Lion Pride Simba style

Pride. I’ve swallowed a crap-ton of it over the last few years – no, not the kind of pride you see above. That’s just a cute Lion King picture. (In case you haven’t noticed, Disney movies make me smile, something that I really need to do more often.) I’m talking about the kind of pride you have (or don’t have) in yourself, self-respect, if you will.

Before the recession rudely shoved us off our personal fiscal cliff, things were good. We weren’t rich, but dinner out and a movie was something that was taken for granted. These days, dinner and a movie is something from the dollar menu at McDonald’s and whatever is on HBO. When the kids needed something for school, we just whipped out the checkbook, no problem. Now, my son needs $275 for an upcoming field trip (yes, this is for that FREE public school education, but that’s a post for another day!), and I’m trying to figure out from where in my ass can I pull that.

Our circle of friends has all but dried up because we just don’t have the money to socialize. And who wants anyone, especially your friends, to find out you’re broke? Let’s face it – people talk. It’s embarrassing, humiliating, even if the events leading up to your circumstances were completely out of your control. You want to crawl in a hole, hope to hell you’ll wake up from this horrible nightmare, and everything will be back to normal. But you can’t.

That’s where the pride comes in, or, rather the swallowing of it. You take a big gulp as you find yourself standing in lines you never imagined you’d be in, signing up for services you never thought you’d need. In the grocery store, you hope to hell there’s nobody you know in your line, because the card your paying with ain’t the platinum card you used to swipe¬† without a second thought. You endure the abrupt mood changes from cashiers as they mentally shift you from a “valued customer” to the dregs of society.

You just want to scream, “GODDAMIT, DON’T LOOK AT ME THAT WAY! I’M THE SAME FUCKING PERSON!” But am I? Maybe not. When your pride takes a hit, your self-esteem gets bludgeoned, and your subconscious begins to look down her nose at you like you’re the most worthless piece of shit on the planet. It doesn’t make for a pretty reflection in the mirror every morning.

But if I want that cashier in the grocery store to not treat me any differently, maybe I need to stop treating myself differently. I am, after all, my own worst enemy. I didn’t create this situation, so why am I letting this situation create me? Why am I letting circumstances that were beyond my control turn me into someone I’m not?

Pride. I shouldn’t be swallowing it. I should be spewing it! I can’t help it that the 94 people to whom I’ve sent resumes don’t realize that I’m the same intelligent, well-educated, creative, hard-working, witty, amazing person I’ve always been. I’ve kept my family afloat – a roof over their heads & food in their tummies. We’ve gotten through. I don’t have everything I used to have, but maybe I have more to be proud of.

As for that $275, I’ll find it. It’s up there somewhere.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” ~Ayn Rand