Do for yourself, people tell me. Treat yourself well. Indulge every once in a while.
I have tried to take this advice most of my adult life, but never could really muster what I needed to splurge on myself. Oh, I love spending money. I love buying things. But I love buying things for other people. I will gladly throw down a hundred dollars on something for one of my kids or my husband, but spending that kind of money on myself always seemed a little self indulgent, and I did not have room in my psyche for that. I never actually liked myself enough to feel I was worth spending money on. I didn’t deserve nice things, while everyone else did.
On the rare occasion that I did buy myself something in an uncharacteristic fit of spontaneity, I would feel guilty about it for days, sometimes weeks. I’d contemplate returning the item, or refrain from telling anyone about it. I’d be completely embarrassed to tell anyone that I spent money on myself.
In recent years, I eased up on myself just a bit. I allowed myself to splurge here and there, and tried to talk myself down from the inevitable dressing down I would give myself after. I joined Stitch Fix last year, getting overpriced clothes sent to me every couple of months. It took three deliveries before I let myself enjoy having new clothes. They were a necessity, I told myself. Clothes aren’t indulgent; I need nice outfits for work, I needed to expand my worn out wardrobe. Still, I would feel the familiar guilt every time I went to the website and checked out. Did I really need these pants? Is having the same shirt in two different colors an indulgence I deserved? I rarely allowed myself to enjoy my purchases. I didn’t know how, and I didn’t deserve to.
Then came the pandemic and everything changed. Sitting home day after day, doing nothing, feeling nothing but panic and depression, I took to Amazon to make me feel better. Surely getting a package in the mail would fill this void I’d been feeling since they closed work down. Buying stuff for me would give me a surge of happiness, even momentarily.
At first I thought it would be better for myself if I bought something useful, so I purchased a Sonicare electric toothbrush, something I’d always wanted. I’m taking care of me. My teeth need this. I justified the rather light expense any way I could. Then it was the…