That Says a Lot About You.

This post was featured by Rockstar Finance. If you clicked over from there, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the read. If you just happened to wander over here and are interested in all things Personal Finance or FIRE (Financial Independence/Early Retirement), I highly recommend you hop over to Rockstar Finance to check out their site and all the awesome bloggers they host weekly.  Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Rockstar Finance Forum where you can chat PF to your hearts content. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will follow along on my long and winding road to FI!  Now, on to the post…

You know when something happens in your life, when you hear something or see something that is somewhat defining but doesn’t yet make sense so you sweep it into a corner of your mind and wait for the thoughts to mature enough to make sense on their own?  This is such a story and after years and years of it creeping in and out of the corner, it finally makes sense…

Image result for left turn only
~via~

When I was 16 years old, I was being driven home by my date at the end of the night when we stopped at a red light.  We hadn’t had a great evening and I was happy it was coming to an end.  The left turn arrow lit green before the light to go straight did and I broke the silence of that quiet moment to ask if he ever felt like taking the first light even though home was the other direction.  To this day I remember the exact words that came out of his mouth, “That says a lot about you.”  Hmph.  We broke up the next day when he asked another girl to prom, but those words have always haunted me.  What did that say about me??  Was I so different from my peers?  Did no one else yearn for the path less taken?!

Thinking back to that night, I look at my life and realize how many left turns I have taken and I wonder where those roots first began.  Perhaps they began in my youth?  I was the darkest skinned person in my family (and neighborhood) with thick black/brown hair that was equal parts curly and straight with a shit load of frizz thrown in…you know, for good measure.  My name was weird, I had a bubble butt that sadly didn’t bubble up to my top half, and my favorite pastime was reading.  I wanted so much to blend into the crowd of white skinned, blond hair and blue-eyed girls that I grew up with.  They had names like Michelle and Chrissy, Laura and Karen.  Names that, to me, sounded much better than the ethnic ones my sisters and I were given, Bianca being the most obscure of the 3.  To top off my weird factor, I was a southpaw.  My left-handed curse ever evident with every school paper turned in, the smudges of ink smeared the entire width of it from my hand dragging across the page as I wrote.  Those other girls, Jenny and Jane, they seemed to have beautiful penmanship with rounded hearts dotting the i’s.  I HATED being different.  My mom tried to help by telling me I was unique.  I can’t think that being “unique” helped my adolescence pass any quicker.

Come high school I had somewhat calmed my hatred towards myself in regards to the things I couldn’t change and instead I started to embrace them.  In fact, I started to buck against all social norms in an effort to make myself as different and “unique” as any high schooler could.  I had no interest in the normal things my peers were doing like sports, cheer-leading, and academics and instead focused on music (listening not playing), sewing my own patchwork clothing, and making hemp jewelry to sell at a consignment shop.  I opted out of the typical Cancun spring break to hang out with the hippy’s (and homeless) at Haight/Asbury in San Francisco.  It was quite obvious to me (and everyone around me) that I was not going to be voted “Most Popular” any time soon.  And I was ok with that – I now wanted to be different.  The pendulum swung in such the direction that I even got a bit of a thrill when people noticed my left handidness which they always seemed to follow up by saying “lefties are creative”.  Hmmm, I thought, is that so?

Shortly after high school I moved to a city all the way across the country in search of a tribe I could call my own.  I skipped college so I could wander about until I figured out what puzzle my piece fit in all while working 3 jobs to make ends meet.  From the outside, I can imagine it looked like I was throwing darts into the air with no specific target in sight but there has always been a plan…I just didn’t realize it at the time.  Years later, I somehow managed to wind up in the best ever long-term career the embraces the type of free spirit I have transformed in to.  The straight and narrow toward a definite direction has never been who I am.  I never played it safe.  Left, left, left.  

