Our strengths are our weaknesses. For instance, I am very generous--and I have often found myself in debt. I am very personable, and I've often been called loud. These things work, they don't work, and we have to make do with what we have or work slowly to mitigate the effects of our strengths and weaknesses in order not to be kicked out of every social group we inhabit.
In recent years, I have somehow learned to bite my tongue. One of my strengths has been my forthrightness--the weakness is that I can't let go, can't modulate my ideas, can't quite shut up. So I worked on it, not having to call a spade a spade when no one even knows what kind of spade we are talking about any way. (Wikipedia warns us not to use this phrase at all because of the racial implications, but Plutarch and Erasmus were talking about implements, so we needn't be shy).
In any case, sometimes I can't stop myself. I have to say it how it is. I have to call it from the mountain tops. I boil over, spill my guts, cry havoc and them dogs of war come out.
In any case, suddenly, my strength is my weakness again.
Yesterday, I had the lovely opportunity to tell someone he was a cheap bastard. Not in so many (two) words, but I said it in a way that he heard. This cheap bastard and I had a great email discussion that has ended in a stand off, and I realize that my strength/weakness of being generous/spendthrift is preferable that the reasonable/cheap ass bastard way of doing things. Yes, I'm biased. But cheapness is ugly. It's shriveled and tight and wrenched and constricted. Cheapness is about lack. It's about perceived loss. It's about selfishness and retention and all wizened things.
I know we are in a fabulous time for being cheap/frugal/parsimonious/careful. All the magazines (even the fashion magazines) feature articles on how to do everything for less. Nothing! For free! Suze Orman is laughing her rich ass all the way to the bank. All anyone cares about is his or her FICO score. We are retrenching, consolidating, clipping coupons, and crying about our 401Ks.
But it's hard to breathe being so tight, so constricted, so pinched.
I'm not saying anyone should take the American Express card out for a long, long walk on Rodeo Drive. I'm saying holding everything tight, close, firm is not always the right answer.
Spend a little. Give it a go and see how it feels. Not so bad, that.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org