Hello lovely people,
First of all, let me apologise for the tumbleweeds and crickets around this place. I have been going through one of those classic blogger things when I have many things I want to write about, but somehow can't bring myself to write about any of them. Aside from my August Reading post, things have been rather quiet around here.
I can't absolutely guarantee that that will change, but I'm going to do my best to get over my somewhat perfectionist ways (who knew that I was blocking myself? I have never thought of myself as a perfectionist, but it seems it is blocking me in more ways than one...) and just keep posting things on here. Because I like posting things, and I like writing things out, and I adore seeing that people are connecting with something I wrote, even a little bit.
So, today's topic... retail therapy.
I have known for a few years, after looking at myself particularly closely, that I engage in a few behaviours that are somewhat questionable. I'm a bit of an emotional eater, and I am somewhat addicted to sugar (trying to quit sugar - and I am just talking about artificial sugar here, not the stuff in fruit and veggies - has led to some particularly grumpy Bethwyn days, and not much success). And the other thing is, I try to comfort myself when I am feeling intense things by buying myself stuff.
The stuff is usually books, but in the past it has taken the form of: food (just to keep with the emotional eating theme), tea, candles, plushies, anime, tv series, magazines (that's a big one because it's almost a book but not), and any number of other things when I decide I want them. Clothes even jump in there sometimes, and bags.
But the fact is, it's fairly unsustainable for me, living on such a low income and not working at the moment. I am lucky enough to be financially covered for certain things, but this knee-jerk reaction of buying myself things whenever I feel complex emotions just doesn't make sense for me.
I have been working on this for a while, of course, but this is the first year where I have really actively looked at all the stuff I have, and asked whether I actually 'need' or even still want all of it. I spent a few weeks going through all of my stuff (and I actually do mean all of it) and getting rid of anything that didn't feel right or wasn't needed anymore - and so far, I have only had one regret [a single doona from my childhood with a beautiful blue cover that had yellow flowers on it], all of the other stuff I barely think about anymore, if I even remembering having it at all. This has been quite invigorating for me, as someone who used to identify as a little bit of a hoarder.
Now, I understand that some people may take objection to this - I really do think that there is room for 'stuff', and it's not that I am preaching to others to get rid of their things. Heck, I got rid of lots and lots of things, but I still kept quite a lot, too. I may have to downsize again when I move out, I may not. I have things in my 'collection' that would make no sense to others, but they make sense to me. Humans, in my experience, like to witness beauty, but they also like to own it. They like to show their appreciation for beauty by having it around them whenever they want.
And that is part of the reason why restricting my spending habits is still so hard for me. I get the urge to place big orders for books, or just order a big batch of my favourite chocolate off of the internet. Things that have become relatively normal to me, like buying a teacup from T2 when it's on sale, have become things that I need to stop doing (in the case of tea stuff, not just because of the financial factor but because I have no more room for more tea stuff at the moment O_O). This change in my spending habits, and in the way I comfort myself, represents a huge relearning on my part of everything that felt normal to me.
I am trying, at this point, not to replace my spending habits with some other damaging behaviour, and I am even trying to tone down my emotional eating, too (something else I have been doing for a long time). The fact is, I always want to learn to cope with my emotions in a better way, in a healthier way, and for me, this means a big change. I'm trying to acknowledge my complex emotions instead of distracting myself with something new and shiny, and that is really, really hard.
At this point, the only concrete things I have worked out is that I need to start saving up for things instead of buying something for myself with every pay I get, and that I am only allowed to buy myself two new books a month (this includes ebooks - yes, I am being strict, I mean business here). So far this means I am putting about $20 aside each fortnight to save up for things, and it's slow-going as you might imagine. But I am trying. I may screw up at some point, but I will try to get back onto it as soon as I can, and not get angry at myself. Relearning how to cope with things is tough business, and I am determined to show myself compassion while I try.
Comments are welcome - you don't need to share stories of your own if you don't feel comfortable or called to. I am not asking for critique of my approach to things here, but I will accept gentle encouragement and sparkle points. Love to all who read.