If you open the console in my Honda, you will find a zip lock storage bag full of paper receipts. Yes. Years worth of receipts I’ve accumulated because I am afraid that if I trash them, there will be no hard evidence of reasonable expenses in the event there is an audit on my life. Now, due to my overflow of receipts, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to shut the console. The receipt-filled storage bag even pops out in a confrontational manner from time-to-time.
I’ve actually gotten used to it. For example, I’ve learned to grip and blow my hot cup of peach tea with honey, citrus, and mint with my right elbow bouncing on the unbarred console. I tell you, when it comes to getting rid of these receipts and getting burned, I live on the edge. Would you believe that the habit of holding onto receipts somehow made it to my purse? In the secret crevices and side pockets, more receipts have accumulated.
I acknowledge that this habit of holding onto these transactions is a cumulative problem I have. “You should just scan them,” my husband often says. He’s right, I very well should. For some reason, though, I just prefer the act of physically holding. It makes me wonder if any of this is about claims and deductions anymore. Is it merely about my safety needs, my personal anxieties, and my inability to let go of that which no longer serves me?
The problem is I’ve literally run out of room. The reality is that the choice to hold on to all of this evidence for days, weeks, months, years… was mine.
And my receipts are not organized. The bag in my console is a mixed, miscellaneous bag of “proof”.
Why are these tiny scripts such a big deal? What is it that we are constantly trying to prove? Maybe your console (your bag) is your cell phone. Maybe your receipts are in the form of screenshots. We all need proof that we paid for something, saw something, went through something….We may have gotten over, overcome, survived, etc. but in case I ever have to remind or retort, here are my receipts.
I guess receipts can be positive if they protect and serve as evidence of our personal growth.
On the other hand, there are those of us who want to hold onto things like evidence of peoples’ failures should they ever have a surge in success or good will of any kind— our receipts become weapons of mass destruction, reminding them of what they used to be.
The initial purpose of me keeping mine was to protect me from the unknown. Eventually, paranoia just kicked in and I was holding onto things that as I stated before, were not serving me. Nonsensical things. Things that ultimately didn’t even matter!
As someone who is getting closer and closer to mid-life, I am learning to be completely open to whatever life’s moments are trying to teach me.
Real talk, here are the lessons I learned from hoarding receipts:
- Get out of your shell and step into the Glorious that is out there.
- Get rid of the pride and the shame that holds you hostage in our own land, preventing you from being fully there for the citizens who follow your lead.
- Get rid of your aversions to the way other people choose to live their lives.
- Get rid of the hate you have for the success stories you did not write.
- Get rid of the cynicism that steeps in your cup, becoming bitter, turning cold.
- Get out of the bitterness trap.
- Get out of bed.
- Get rid of the chronic worrying– the fear of driving through fire and smoke (on the other side is a real peace that surpasses understanding).
- Get rid of antiquated ideas that don’t expand your heart.
- Get out of your head.
- Get out…before you become the monster’s equal.
- Get rid of all the receipts that do not serve you and make room for better, more useful things.
Clinnesha is a wife, mom, daughter/sister/auntie, literary artist, humanities scholar, and social entrepreneur. Her advocacy work is at the intersection of black/feminist thought, arts, culture, and community.