It is funny how an offhand comment can stick with you.  For many years I thought what my left turn inkling said about me was a negative. That I was flighty, maybe even immature.  But in recent years, I have begun to see that what my date said was a great motivator for me and my future.  It pushed me to dig deep within myself and question every thing I was unsure of.  It helped me to follow my instincts even if the rest of my peers were going a different route.  Of course, none of this saved me from making mistakes as we are all subject to fall every now and again, but it saved me from trying to be someone I wasn’t.

I no longer question who I am from a few simple words, instead I question how I am being received and do my best to make a good impression.  I take solace in the fact that I know myself much better than I did at 16.  I know that I am bored by specifics (unless it is $ numbers).  I like to start a party but rarely do I stay to the end.  I believe in true love and happily ever after but not necessarily marriage.  I love pretty dresses and finger sandwiches but never the places I have to go to eat them.  I love Chicago in the summer but hate Chicago in the winter.  I love my job but hate the environmental impact it has on the world.  I love the grit and grime of long distance hiking for weeks on end but, at the same time, I also love to cozy up on the couch for a Netflix marathon.  I love my dog so much I often cry knowing I will likely outlive her but can’t imagine my life without her.  I love all of our veterans for risking their lives and their home lives for me to be safe, but I hate war and everything it entails.  Speaking of, I love my country but hate our leader (I still can’t use the P word to describe him).  I love to write but I hate grammar, spell check, editing, and perfect punctuation (you may have picked up on that!).  I am humbled to know that all of these thoughts make me privileged compared to the rest of the world…and sometimes I hate that too.  These are the things that say a lot about me.

As I sit here thinking about my Left Handed Left Turn Life, I can’t help but realize that the path to FI is full of people just like me.  We are people from different backgrounds, social classes, professions, and countries.  Some will take 10 years to get there and others may take 20, but regardless of how long it takes, the end result is the same – we are seeking a lifestyle where we are the leaders.  We are choosing our own adventure.  We are engaging in our destiny.  And you know what??  It does say a lot about me – it says a lot about you too.  We are different.  We are unique.  We are working hard so we can choose the path that takes us where we want to go and not where others think we should go.  Lately I have read many posts about the backlash some of my FI seeking friends have gotten over their lifestyle choice.  Friends, family, and acquaintances reacting in disbelief, jealousy, and/or ignorance that there are other ways to live our lives…some would argue better ways.  😉  If you are one of those people, remember that weird is not always a bad thing.  Embrace it.  I am proud to be different.  I am proud to be unique.  And I am so happy to have all you weirdos by my side.  And that, my friends, says a lot about you…

Until next time…

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53 thoughts on “That Says a Lot About You.

  1. I admire your courage for going back in time, making an assessment, dismissing it and moving forward. I’d say that says more about you, than jumping the gun at a light. A lot of us like to forget the past, because we can’t change it – yet it haunts us all our lives.

    Thank you for sharing so much in this post, was wonderful to read.

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    1. Aww – thank you for the kind words. It’s nice that we can reflect on the past and see it all in a new light. I am happy to be who I am and where I am in life and can’t imagine it any other way.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m quirky. There’s a scale of weirdness from bland vanilla plain Jane to Holy F*#K they belong in a mental hospital. I never really fit in either, growing up. I hated it then, but love it now! I’ve found my own tribe of people that accept my quirkiness for what it is and for who I am and love me more for it.

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    1. Yes! You know the song Always a Woman by Billy Joel? “She never gives out and she never gives in – she just changes her mind.” Yup…That’s me! Always questioning what’s behind door #3? So glad to see I’m in good company! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ChooseBetterLife

    I too am very glad to no longer be a teenager. Instead of a few hundred or a few thousand kids from which to choose friends, we now have the whole world available to us so we can find our tribe, and we can be unique together.
    I am stronger now and proud of what makes me different from others, but a large part of that is in the acceptance and sense of belonging I’ve received from my friends and family. It doesn’t seem like much fun to be on the fringes in perpetuity.

