2004. I needed something to wear to a friend’s wedding. When every 28 I tried on didn’t fit, I tried 32. I walked out to the 3-way mirror, looked at myself, and thought, “This is nuts. I can’t do this anymore.”
Three years later, I was a size 6.
2009: I opened a letter from one of my credit card companies. They said, cryptically, that even though I was a “valued customer,” they were raising my interest rate to 32 percent. I thought, “This is nuts. I can’t do this anymore.”
As of yesterday, I’m paying 6 percent.
32 might be bigger, but 6 offers a lot more breathing space.
For me, being morbidly obese is a lot like being in debt:
- Size 32: I had no idea how many calories I consumed every day.
- 32 percent: I had no idea how much money I spent every month.
- Size 32: I masked emotional issues with overconsumption of food.
- 32 percent: I masked emotional issues with overconsumption of goods.
Just like five years ago when I confronted my weight, confronting my financial situation wasn’t as scary as I’d imagined. The process also feels familiar because debt reduction takes the same kind of commitment and persistence as weight reduction. I have to get all mom on myself, use tough love, and find alternative rewards for goals, but the freedom that comes from being on a cash-only budget is like knowing I can fit in an airplane seat or won’t be winded climbing stairs. It forces me to be more creative and a better planner. Mostly it’s helping me to better appreciate what I have as opposed to mourning what I don’t.
But familiar doesn’t mean easy. Nothing life-changing is ever easy. Becoming debt free doesn’t happen overnight and it’s taken me into the path of some degrading people. Explaining my personal finances to someone who doesn’t give a ratsass and only wants me to pay my *bleepin* bill feels a lot like being called a fat name when I was 300 pounds. I guess just as people have a million excuses not to lose weight, they have a million excuses to not pay their bills and it’s not easy to know who is sincere. Still, to assume everyone’s lying isn’t fair either. But I digress…
Remember how you felt the first time someone noticed you lost weight? I do and it felt really good. I had the same feeling last week when my change in attitude from “I have no idea how much I spend a month” to hard-core financial diva caught my husband’s attention.
“You’ve embraced this whole financial thing like you did your weight.”
Why, yes. Yes I have. *smile* Thank you for noticing.