“It’s saying you have insufficient funds,” she said three octaves higher than necessary.
I’ve seen that look before, cased behind her thick black frames–the immature, bitchy eyes of opportunity: the opportunity to feel better than me, by making me feel lesser than her.
My worth is not dependent on the money in my bank account, I know that, but in that moment, I felt embarrassed, even though I knew it was totally my fault—I had a lot of extra expenses this month. I neglected to transfer money in last week, and now, here I am, with a cart full of groceries, holding a debit card with no clout.
I could feel my face catch on fire from her searing eyes.
I just wanted to get out of there, so I used my business card, “I’ll get the points and pay it off,” I silently justified my decision.
“Good luck figuring that out,” she taunted as I walked away.
“Fuck you!” I said in my head.
As I took the fifty steps back to my car, loaded my on-loan groceries into the trunk and drove home, I replayed the interaction, searching for the lesson.
I absolutely hate talking about money. I hate it. I hate thinking about it. I hate having it, and not having it.
It’s the one form of energy in the world that can give a person all the power and take it all away, just like that—I hate that fact.
I was able to trudge through my visceral discomfort to the meaning of the experience. There was something there—a universal lesson.
Do you know how we can support one another and eradicate inequality, injustice and protect the wellbeing of our fellow humans?
Simply by relating, by making others feel equal to, not lesser than–by helping others feel big, not small.
We can foster equality by pulling back our curtains and sharing our struggles, the ones that bring embarrassment and shame to the forefront. That’s how we do it.
What if the girl behind the counter with the coke bottle glasses leaned over and whispered, “Do you possibly have another card? I know this is so unfortunate. This has happened to me, too, but it’s saying it’s not working. I’m sorry. I know this isn’t fun.”
What if she practiced some empathy and simple kindness? How would the situation have been different?
Yeah, I would have walked out of the store concerned that I forgot to load my account with more cash, but my heart would have been overloaded with support. “I’m not alone,” would have replaced the “fuck you,” just like that.
This morning, I’m still reminding myself–I’m equal, whether I have $800,000 or $80 in the bank.
I’m no better than or lesser than anyone else.
I am the same as you.
We are equal, and that’s what makes us all rich. ~Rebecca