Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oh, no, not me..

A funny thing happened this weekend. The subject of Joan Jett came up in conversation and my friend said that she liked the song, "Bad Reputation." I agreed that it was good as well as some of Jett's other hits that were popular when we were teens. Then later that night we went to a bar where another person was having a going-away get-together. And guess what? That very song was playing as we walked in. I couldn't help but laugh a little.

Later in my visit we were doing some tarot readings. I was pretty unhappy with mine as soon as I saw the cards laid out. I'm familiar enough with all the cards to be able to get the basic 'meaning' of a reading just from looking at the cards and where they are positioned. But I do find it helpful and fun to read the guidebook too. Anyway, my reading suggested that I will continue on the path I'm on partly because of material security. I asked my friends if I projected a materialistic image. (Jesus, sometimes I'm so naive!) One of them said, "Well you do drive a fucking Corvette and live in a goddamn huge, fucking house." Stunned, I just said, "Oh, shit!" Note to self: don't ask questions if you think that you won't like the answer.

Now, I guess I should explain why appearing materialistic seems like a bad thing to me. I grew up very modestly, though not in true poverty. I've never been one of those label-conscious women who has to have designer this and designer that. Most of my clothes come from Walmart. I'm very practical and economical in my life. I've never aspired to or been a "yuppy" which is probably a very outdated term now. The disparity between the reality of my life and the appearance of it from looking at my most obvious possessions (house and cars) has bothered me since the comment was made. Anyone who knows me knows what I'm really like, but anyone who just sees my house and my car might come to completely opposite and wrong conclusions. For about a day or so I've let this concern me.

But then I remembered that song. And I don't really give a damn about my 'bad' reputation. Any material possessions I have are the result of 15 years of building a life and stability. We have struggled and lived in conditions that most people would consider deplorable. And I realize that when people see the car or the house they have no idea about those things. And really, it just doesn't matter. People shouldn't judge others' blessings and compare them to theirs. There are probably scriptures about that as well as the Commandments about not coveting. I think the message of those Commandments is more about not comparing you and yours with them and theirs than about lusting for someone else's stuff. I think that the lusting/coveting comes from the comparing, so if you don't compare then you probably won't covet. And just for the record, I think that the ones about not coveting another man's wife or servants is more a reflection of the status of women and servants as possessions during that era. A wife (or husband) is not a possession. I think different rules apply to people than to possessions.

So anyway, I've decided that I really don't give a damn about my reputation, whether it's good or bad. ;-)


Kat said...

I have a fairly new SUV and a nice house and worry about the same thing. But really the car was picked out for me, although I have come to love it and will drive it until it won't go anymore. And I need a house, it might as well be a nice one, right? But no I'm not materialistic either, although I grew up in an apartment with a mother that didn't drive. Wonder if that explains anything?

Rae Ann said...

kat, thanks! yes, I do think that growing up with 'not much' can translate into wanting more comfort when you're older. But I think people are sometimes too judgmental about others based on what they have or don't have. And it goes both directions. Some 'liberal' people look a little askance at people who have more than they think is necessary, and that is just as bad as wealthy people looking down on those who have less than they have. Anything you have is well-earned and deserved. That doesn't mean that someone who doesn't have the same things doesn't deserve it though. It just means that they probably have made choices in their life that have 'cost' them some level of security or whatever. As long as people live within their means it really shouldn't matter to anyone else what they have. Sorry, I got carried away here!