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    1. I know – Living with my BFs 16 year old may be what brought this whole post to light… oh my, do you think their hormones are affecting me the way girls sync up their periods?? Am I becoming a teen again?? 😂

      I do love your perspective on having the whole world available to us. It’s so comforting to know there are endless amounts of people to connect with. It also helps to surround yourself with people who accept you, worts and all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. Wow Miss Mazuma. If your stewardess gig doesn’t work out for you, you definitely have a future as a writer!

    As a fellow lefty I salute you.

    Embrace the weird. If everyone was cool, then cool would be normal. And normal is boring.

    If you need any proof of your awesomeness just look at how your dog greets you after a trip. It doesn’t get any more honest than that.

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    1. You’re too kind!! And I’m so happy to find another lefty here. My Dad tried so hard to change me to righty that I think all he did is confuse me! I am lefty when I write and righty for everything else. Embrace the weird!!

      My dog is the best part of coming home. She is always happy and cries when she sees me! I watched a video today of a dog reuniting with his owner who hadn’t seen in 2 years. The dog was sooo happy! They are so fricking smart and full of love. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂

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  5. I totally tried to work against weird as a teen – but my work ethic was different than most of my friends. They’d be home on the weekend sleeping until noon and I had taught swimming lessons and was starting a second job by then. Many of them live in big houses and I’m getting ready to downsize. But I’m free (very soon) and I embrace weird now. The weirder, the better!

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    1. I never understood how my friends could sleep so late! I, like you, always wanted to work. It’s so cool that you are downsizing when the rest of the world keeps buying more and more. The importance of life and time completely outweigh the importance of “things” these days. I hope everyone has a chance to learn that and, if not, I hope they are at least happy with what they have. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone and that is ok, as long as we all work towards what makes us most happy. Freedom sounds pretty great to me!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There was so much in this post I could relate to. What I didn’t realize in my teen years was that other people felt awkward and weird too. Maybe even some of the “popular” kids did?! I used to (and still do sometimes) think everyone else had it figured out. Everyone else knew what they wanted, they were smarter, more athletic, more socially apt, etc. I’m grateful I don’t have to live through the teen years again. And I’m glad I’ve figured out exactly who I am. Like you, I’ve accepted that I’m “different” and weird – and I’m proud of it now! This is why I love blogging and connecting in the pf community. I didn’t expect this amazing, wonderful group of weirdo people, but am so thankful I can call them friends! Thanks for writing this, Miss Mazuma! GREAT post.

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    1. Haha – judging by some of the conversations I hear my BFs kid have, I am convinced that nobody knows anything in high school!! And many don’t figure shit out until much much later. I try to explain to the 16 year old that different is cool…he is not convinced. 😉

      I’m so thankful to have you as part of my PF weirdo crew. Us folks need to stick together!

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  7. Well said Bianca! It’s crazy how those one-off comments stay with you for so long. I remember when I was in high school having greek food with a “friend.” I went in for some more cheese bread (because is there anything more magical than cheesy bread), and he said, “do you really think you need another serving?” I was mortified and felt like a gross fat pig. That was only one of many comments I got about my weight in high school, a lot coming from so-called friends. Even to this day I still feel very different from many of my peers. I wish I could say I can easily blow past any off-handed comments about anything I may be doing differently, but honestly sometimes it’s hard…and then sometimes I feel empowered. It just depends on the day…I’m glad you went the other way!

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    1. Dude – what a jerk! First off, nothing wrong with some extra cheesy bread. Nothing. Second, I feel like people who make fun of someone’s physical attributes whether it be their weight, nose, flat chest, or otherwise, are just insecure ass bags. Clothes and haircuts can be changed (I can’t help but chuckle when I see a mullet walk by!) and therefor might still be free game, but the things we can’t change shouldn’t be. I’m sorry your friends were butt heads. Most people grow out of that phase, some don’t, but that doesn’t mean we should let them continue to harm us with their thoughtless choice of words. Thank goodness we have the choice to move on and make better friends. So happy to have you as one of mine. 🙂

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  8. DEEP! Thanks for sharing. Glad to call you my friend, you weirdo.

