You Know Who You Are Inside; Stop Selling Yourself Short

"You're so excited!" she squealed to her coworker, who agreed she was so excited. The source? A new car she'd be picking up later that day.

She explained how she had looked at this car and that... And she stopped by this dealership one night after work. "I said I wasn't going to buy that night and there I was until 9 at night signing the paperwork!"

And she told how she wanted a sunroof, but everywhere she went, she was told she'd have to buy the fully loaded model with all the tech stuff she didn't need in order to get the sunroof she desired. At the dealership where she bought? They're adding a sunroof for her without making her get all the other upgrades. Instead of $14,000 extra, it was just $7,000 extra for the sunroof! Oh, and after she'd made the deal, she asked for lug nuts and a couple of other extras, which they threw in gratis!

Can you tell I'm being a little sarcastic?

As I listened to the conversation, I found myself a bit surprised by the voice in my head saying, "Man, they ripped her off."

I actually thought I had eradicated that specific language from my vocabulary. Not so, apparently!

I jotted a quick note about it in my journal as I listened in to the ladies outside of me as well as that voice in my head. And as I jotted, I wondered why I would think she was ripped off when she was getting so much joy from this new car.

It quickly came to me that I've really enjoyed new things (a new phone, a new computer, a new car) only to have the excitement fade. And sometimes that excitement and joy has even turned to anger or disappointment when the bill has come due. And certainly just as things have aged or become part of my normal to the point where they fade from notice.

Over the last week, I've purged my less-than-500-square-feet apartment of three shopping carts worth of stuff. Books, clothes, knick knacks and other things that I no longer used, loved or was excited by.

I was surprised to notice that things like the vases and the blue elephant pottery figure which I could remember being so excited to bring home had sat atop a Singer sewing machine and bookcase where I stopped noticing their beauty. These are things I did not purge, but instead will rearrange so their new placement breathes new life into the items themselves and into my home.

And tonight, as I sat, working out what I had to say to the world... it came together for me. Why I'd overheard that conversation and noticed the way new stuff loses its effect on our mood over time... And why I haven't allowed myself to manifest a great car in a long time...

I don't actually drive (I completely lost the desire after one driving lesson) but having a car is kind of important in our corner of Philadelphia. Yes, I can walk to the grocery store and have, but it's not exactly a short walk. And the fact that I even feel the need to justify the usefulness of a car to a faceless (in my imagination) reader who has probably driven since the earliest age at which one can legally do so is something I need to examine. Anywho.

Chris has been driving a real hooptie of a car. A Ford Escape from 2001 that has a rear hatch that just won't open and which is missing both a driver's side mirror and a door handle on the passenger's side. Like it's a real damn beater. We didn't have a car at all for a long while before my dad told us last summer that this car was for sale by someone he sorta knew. We didn't even have the money for it at the time, and so borrowed money from my dad to get it.

It was nice to have a car again and I tried to see it as an upgrade, but the truth is it's just such a low class ride.

And the victim part of me has whinged on about it... Why can't we have nice things that work without problem?

Ew. Fuck.

Sure, a beater is an upgrade from hoofin' it to buy groceries, but it ain't no thang compared to a Lincoln Continental. This is not only a car I dream of us driving, it's one we have actually had before.

Chris and I will be celebrating our 7th anniversary this Sunday. Approaching our 1st anniversary together, we went to a "preowned" dealership and put $3,000 down on a Lincoln Continental.

She was GORGEOUS. And I couldn't believe that at the age of 19, I was riding in a LINCOLN with my BOYFRIEND. (It was still a shock to me we'd been together for as long as we had been at the time.)

Back to the car... I LOVED HER. She had leather seats silky like butter and the color of champagne. Her dash and steering wheel had wood inlay, and in the best weather, we could open her moonroof.

I mean, as a non-driver, she was the best car a girl could ask for. And I think my driver (Chris ;)) would agree.

Our car was something I couldn't wait to show off to my family. My Uncle Ed loved his own Lincoln car. He'd had a few over the years. I was excited I had something I could share with him that would impress him.

And we got our Lincoln after a seeming defeat.

Chris' younger brother took our first car together, a green Subaru, in the middle of the night. When he was caught by police, Chris was told the only way he'd get the car back was if he pressed charges against his brother. He refused and our car went to impound.

Then we learned that because of our naivete, we'd bought the Subaru from a dealership that didn't have the legal papers to actually sell it to us. We were fucked because we didn't actually have the title.

So, our Lincoln was better than I had maybe ever imagined for us after that.

I see now, some 6 years later, that we got the best car we've ever had to date after the previous one was taken from us. And I've seen signs lately that our old lives have to be stripped away from us before we can have the new ones. I don't think it's always that dramatic, but this is certainly one example of it happening in my life.

The weird thing? Or maybe not so weird?

We haven't manifested a really great car since we gave the Lincoln back to the dealership. We traded it back in after Chris took a job working at that same dealership... The $500 or so that went to the car payment and insurance made a difference in our ability to afford our own apartment and we needed to get out of his grandmother's house where we'd been living. Since then, we've had one hooptie of our own in between the Lincoln and the Ford we have now, and we sold that car (a Chrysler 200) when we needed the money.

In some sense it feels like I/we can't keep a good car that runs well, let alone is exciting to drive or ride in... And that may contribute to my sense that spending any money on a car is a "rip off."

But I'm also seeing now that not only do I have to seriously forgive myself for "losing" three cars before this Ford, I also need to realign with something I said to Uncle Ed: "I'm a Lincoln girl."

For too long, I've been the girl-who-couldn't-keep-a-Lincoln.

THAT is how I've identified ever since we gave her up.

I heard her life after us was awful... The owner of the dealership sold her again to someone who also couldn't keep up payments, and then to another person after that. Chris drove her again as he moved cars around the lot and said she ended up pretty beat up... Herself a hooptie after all that.

Makes me sad to think about.

For too long I've thought of the loss of her as the part that defined me, rather than the having had her at all part.

We are who we DECIDE we are. Who we IDENTIFY as.

So if you don't like who you are, it's time to look at how you've been defining yourself, and rewrite that shit.

I'm a Lincoln girl. What about you?