First 30 Days Blog

16 apr

Reality Wore a Black Leather Jacket

After a delightful lunch at our favorite restaurant, my friend and I did our usual shopping—for me it was limited to window shopping—at the mall. On that day, since it was a little chilly, I thought of no better way to keep warm than to wear the leather jacket she had given me. She had explained to me that the jacket was too large for her and she felt it was too nice to just give away. I’ve always wanted a leather jacket and, not knowing when I would have the money to buy one for myself, I accepted. It was even too small for me, but that didn’t matter, I just didn’t button it.

Still, although it was a hand-me-down, it belonged to her and I felt no pride of ownership. After all, I did not spend my money to buy it, which is probably why I felt so ashamed when my friend and I ran into an acquaintance of hers. The lady complimented me on the jacket, I could feel my friend’s eyes on me as she waited for me to do what I know I should have. I could not force myself to tell her that my friend had given it to me, that it was a hand-me-down. It was in that moment that I didn’t know which was worse: wearing a hand-me-down, something that she no longer wanted, or telling a lie by omission.


Maybe it was how I felt at the time, vulnerable and a little needy. Money was not flowing abundantly into my life so I felt left out, secluded from the way I would like to have been living. This was not a way that I enjoy or would want anyone to know about, but there I was, graciously accepting a hand-me down that I was offered. It meant I did not have the money to go out and buy the item, and I said yes, when I really wanted to say no. It makes me feel poor to accept hand-me-downs even from the best of friends and family.

I, on one hand, realize that what they’ve done is a nice gesture. On the other hand, it reminds me of my precarious financial situation. I am financially unable to buy the new clothes that I want, that actually fit me and reflect the style that I like, and they know it. It’s another reminder that I am not in the place that I want to be in financially, not yet anyway. I know what it is and I see it off in the distance, but I’m not there.

If I accept the hand-me-downs, no matter how good they are or how expensive they were when they were new, I am still settling for less. This is because I know that I have, in that moment, lost my independence. They are acting in good faith, wanting to do something for me, and there may even be a tinge of pity involved.


Could I have felt oversensitive when it was nothing more than the fact that she couldn’t wear it? After all my friend had no ulterior motive, only a desire for me to have her jacket. Could it be that my feeling bad or ashamed was not a rational reaction?

I realize that for a very long time I’ve been worried about finding a way to make the amount of money it will take to keep me from having to worry about not having enough. Because of this worry that is always at the forefront in my mind, negative thoughts are abundant. I’ve stopped believing in the positive. In the moment when my friend and I ran into her acquaintance, I had forgotten that I do have the power to make new choices, to change my thoughts which will then change my life.

I felt powerless at that moment, and so I was sensitive to the fact that someone else, a stranger, may see that I am a phony—that I don’t have money that I act like I have, that I do at times need to accept a hand-me-down, that a friend will buy my lunch and that I am not as perfect as I would like everyone to believe.

But, I realized most of that it is perfectly OK. Because I do have the power to change my life, and there will be a time that I will be there to help my friend, to do special things for her.


  • Can you think of instances in which negative thoughts were controlling you and your life?
  • What thoughts are you thinking now? Are they making you feel bad in some way?
  • Are you willing to choose better and more productive thoughts?
  • Change your thoughts and change your life.

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Posted by JoAnna Boccard on April 16th, 2010 in Finances, Personal Stories, Relationships, Uncategorized | 0 comments Read related posts in

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