?

What would I eat?

The main thing that makes this type of exercise about these things in particular so hard for me is that emotionally I still feel like a person in a dangerous place financially. This is something I’ve been working on constantly for a decade.

Often, I feel like my progress in understanding and dealing with my own poverty trauma gets only so far and something happens that just destroys my sense of progression and well being. Whether it’s an unexpectedly large bill, recently a change in how frequently I get paid sent me into a tailspin of panic and terror. And here is where I feel like the problems come in with my visualizations.

Prior to my most recent meltdown, I had a pretty good handle on things. Our budget was working out pretty well, bills getting paid etc etc. The change meant we had to change when/how we can pay bills because while there’s the same amount of money available, when it is available has changed.

My quest for nesting that I’d been on previously kind of fizzled out.

I have a hard time buying pretty things for the house when I feel that kind of oh shit what are we going to do for X number of days between paychecks?

That is the magic place I get stuck. How can I invest in making (assuming we don’t move or aren’t priced out) a better quality of life and creating a home, no I’m talking capital H home, Home when there’s this other shit?

All that said, I’m going to try.

I think for me the first sign of that Dream is the ability to eat what I want when I want. What I mean by that is not having to plan, say getting teriyaki or getting the supplies to have this type of food available to me at work or whatever.

food

[Photo of a white paper plate with some crackers, pea pods, turkey slices and cheddar cheese]

Logically, I realize this is not fancy food. Emotionally, this was a fancy food week. I went to the store before work and picked up a bag of fresh peas, a box of Ritz crackers, sharp cheddar cheese (sidenote: I discovered I can eat it without gut bomb side effects YAY), and a pack of that fancy deli sliced turkey. Normally my food budget for a week of food for work is about 10$. Granted, that ten dollars doesn’t usually leave me sated and feeling good. For those ten bucks I get fuel.

In the Good Life (what we’ll call it) I could eat that way when I want.

As far as purchasing goes, I’d like to feel what it is like not to plan out a purchase like a military strike. For me if it is over 10$ it takes planning. I want to feel some sense of spontaneity without the sense of panic or impending doom. DOOM.

I’ll give you an example. With the nice weather happening, I realized I needed new day to day flats. My feet have been a problem for a few years and I’ve sworn off of cheap flats in favor of decent ones. My process for this went roughly as follows:

  • Recognized need for shoes.
  • Felt terrible about not wearing shoes that hurt my feet, don’t fit properly, are worn out.
  • Felt further terrible about feeling terrible.
  • Start over.
  • Price “comfortable” flats.
  • Check budget.
  • Recheck budget.
  • Plan out for shoes in 6 weeks.
  • Change mind because 50$ no.
  • Stress poop.
  • Start over.
  • Feel stupid for doing all this.
  • Feel worse for being anxious about fucking shoes.

I did that for about two weeks and did not get shoes.

My partner wanted to take me to the fancy walking shoes store. The kind of spot that has Danskos, Clarks etc. Expensive ass shoes. I have some thrifted Danskos I like, but that aren’t super comfy for day to day wear. And I balked. Instead, I bought some pretty okay shoes on ebay and called it a day. That’s the thing I’d like not to have in The Good life.

That is the thing. Really that is the theme of what would happen in my Good Life.

This is the aftermath of poverty and the trauma that comes with it. This is also a result of living in the greater Seattle area and the wildfire of gentrification.

The confluence of my cost of living skyrocketing, my pay being delivered differently, etc. really triggers all of this and I’m working hard on it.

For right now I’m concentrating on keeping my anxiety levels around bill paying and rent and fear down.

I’m still nesting at home. I’ve been working on creating an altar for my, uh, spiritual woos. It’s slow going, it’s hard as fuck but I’m doing it and that is what feels good.

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About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.
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