Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lesson 9: Go Easy On Yourself

The other day I had the itch to do a some serious shopping. And I mean the kind where you clean out your wallet in a whirlwind frenzy, then spend the rest of the afternoon trying to think of some excuse that would justify you wearing all of your purchases at once. I needed to binge, and my mind was racing with every article of clothing I had to have, scratch that, needed to have in my new fantastic wardrobe I've been working on since I lost 6 pounds. I'm not going to lie, I was probably foaming at the mouth a little bit.

Folks, I was prepared to do some damage.

So I took off, alone and slightly crazed, fully expecting to receive a thank-you note in the mail sometime next week for substantially boosting the local economy of Billings, Montana. I walked in and out of vintage shops, shoe stores and specialty depots. I found summer dresses on sale, ballet flats half off, and an entire bin of old scarves. I tracked down vinyl records, picture frames and wall art all in the "not that bad" price-range. There was even a stray puppy who clearly needed to come home with me. Well he was attached to a leash, and someone was holding it but...all minor - and irrelevant - details.

Basically, I found a goldmine, but at each stop that little downer of a voice inside of my head clicked on, reminding me of the ticket to Italy (or wherever the poll on the right sends me) I'm saving to buy. I returned home having not purchased a single item, but as soon as I sat down in the comfiest chair in the house a familiar feeling crept over me, rushing over me from head to toe:


The guilt you feel when you purchase something you can't afford. Now being the struggling grad student I am, a 'purchase I can't afford' can be loosely defined as anything costing the equivalent of a bagel, but in this case my guilt was completely unwarranted.

I hadn't bought anything.

Oh, come on! What, now I'm feeling guilty for looking at stuff? For walking around and staring in windows? For trying on shoes? Bullsh*t. First of all, it was looking at me, and second... what the hell?

When I was little I remember my mom examining some sort of cooking equipment. "Buy it!" I shouted, my little 6-year old self just excited to see the magic that happens when you hand someone green paper and they hand you a coveted object. "No, " my mom said. "Don't you want it?" I asked. "Yes, " she replied wistfully, "but I don't need it."

I have become my mother. I not only tell myself I don't need something, but I also punish myself for ever wanting it in the first place. Now, just the act of wanting something is reason enough to trigger the wash of guilt that would typically come with an "undeserved" purchase.

I refuse to live the rest of my life this way. With everyone else out there probably judging me at one time or another, shouldn't I be batting for my own team? I think I'm a rational person, and I feel if I want something I should be able to think through the pros and cons of purchasing it and then make an educated decision. More importantly though, I need to remind myself that it's okay to want something, regardless of how expensive. I need to be able to tell that little voice inside my head to just screw off once in awhile.

"Yes, condescending little voice, I want a jet ski. Always have, always will. They're effin' fun. Get over it."

I'm not going to go out and buy a jet ski right now or anything, but someday when I do I want to feel excited about it, not guilty.

As a matter of fact, I think I do want to buy those little ballet flats I saw. They were only $2.48, is that so bad?

Oh sorry, I forgot: I don't give a damn.

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom     


  1. haha score! you totally rock those ballet flats! <3 :)

  2. I do that same guilty thing all the time! It's so annoying--it really does make buying something less fun :(

    Glad you bought your flats--they're super cute!

    Have a great 4th!

  3. following you from an blog hop..really enjoyed the post..Shoot I still get that stupid feeling when I purchase Items that I want..never appeared to me that my Dear ol' mom was the originator of this feeling..darn

  4. Those stray puppies on leashes will get you every time!!! ;) lol!

    The ballet flats are cute!! :)

    Off to vote for Italy (or maybe Ireland... Hmmm) ...

  5. Stopping in from the Alexa hop. Have a great 4th!


  6. ballet flats for $2.50! I wish i could find such magical deasl.. and i thought I scored with my 30% off wedges...which still cost $100... i get that guilt too...but I always push it aside... maybe we should trade consciences for a while... that way you can spend and i can save!

  7. Hopping by from the Alexa Hop :) Happy 4th!

  8. Thank you so much for participating in Monday Mingle. Please come back every Monday to link up your website or blog. I would love to connect with you on Facebook too!

  9. Hello...visiting from the Alexa Hop...make it a great week!

  10. I've been fighting the shopping bug as well. Saving money for a down payment & closing costs (though most of it should be covered by the seller...), I've been avoiding the mall, the coupons, and the ads like the plague...

    And when I do go shopping, I ask myself 3 questions:
    1) Do I love it?
    2) Will I wear/use it more than once?
    3) Do I already have something similar that I can use instead?

    This makes sure that I don't feel guilty for buying something a little on the pricy side or for walking away from that awesome deal on something that I really didn't want!


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