    I’m another who wouldn’t go back to my teen years for anything. Yes, they were fun, but filled with way too much doubt and drama. On the outside I fit in but on the inside I was rebellious. I didn’t want to follow the norm which was to grow up, get married, live near your parents and give them grandchildren.

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    1. Thanks, Mrs G! Oh my, you hit the nail on the head…drama drama drama!! Im so grateful that part of my life is over…as is the part where I need to color within the lines. Thankfully my sisters both gave my mom grand kids. #OffTheHook 😉

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  9. mindfullyspent

    Aw, I knew I felt at home in the PF crowd for a reason! 🙂 Thank you for an inspiring read. This seems like a piece that would have been very difficult for me to write, but I love how personal it is!

    Like

    1. Yes!! You belong here. 🙂 And thank you for the support. It is hard to write the more personal posts but I find they really help me connect with more people. Look how many of us have been through the same thing, felt the same way! So happy to not be the only weird one. 😉

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  10. I can so relate. Instead of going to my high school prom, I went to the circus with my now-husband. Instead of a backpack like normal kids, I had a “butt bag” – a bag made from the “seat” of an old pair of jeans that I had sewn, and decorated. Heck, even right now in my cubicle I currently have a version of my family made of Legos; Gigi from Kiki’s delivery service; and two Barbies (computer engineer and game developer barbie). I’m feeling right at home here! 🙂

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    1. I went to high school prom with my best friend! And I love the Butt Bag…you should market that!! 🙂 Wearing patchwork clothing did not make me popular, by any means, but it showed I was an individual and not following the crowd. There is a certain amount of respect that comes with that. Of course, when Jerry Garcia died everyone jumped on the tie dyed/patchwork/hippy bandwagon. All of a sudden all these girls from school were wearing patchwork clothes…little did they know that I was the one who had made them!! They were all shopping at a store that I sold my wares to. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this post, and how that offhand remark stuck with you and saw it as a positive thing to embrace.
    I actually think I’m the exact opposite. Not that I’m not weird (or unique) but that I am much more likely to follow the straight through route instead of veering off and taking that left turn. Sometimes I do this to a fault…get good grades, graduate, go to college, get an office job…check, check, check. All the things my parents wanted me to do but I have regrets about missing out on experiences that would have given me a better idea of who I am and what I want to do.

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    1. It took me a while to get there but I finally came around.

      As for your straight and narrow, there is nothing wrong with that…if that is who you are. However, there is also nothing wrong with ripping off your uniform and letting your freak flag fly ala Clark Kent. Dude wore a unitard and cape under his suit! How’s that for bad ass (and a little weird)?? Oh, and you guys have similar glasses so I think you can pull off the cape. 😉 The point is, we are ALL still learning who we are. I looked through my wardrobe the other day and wondered why I have so many fucking dresses when I haven’t worn any of them in years! Who am I? Do I wear dresses? It seems not. And then I wore one on Easter…just because. We have the right to change who we are at any time, but no one has the right to tell us who we are or who we will be..that is up to us. No regrets going forward. 🙂

      PS – My BF read this and told me to lose the Clark Kent reference. Um, I think not. It may be my best written analogy EVER.

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  12. I love it.

    I didn’t do very well when I followed the normal path. I didn’t do BADLY, either, but I didn’t do particularly well. And until this generation, lefties weren’t “allowed” because culturally, for some reason, parents always felt like they had to push their kids to be righties. So there’s a strong pull to be part of the pack, and I was always somewhere in the back, hiding, because it just wasn’t for me.

    The brilliance of the internet is that it’s brought me in touch with dozens, nay hundreds, of other “weirdos” that are nothing like me and I LOVE it (http://agaishanlife.com/2016/08/im-not-like-other-women-a-toast-to-friendship/). It’s brought amazing depth to my life, astonishing insights and perspectives, support (as evidenced by all the Twitter love today when I vaguely asked for some moral support during a tough situation I couldn’t even discuss), and even more peace with being the weirdo that I am.

