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When You Can't Afford to be Authentic

A friend and I were discussing yesterday how our style depends greatly on what we can afford. That which we surround ourselves with is often a reflection of "the best we can do" rather than "what we really want." I don't mind this, as I made choices for life that were based on more important things than money and stylish possessions. But it is also true that how we appear to others in the world is also often due to what we can afford rather than who we really are, and sometimes that is an issue I wrestle with in my heart.

This is a first world problem, but since I live in the first world, I don't feel it's wrong to discuss it. I am of course grateful to have a home, clothes, internet access, at all.

If I could afford it, my weblog would look very different to this. If I could afford it, my photography would look different also. (Only in my writing am I able most of the time to ignore material considerations.) That these creative outlets are not a true reflection of my most authentic innermost heart is frustrating, and one of the reasons why I change things around so much. I try to get close to what is real for me, and when I can't, I try to submit to what I merely am able to do.

If I could afford it, I would wear very different clothes to those currently in my wardrobe. I would live a different lifestyle. I would reside in a different area and eat different foods. If I could afford it, I would not be anything like I am now.

I suspect this is a significant issue for many people - this disconnect between who we wish to be, the life we wish we had, and what we can actually manage for ourselves. I believe it involves a delicate balancing of grief and dreaming, surrender and not giving up. We are not in this world to accumulate stylish possessions or drink expensive beverages. But it is also true that, the way our culture stands at present, outer expression of our inner truth is a way we connect with ourselves and other people. And that facilitates the development of our souls, which is the thing that really matters.

I believe the lesson of it is to take all that we wish for ourselves and hold it as spirit or energy within our characters. I can not wear Edwardian blouses and visit distant museums, nor drink tea in hotel tearooms and sit reading beneath willow trees at the river's edge. But I can be that within myself ... at least, as long as I do not let go of the dream of it.

And if I listen to that dream, that wish for what I could have, then it will inform me truly of who I can be. 

whose beautiful soul I believe would shine through
however she appeared


  1. this is beautiful and very right

  2. i wrote a happily thinky-thought response to this, which the comment form ate. blogspot's comment hoops have gotten impossible lately.

    but i do agree, so much. even if we cannot manifest our dream expressions, our soul truth still is illuminated by knowing what our dreams are...

  3. I totally agree. It’s been true for me most of my life. Like you, some of this is down to choices made that I’m happy with (single income so I can homeschool, for example) and some isn’t. If I were richer, my life would be very different and more in tune with my heart. I am lucky and grateful, but there is more of me.

  4. Thank you for your comments. I read them and love them, but don't always have time to respond individually. Please know how welcome they are though!


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