Material Girl

I’m a recovering maximalist.

A comfort-seeker at heart who fantasizes of minimalism, I’m a material girl.

I’m a classy hoarder, a furniture junkie, a closet-runneth-over capitalist.

I’m the shopped-till-I-maxed-out fashionista, a wanderer of malls, reader of the Sunday paper advertisements.

I dream of the Target good life.

I’ve entered Targets without intent, just for the smell and the comfortable consistency of well-lit isles stocked with life-altering things.

Oh, how retail feeds my shopaholic soul.

I’ve once been comfortable in Bed Bath and Beyond, climbing shelves, reaching for pristinely bent plastic, perfectly puffed pillows, and piffles of problem-solving poppycock.

I’m a credit report-carrying member of the I-once-had-a TJ Maxx, Pier One, Home Depot, Furniture Row, AND Sears credit card.

I’m a former member of the never-ending debt cycle, the girl with the perfect paring of Amexs, MasterCards and Visas.

I held in tandem an American Express Blue AND an American Express Delta SkyMiles. I had a CitiBank rich with rewards AND an Edward Jones MasterCard that earned me points for retirement.

I never made it to the promise land of reward-laced kickbacks and compounding points.

Instead, I cashed in my retirement fund to pay my debts.

Oh, plastic.

I’ve frozen those magic cards in Ziplocs filled with water. I’ve also discovered that the numbers are still readable if you freeze the cards just right.

I’ve chopped them in two, only to find that online shopping is still just as simple to complete with a severed credit card.

I’ve ground those babies, shredded them to unrecognizable bits, only to find a new ones in the mail, shiny with promises of more things.

I’m interest barren.

I’m a debt-saddled homeowner with a shed I’m still paying for.

I hold garage sales so I can park in my garage.

I nearly buried myself in my things.

Nothing in my home was empty, nothing was spacious, nothing was free.

I couldn’t quiet the need to transact.

So I changed how I transacted.

I sold the furniture I collected, replaced it with my father’s childhood writing desk, my favorite family’s vintage dining table they sold when downsizing, and a 1930s shipping trunk for a dresser.

I hauled garbage bags of clothing to second-hand shops, gave armfuls of linens and kitchen gadgets to thrift stores, and took down any art that wasn’t made by a friend or didn’t have an experience attached to it.

I got rid of my second and third set of dishes and unpacked my “special” collection for daily use. I took the blankets my grandma knit out of storage.

I stopped applying for credit cards. I asked credit card companies to stop sending me offers. I closed every account I’d ever opened.

Today. For the first time in my apply-now-no-interest-for-six-months-eligible life, I am credit card debt-free.

I may live in a material girls’ world.

But I am a credit-card-debt-free girl.

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About Anna Paige

Anna Paige is a writer, poet, and photographer advocating for live music culture, visual and performance arts, and the creative class in Montana through writing. More >>