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  13. Yes! My Dad tried to change me to a Righty when he saw my natural inclination with utensils was to reach with my left hand. I was a baby and he tried to change my instincts by always putting things in my right hand…my stubbornness won out but it is obvious I can pin point any feeling of inadequacy in my life to this one “flaw” he tried to change. 😉 Haha, if only…

    It is true that the community we are in is extremely supportive – I don’t know that I have found that in any other aspect of my life. Is it the similarity in lifestyle? Is it that many of us haven’t met in real life or had to share personal space with each other? I don’t know (though I will find out this year when I room with some of my PF blogging friends at various conferences/events!). The point is, we all want the best for each other. We aren’t competing. We are merely telling the stories of our journeys and taking each other along for the ride. It is such an awesome space to be a part of! Weirdos Unite!

    I had no idea we weren’t tweeps (is that what the kids are calling twitter friends these days?) until tonight and I am happy we finally connected! I am so sorry for whatever it is you are going through and please know we are all here for you!! I’m available for a chat anytime. 🙂

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  14. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, regardless of how bad it may seem or how much it doesn’t make sense at the time. Just listened to your Martinis and Your Money podcast and loved hearing your story. Embrace all those left turns for they made you who you are!

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    1. Indeed, fate is always a great idea to fall back on. You can try to make things happen or you can let them happen naturally. I like myself better when I’m not pretending to be someone else. 😉

      Thanks for listening to the podcast! I have been listening to Shannon’s podcast forever and am still pinching myself that I got the chance to record with her!

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  15. I love the idea of “embracing the weird”. I’ve noticed that the early retirement community is “weird” in more ways than just financially – many of us are just ambitious to be in control of our own life so that leads us to living different lifestyles to reach early retirement sooner. But why are we labeled weird for that?? How is it weird to want to be in control of your life?? What’s weird to me is the fact that most people are okay with having a 9-5 for 40 years…but I digress. Awesome post as always, I feel like each post I learn a little bit more about the you, keep it up 🙂

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    1. Being weird is just a silly label for different – and we are, in fact, different in the best of ways! I’ve played it both ways, in control and out of control, and am happy to now be somewhere in between. I’m in control of my finances but lacking control of my wanderlust! All I want to do is skip forward a few years and break free but I know this time is all part of the journey so I buckle down and stay focused. My brain wanders, my body doesn’t…well, at least not to the extent I’d like to. A few quick vacations coming up but it’s right back to work after.

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  16. It’s amazing to see where your path has led you. I have to imagine at 16 that you wouldn’t imagine talking about FIRE and leading the jet setting lifestyle that you do 🙂 Seems like you are still on the outside of “normal” society since you have your finances in order and can retire in a couple of years. Normal is BORING!!! Awesome post like usual!!!

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    1. Haha – 16 I was talking about packing up my car to live on the road following the Grateful Dead!! Little did I know I would be travelling the world in a completely different way many years later. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ah bless you. I was a bit of an anomaly at school. I looked terrible (standard braces, frizzy hair etc) but I was amazing at sports and smart – but not nerdy. I didn’t really fit into any slot 🙂

    Your comment about your dog – awww so sweet, you must really love him.

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    1. You would have fit right in with me…well, minus the sports part. 😉 You know, I remember that feeling of not fitting in with one group but I also remember that, because I wasn’t labelled in a specific way, I could easily float from one group to the next. I didn’t form any lifetime bonds like some of the cliques did, but I realize now that those bonds aren’t all that important to me. What matters most to me is to be authentic. When you are authentic you can be friends with anyone, even if they are different, because they like you for YOU and not who you are trying to be.

