Years ago, I thought it was stupid when some girl would talk about her shopping addiction. I thought people who were into shopping were shallow and silly. While I still maintain that certain shopping addictions are silly (for instance collecting Boyd's Bears or stuffed animals)I now realize that my previous judgment was simply the "sour grapes" of a poor girl. I couldn't buy anything; therefore, buying things is stoopid. Now that I'm not poor anymore, I've changed my mind, with unsettling results.
As you probably know, I have an obsessive personality. When I get something in my head, it doesn't leave. When combined with a love of buying things, this is truly dangerous. For instance. I was browsing around on the internet, looking for yoga clothes, since I start teacher training in August, and obviously will need new, authoritative looking yoga outfits. Well, during my search, I found some fantastically cool Thai fisherman's pants for only $18, handmade by some Thai woman. I loved these pants, and I wanted them. But Phil and I are trying to save money, so I'm supposed to be cutting back on purchases.
So here's what happened.
I looked at the fisherman's pants. I studied the picture, the cost, the care instructions, and everything to do with those pants. And I said to myself "Next month, those pants will be mine".
I turned on the TV to distract myself. Everything was fine for approximately 15 minutes. And then I thought -
"What if they're gone next month?"
I pulled the website up again. They were still there. My breathing relaxed and returned to normal. I turned my attention back to the TV.
But now all I can think about is those pants and how badly I want them. I can't be distracted. I can't change my train of thought. I can't reason or logic my way out of it. I need those fucking pants.
So obsessed am I, that I start talking about them.
"Hey Phillip" I say. "Guess what I found online? FAntastic yoga pants! In my size! I wouldn't have to hem them or anything! Only $18! Awesome, huh?"
Phil mutters something like "uh huh k" and goes back to playing Warcraft.
He didn't say no.
But that's besides the point. I'm just going to look at the picture. I won't buy them; at least not today. But it doesn't hurt to look at the picture. At all.
Later that night, I can't sleep. Someone else is going to buy my pants, I just know it. My mind races, and my heart pounds. I grab my ipad and look at the website again, just to make sure they're still there. They are. I tell myself to calm down. They're just pants. Sleep is more important than pants. Go to sleep.
The next morning, I lunge at my ipad as soon as the alarm goes off to make sure they're still there. When they're there, you know what I do. I buy them immediately, using paypal. The relief is so intense I'm almost dizzy. They're mine.
It's not just online shopping that's the problem, either.
Sunday I went to the Patchwork Festival in Santa Ana with my friends Raeleen and Nicole. I got $40 cash, which I intended to be my spending limit. After 10 minutes of walking around the fantastic, unbelievably dangerous festival, I had already spent $100 and had plans to spend much more on blazers and skirts with embroidered owls on them. With that exhilarated, but slightly sickened feeling, I forced myself to breath. I called Phillip.
"Ummm, honey? What's a reasonable amount of money for me to spend here?"
Phil said "I don't know. What do you want to buy?"
"Uh. Basically everything."
"Ummm ok. How much would that cost?"
"I'm being serious. How much can I spend? I'm having trouble with self control and I need you to give me limits."
"Uhhh $30 or $40 seems reasonable. But I'll leave it to your discretion."
I hung up, feeling ashamed. I had spent over $100 in ten minutes without batting an eyelash. My poor husband. My poor, poor husband.
On a side note, the homemade rosemary butter brittle there is amazing. And so is the elephant shaped, turquoise studded watch necklace I bought there. And so is my peacock headband, and the lotion and my new fitted plaid shirt. I highly recommend the Patchwork Festival.
I don't want you to think I only buy frivolous things. In fact, most of the stuff I buy is necessary, but just because it's necessary doesn't mean it's not dangerous.
Take grocery shopping for example.
From years of living in poverty, I have developed weird hoarding tendencies with food. I always want a huge stockpile of non-perishable foods, in case of an upcoming famine/nuclear holocaust/level 3 zombie attack. To counteract this, I carefully plan out our meals for the week, make a grocery list, and resolve to stick to it. I won't even go into the aisles that do not contain things on my list. I won't.
But you know how this goes.
First of all, I'm a total sucker for those special displays featuring 30 kinds of Campbells soup for a dollar or discounted cough syrup. Because you can always use soup and cough syrup, right? What if there's a famine? What will I do with no soup or cough syrup? So I stock up.
And sometimes I start to get hungry or thirsty. For instance, two weeks ago, I was thirsty when I was grocery shopping. I purchased: 3 odwalla smoothies, 2 liters of Pellegrino, a bottle of wine, 12 individual bottles of flavored iced tea, and a bottle of organic cherry juice. On the grocery list: one bottle of club soda.
Also, I am a creature of many cravings. My craving are intense, immediate, and undeniable. So sometimes, when I'm in the grocery store, a craving will hit me and I can't ignore it. I'll say to myself "You don't need any cheese nips. They're not on the list". And "Cheese nips aren't good for you. It's just junk food. We'll get some apples or something instead". (Yes, my internal monologue uses the "royal we". I don't know why) So I'll got look at the apples and I'll start to feel depressed. I don't want apples. I want cheese nips. I'll try to substitute with something else, but nothing else will do. My brain will not shut off until I get the cheese nips.
Let's say I manage to go home without buying the cheese nips. Is the problem solved? Did I win over my urges? No. We have only just begun. Because now that I know there are no cheese nips in the house, my craving only intensifies. I want them more, because I can't have them. They are forbidden fruit. Tasty, cheesy, salty, fatty forbidden fruit.
So you understand the level of obsessiveness we're talking about, the craving doesn't go away in a matter of hours, or even days. It literally will not go away until I get some cheese nips. It doesn't matter what else I eat, what else I do, or where else I go. In the back of my mind is always the lack of cheese nips, and an intense urge to fill that lack.
Fortunately, cheese nips hurt my stomach now, so I don't crave them anymore, but you see my point.
Now let's all take a moment to pray for my poor husband.