I got an iPhone for Christmas.
There, I’ve gotten that out of the way. For all the soul-searching and soul-baring I have done on this blog, I have never been more embarrassed to write something.
Having an iPhone means I have resources. It means I seek convenience. It means I can’t make do with what I have.
Or so I think. It might just be that I like the phone.
I grew up on what I like to call “the house that technology forgot“. We lived on the edge of our cute little suburb on a huge isolated patch of land, my parents didn’t drive the right cars and we didn’t take the right vacations. I’m not embarrassed of that, or of them. I never was. But in school we all have to have something that makes us feel isolated, right? For me it was that.
So I went to a school where they didn’t take the smartest or the hardest working kids, they took the coolest, or so I thought. Everyone had such easy manners, everyone was so well dressed. They lived in a world of J. Crew and Tiffany bracelets. I didn’t know what either of those were. When I think of my friends, none of them ever excluded me. But in college we all need something to make us feel excluded, right? For me it was that.
(and because like all of us I cling to insult, allow me to admit that i will never forget the look on the face of my neighbor’s mom our freshman year, when I turned around after she looked me up and down. I will never forget that uptight, plastic, affluent, condemning face.)
So that is who I became. The person who did without new things. The one who lived with less. I avoided the trendy. I used a $15 phone. I didn’t own a computer. I drove a junky old car. I lived in a tiny, dilapidated apartment. I saved money, for sure. I kept myself from getting attached to possessions. But part of it became a compulsion. If I got something new or trendy or expensive then I would become the doctors’ daughters in my hometown who knew how to dress. I would become the lawyers’ sons who went skiing. In my hate and envy I had made myself into their opposite. Any luxury would be a concession.
The iPhone works for me. It is convenient and easy and maybe even necessary for a freelancer who is all over the place, like me. So I use it. I love it, even. Whether I continue to feel like an imposter or if I am free enough to accept who I am remains to be seen.