I used to be a huge addict to things. I would spend my time and energy to mostly accumulate more and more stuff. I was never satisfied with what I had and always “needed” the next new thing. I had 20+ jackets, 20+ pairs of shoes, I justified my “business expenses” as necessary for me to be successful in my business.
The truth of that matter is that I was hooked on buying stuff and I could not stop. I remember sometimes how my obsession for that one thing that I just ‘had) to have would just eat me up alive.
One particular time that I recall was back in the summer of 2011, I was on the front end of a massive road trip for my business in which I was going to be spending a few weeks on the road working for a couple of my clients. The first stop was Washington D.C. and I was going to be working on a weeklong video project. After that, I had a weekend off and had to be in Minneapolis by that next Tuesday for another video project.
I left Nashville later than I had intended to and ended up getting to D.C around 2 AM. Before I made the turn off of the interstate for the hotel, I told myself that I could somehow make it to New York City and buy a few things that I “needed” for these projects. Crazy as it seems, I made the dumb choice to drive all the way 4 hours up to NYC and I made it there by 6 that morning. Mind you, I was totally irresponsible for doing that because I had to be at my job by 2 PM that same day. Yet, as I stated before, I was absolutely addicted to stuff.
My real reason for getting up to NYC was to be able to spend an hour at my favorite addiction, a professional broadcast electronics store. They were called B&H Photo/Video and it was basically Mecca for people who worked in my industry. I placed my order for the few odds and ends that I had originally come for but my eye, my appetite was really on the latest video cameras that they had there.
When I say that I was addicted, I mean I was truly obsessed and driven by these things. So much so that upon looking at one particular camera that had caught my eye, I ended up buying it and all of the “needed” accessories that went along with it. I left NYC that morning with a huge $10,000.00 credit card bill that day and I was not even bothered by my decision.
I arrived in D.C. just before 2 that afternoon and my friends were there in the parking lot well-rested after just pulling in. I was looking pretty ragged because I had not slept for over 24 hours and I had just gotten in from riding down on I-95. I was so stupid back then, how could I have done such a thing. I told my friends and they just thought that I was out-of-my-mind crazy.
Then I told them that I had purchased this crazy cool video camera and that I wanted to use it on the project and they were beyond themselves in amazement at how I could have done such a thing. Needless to say, my addiction to stuff (and this is just one of the really dumb decisions that I have made in my life) dictated how I lived my life. Eventually, I did get the camera rented a few times but I never made enough money to pay it off. No, instead I lost money. I ended up selling it the next year to a filmmaker guy visiting Nashville from California at a real loss.
I can say that I know what being an addict is all about and that is why my transition has served so many more purposes than to simply try to align my gender with how I felt to be inside. No, it was about much, much more. I was out-of-control and reckless with myself and with how I handled my finances. Granted, I was not in a situation where I was hurting my credit or anything like that but that beast that had grown inside of me, required lots of money in order to be satisfied.
All of that came to be an abrupt end on December 30, 2014. When I drove my car off of a remote New Mexico mountain pass, my life should have ended with it. I was somehow given another chance to make it right within myself. I do not know why sometimes because I know that I did not deserve it. I should have died with all of the rest of my “stuff” down there but I was not and I am going to make the most of my opportunities.
Since my accident, I have not even owned a debit card, I handle nothing of the finances and I am not obsessed about anything anymore. We have a mall that it is less than a mile away and I have been there with Mark maybe twice and not for very long at that. I don’t care anymore. Things are a snare to entrap us and when we obsess over them, it is like we tie our own noose around our necks. I have let it all go and no longer see myself as that person anymore. I am free to not buy anything. I am free to focus on the things that really matter.
This journey into the unknown that Mark and I are going to be going on in a little over a month or so will further loosen the chains that have bound me for so long. As a transwoman, we get so obsesses with our appearance and how we look. To be honest with you, my give-a-damn (to quote an old Jody Messina country song) is busted. All that I care about is being present in the moment that I am in. We are going to simplify even more and it will require me to stretch myself even further. You know what? I am ready for that now. Maybe that is what the universe intended for me all along?