Sunday, July 10, 2005
BEWARE THE DEVOURERS
All I Really Need is that little Black Dress, a pair of Shoes and a matching Purse
In church on Sunday, the sermon was quite interesting and peculiar. The pastor was talking about the financial devourers and the things that impede people's progress, leaving them in a state of constantly being broke. He sounded a lot like Suze Orman or Dr. Phil, only this time with an African accent. The things he pointed out rang true, but one thing that stuck was when he talked about spending habits; the 'BOGOF' syndrome (buy one get one free) and impulse spending. It got me thinking about women in general, including myself, and how this sermon could easily have gone into one ear and out the other. Really, do you think it will take one sermon to prevent any of the ladies in the pews from shopping for the seasons A-list must haves? Absolutely not! Most women are shopperholic and fashion zombies, even though most will deny it. One day it's name brand this, name brand that, another it's knock-off versus original. Yesterday it was tweed and boucle, today it's gauchos, bohemian skirts and anything that blings. Lord knows what it'll be tomorrow, burlap sacks?
We just can't get enough of it, we get an adrenaline rush when we see something that looks hot on the mannequinn. We want to try it on and pray it fits right. Our eyes light up when we see a markdown from $150 to $19.99....i'll take three please. We see our friends in something that looks really nice and flattering and we want to have it too even though it may not look as good on us. Our friends other hand won't be too pleased we have the same outfit as they. Not to forget those '& Co. Plc.' a la 'aso-ebi' outfits you see at Nigerian weddings and events. I can understand husband and wife or family members, but the whole town? Haba!Chill abeg. Getting around that is even more of a hassle because of peer pressure and the bid to make a fashion statement. As shallow as it seems, God forbids that you show up in the same exact style, shoes and bags. As in, we all know we bought the fabric from the same lace dealer but dang why did you have to go to my tailor and steal my stayle too.(Now for those of you wondering why Des and I were wearing the same shade of blue...it was truly coincedental, we don't live together anymore therefore co-ordination is imposisble).
Shopping is like a ritual and as someone put it to me in a bid to justify what i considered an overpriced purchase, it makes one feel good about oneself. That is true, you do feel good about new things, new clothes, new shoes etc. Just yesterday, i felt 'really' good after i bought this really cute bohemian/indian inspired pink dress, that'll go so well with the gold shoes i am about to buy for this wedding that i'm in. I have already pictured myself in it and i feel really 'good' because i know i'll be looking hot in that outfit, just gotta find a place to wear it to.
But isn't that sad, we attach 'happiness' and 'goodness' to material things, we have to justify our irresponsibility with such poor excuses that have everything to do with prioritizing and even self esteem. These devourers come in the disguise of the mall and we run wantonly into its mouth as though it's a shrine where the offering is our finances; masticated, digested and spat out in the form of credit card bills and the reality of the account balance. Further enslaving ourselves to a degenerative cyclical system that lacks prosperity.
The message in the sermon is not that we should not spend at all, but that spending foolishly whether you can afford it or not is destructive. Spend only because you need some thing, not because you can or because you want to have it. The latter being the challenge because as humans it is natural to want. It's the same way I want the new Mercedes S500, Oprah's hairdresser and Naomi Campbell's body...oops! bad examples, not even in my wildest dreams can I have those, not right now at least.
Unfortunately, wanting and spending to fulfil those wants, are devourers that are here to stay and we must learn to live with them and control them. We may also choose to nurture and accommodate them by working harder and increasing our purchasing power to remain looking fly. Another option, a rather though one, is to just ignore it all together by denying yourself those luxuries, living (temporarily) like a pauper and investing that money in yourself in the form of saving. This way, you accelerate your financial prosperity and enhance your quality of life. Just as pastor said in his sermon, money does make the world go round and many things we do revolve around building credit and spending, but we can only win the battle if we don't allow these to control our lives. Rather we should seek happiness and fulfilment in other ways which do not involve the exchange of money and depleting finances.