Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Gratitude

I wrote this about a month ago, but it was something I've been meaning to post on here for a while now:
For the first time since I was a young girl I checked out a library book because of how broke I was, and it kind of felt good. 
Surprisingly enough, being broke feels much better than I had anticipated it would ever feel. I challenged myself because I wanted to know what being truly grateful for things felt like.
Not long ago, I came across on an online journal that used to be known as (currently, seachant). The stories they shared of adopting their daughter from Uganda was what got me thinking about my life, and the way I was living it vs. the way they lived theirs, full of meaning and love. I thought this blogpost was an inspiring one as well.
I originally found out about Andrew & Carissa after seeing their contributions to Kinfolk magazine, and reading one of her passages in a past volume that really meant something to me. As someone whose going to school for graphic design, I’d been collecting magazines for a while, but never had I been prompted to keep spending $18 for magazine until Kinfolk. I then began following A + C on instagram, but hadn’t taken a closer look into her photography + his film until reading this article. Reading that article was a reminder that genuinely good people did still exist. In part, each of the people and blogs mentioned above are responsible for helping me find my way in becoming an emerging artist with strong community ties.
Ok, back to the significance of February 20th. I remember that day vividly because not only was it my dear friend Tom’s birthday, but it was also the day that Leon Johnson (our director at MSK / S & C) approved our proposal to start a Brunch Series in Detroit’s Eastern Market. After looking back to my school planner I realized that that was the day I had clearly written down to check out a book from the Detroit Public Library entitled The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau, which Leon suggested I pick up.
Instead of going to the library that day, I got up caught up with celebrating a friends birthday at a Thai restaurant that was walking distance from S & C. And embarrassingly enough, I wasn’t able to afford the cost of our shared lunch that day since my credit card got denied after attempting to pay the bill. Though I was happy to gift him this book, a handmade bookmark, and a few cake pops I’d baked earlier that day as a b-day treat. That was the least amount of money I had ever spent on a gift for someone I cared about, but his reaction made me again realize that money wasn’t the most important thing.
With regard to The Practice of Everyday Life, I have yet to read the book in its entirety. Come Tuesday, the day after my school semester ends, I plan on devouring the book page by page. Leon had noticed that I checked out the book, which was quite over due at the time, and he slipped a copy into my belongings with a blue envelope tucked inside. This small act of kindness made my day, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I told my two friends about how much that meant to me. He had written the cost of the book with an address, and included a couple of business cards for my personal reference. Part of the reason I haven’t read the book is because I feel partially guilty for not having enough money to cover the $9 cost yet, but my dad so graciously offered to help pay for the electric bill I wasn’t able to afford this month and added in an extra $20, which makes the second time in the past two months for such a modest amount of money to bring me to tears.
In all honesty, a $20 bill hadn’t meant much to me three months prior. Changing my spending habits has made such an enormous impact on my both my attitude towards the value of money, and my overall pattern of thinking. It’s forced me to be very careful with how I was handling my finances, and taught me to be much more conscious of where my money was going. I’ve learned that setting aside a small amount for a few specialty groceries, such as a wedge of quality cheese and a pint of my favorite ice cream, really goes a long way. 

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