      And yes, I love my pup dearly!! 🙂

      Like

  18. WHAT??!! I didn’t comment yet??!! OOPS! Read this when it came out, but just now realized I never commented.

    I had to laugh at your “Turn Left” story. Often when I go for a run, I’ll turn whichever way is a “green light” when I get to intersections. It makes for an interesting run. Serendipity is my favorite word. I guess that says a lot about me…..

    Fun post. Go Left!

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  19. Laurie Frugal Farmer

    Wonderful post, Miss Mazuma!! I am a lefty as well, and like you, it took me a long time to embrace who I was. I remember back in the party days I was at a bar, dancing like crazy with my BFF to some wild rock song. Some guy came up to me and said “You know, you’re gorgeous, but none of the guys want to dance with you because you get so crazy wild on the dance floor.” I looked him straight in the eye and said “Well then, I guess none of these guys are the one for me, are they!” Life is SO much better when we are happy with ourselves, isn’t it? Definitely one of the best life lessons I’ve learned.:-)

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    1. Hi Laurie! I LOVE that story – hysterical!! Who gives a shit if some buffoon is too intimidated by your awesomeness…you just weren’t his brand of crazy! Good for you for knowing that early on and being brave enough to stand up for yourself when so many others would cower. People try to fit the mold and it’s too damn restricting. Let you freak flag fly!! 😉 I’m so planning to tell this story to my niece – she is in the boy liking stage!!

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      1. Laurie Frugal Farmer

        “Let your freak flag fly!” Love it! Yes, tell all of the girls. Don’t settle for less. Wait for a guy who deserves you!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I have always been considered the odd one by a lot of people I know, including my immediate family. Pursuing financial independence/early retirement will be just one more quirk for them to shake their head over.

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    1. Amen, sister! There is no better way to be weird than to do something extraordinary. I don’t consider my frugal ways to be a sacrifice but I know my sister would disagree. It isn’t for her and her refined lifestyle isn’t for me…and that is ok. Regardless, we coexist and come together as sisters/daughters/woman. Shake your head all you want, just follow it with a smile. 🙂

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  21. NatPhorU

    I agree with your date, that does say a lot about you. No idea how your date intended it, though I would have meant it as a compliment. Had I been sitting next to you, I would have replied to the effect of “every minute of every day.”

    Reminds me of a favorite song. The chorus goes “I’ma be alright, you ain’t gotta be my friend tonight. I’ma be okay, you would probably bore me anyway.”

    Like

    1. Aww – thanks! One could only hope he meant it as a compliment but given the timing I’ll never be sure. In the end it turned out as it should have – I was alright and I will continue to be because I know who I am now. Thanks for the lyrics. I took a listen – great song!! 🙂

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  22. bayalis

    Firstly, how did I not know your name was Bianca until now?

    Secondly, this is a really well written post. Well done!

    And lastly, all the rest of what I have to say:

    I am right handed but I have been told that I hold my hand in a position that is reminiscent of southpaws. The result? Every time I write, the previous line is smudged. I spent my life like you, being irrationally jealous of all those people with their smudge free notebooks and palms whose sides were not perpetually discoloured. I am ever oh so grateful for keyboards. If I was the kind who used emojis, I would say that I heart keyboards.

    About taking those left hand turns – the person who did this most in my life, both literally and figuratively is my father. When we were out riding on his scooter (we didn’t have a car), he would often suddenly veer down a side street and declare that we were going on an ‘adventure’. Those are some of my best childhood memories. Less literally, he has taken the road less traveled more often than not (like migrating to Botswana at the age of 56!). He has taught me the value of the road less traveled and I like to think that my willingness and ability to so quickly adapt to the FIRE lifestyle comes at least in part from him.

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    1. Thanks, girl!! A smudgy right hander? So rare you are! 🙂

      I already knew I loved you and I had an inkling I loved your family but the clincher was your Dad surprising you guys with a visit! Now getting to know his adventurous ways makes me love him even more. The road less traveled can be hard at times but it is always worth it in the end. 😉

      Like

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