Jasonwrote a great new book called Financial Sorcerythat I was privileged enough to be a beta reader for. You should get it, it’s really helpful as magic tends to fall into just a few categories in my opinion: protection, hexing, love/fertility (of all kinds), healing and money. It’s a huge undertaking to take on something that big but Jason does a really good job breaking it down into bite sized pieces from both a magical and mundane stand point.
The part that I was the most fascinated by was where he talked about Set Point Theory which is apparently (unbeknownst to me) a huge thing in the weight loss community but can apply to financial sorcery equally well. Basically, set point theory is the idea that we all have this range where we’re comfortable. If we get out of range in a bad way, we’re going to move heaven and earth to fix it. If we get out of range in a good way, we’ll likely sabotage ourselves to get ourselves back into our comfort zone. With money, this translates into if you make less than what you’re comfortable with, you’ll do anything to make more. If you make more than your comfort zone, you are unlikely to do anything of use with it, you’ll probably blow it all on pixie stix and ponies. See: rappers and atheletes.
This blew my mind because this is exactly what I have been doing for the last year or so. I had an additional income stream that was substantal. I figured between my day job, writing and crafting along with this other income stream that I would really get ahead of my bills. Finish paying down my consolidated credit cards ahead of time, maybe put a little away into a mutual fund. What have I been doing the last year? Blowing it mostly. Granted my expenses went up when my car died ahead of schedule and I needed to get a new one. But honestly? I couldn’t even tell you where it’s gone.
And now it’s dried up due to circumstances beyond my control that have nothing to do with me directly.
This is sad making for a lot of reasons – I’m getting married in September and I was counting on this money for some unpaid time off and misc wedding expenses. Not to mention from a security standpoint it was a really good blanket. I make enough right now to support myself without but when things go wrong like say my refrigerator dying and having been dead for the last two weeks with the new refrigerator being on backorder (we got a loaner that’s being comped and delivered tomorrow [I didn't know loaner fridges existed or I would have demanded one sooner), it sucks.
I'm tired of my set point. I'm tired of making do. I'm tired of limiting myself and I'm tired of not getting ahead. It has at times been useful (such as getting free meds in the US and getting our adorbs little condo in a great town) but it's not really useful anymore. I also have things I want to accomplish in my professional life that don't include me cleaning up vomit for the rest of my life.
What does one do when one realizes this and is completely freaking out about finances? Go on a magical shopping walk about apparently.
I went to Bloomingdales to return some stuff for the honeymoon as I’ve been having my own private mail order lingerie party all summer. It comes to my house, I try it on in the privacy of my home with good lighting, I keep what I want, I return the rest to the store. It was all I intended to do, really. But there was this sale going on. And though the store was not particularly crowded, the energetics started getting whipped up into a frenzy. The saleswomen seductively treating me like I have a pot to piss in, Coach sandals that would regularly be $225 marked down to $60, the rampant perfect compliments I was receiving. I knew that this was good customer service but I didn’t care. I missed it.
The Kate Spade bag marked down to practically nothing.
Kate Spade, Kate Spade, Kate Spade. Even her name sounds like a siren’s call. She was just above the Coach/Juicy Couture level of purse cache before you dove off that cliff into the Burberry abyss landing in Chanel. It was patent leather (which I love!), funky while still being grown up, magnetically snapped shut but still having room to just reach in and fish out your cell phone from the pocket and the drop handle, oh the drop handle! It was perfect. And magical words were inscribed inside it:
she’s quick and curious and playful and strong. she is a voracious reader and a fantastic dancer. she saves old scrapbooks and loses her umbrella. her emails pile up but she never forgets to call her grandmother. she has $7 dollars in change at the bottom of her handbag
Oh her! That girl! Queen of Etsy, Lordess of the hipster Mormon Mommy bloggers. I want to be her.
I put the bag down and tried to forget it but I couldn’t. I circled back and in a daze, I bought it. Three days later, Jow and I go to anthropologie and I find the perfect scarf and pin, priced as if I were at Target. I find a skirt that I had been half dreaming about but couldn’t find until then, marked down on clearance and then marked down some more. Fitting perfectly two sizes smaller than I ever had any hopes of wearing. A silken short sleeved poncho that had no business matching the skirt but did, also marked down to clearance and reduced again. When I wore it, I felt like That Girl. I felt like I should be spinning on my wheel in a field somewhere. I bought it all.
It all sat carefully wrapped as I lamented to Gordon that this was the worst idea ever but yet I found myself completely unable to return any of it.
But I realized that if I wanted to become That Girl, I needed to wear her clothes. I needed to become her. If I wanted to change my set point I needed to do as Gordon suggested and enchant my purse. I needed to step up.
And tonight I’m going to. I’ll wear the clothes in the back of my closet that I hate because the materials suck and they have become ill fitting. I’ll shuck them off before a ritual bath and banish them from my house never to return again. I’ll enter my ritual space clad only in Toadman’s Ointment and I will leave my space clad in the attire of my new set point.
2012, I’m not done with you yet. Go on take everything, I dare you to.