This has been a very difficult week for me. Sure the shopping part is always difficult, but this week was not just about shopping. I didn’t have the best weekend. I found myself in a situation where I was battling my insecurities due to comparing myself to some other women I was with. Of course as Dr. April Benson says:
“When you Compare, you Despair”.
And boy did I despair. I didn’t feel tall enough, or pretty enough..my hair felt too flat…yet my stomach not flat enough and my face was too pale and freckled. Although I was wearing a “fashion blogger approved” outfit, I still felt my dress was plain and my shoes not so fabulous compared to some of the people around me. I knew I should not feel insecure, but the inner child in me still did.
I remember back in elementary school always feeling like I did not belong. Growing up in my neighborhood, there weren’t many "only children" like myself. Most families had several kids and all my friends had siblings. I always yearned for brothers and sisters and longed to be part of a noisy busy household. My house was quiet. Just me, mom, dad and a few cats…yup, very quiet. My parents were also very over protective and I wasn’t allowed to join girl scouts, take dance lessons, or hang out in the park, I wasn’t even allowed to ride a bicycle off the sidewalk. I spent most of my childhood feeling as if I never really fit in and always desperately wanting to be like all the other girls I admired. It’s no wonder I enjoyed shows like The Brady Bunch (I always wanted to be Jan not Marcia), and Eight is Enough.
At one point on the weekend, a woman asked me if I worked or what I did with my time now that most of my kids were older? I stumbled here, trying to think of the right thing to say, but I just couldn’t think at all. I answered “No” as I was too embarrassed to admit that I was writing for a shopping addiction blog that I created. I was embarrassed to be me.
I entered the week on Monday feeling down inside. I was still experiencing the affects of my diminished self esteem and at the same time I was annoyed at myself for letting my inner unconfident child get the best of me. I could feel the strong pull to “shop away” my discomfort. I could hear my brain saying “buy yourself something, it will make you feel better”…”get yourself a new fabulous dress and those new expensive shoes”. I wanted so desperately to go and shop!! I yearned to buy myself something pretty…something for the Fall that I could look forward to wearing…maybe something warm and soft….something to comfort me. I knew shopping couldn’t really comfort me. I knew shopping right then wouldn’t make me feel better, but not shopping wasn’t really helping either. I had to remind myself that I wanted to focus on paying off that credit card….that darn credit card that I never should have opened up last Spring. I should have known better. I did know better and I still opened it and now I had debt to pay, once again.
So now, already in a low state of mind, I started feeling even more drained because of this debt. I haven’t used the card in over a month, paid a large chunk off a few weeks ago, and within the past week had put together a plan to pay off the card in three months. But instead of focusing on any of these positive things, I chose instead to fixate on the fact that I had once more accumulated debt. It was in this sad, weak moment that I decided to approach my husband (once again) about taking money from our savings to pay off this card immediately and closing it out. He agreed and that is what I did. But funny…it didn’t feel good either…I didn’t feel any better.
The next day I had a session with my therapist and we discussed everything that happened and all the emotions I was feeling. She reminded me to give myself more empathy. We all have tough days, tough moments. Of course she reminded me the distress that comes from comparing myself to others. Yes, I have a frizzy haired, freckled faced inner child in me, but I also have the ability to be the mother to that inner child…to comfort and to advise. If my mother were alive, I know all the wonderful things she would say to lift my spirits. She would tell me how smart I am, how beautiful I am inside and out, how funny I can be, how loved I am by my husband, kids and friends. She would remind me how I wouldn’t change places with anyone else in this world even if I could… even if they were taller, had shinier hair, and an awesome designer filled closet. Of course my mother would have also suggested we spend the day shopping and I suppose that is part of the reason I felt so pulled to go buy something to change my mood!
The surprising thing that my therapist said to me was that she wished I had NOT paid off the card. She really felt I would have benefited more by following through on the financial plan that I created. Instead, I let my insecurities from the weekend carry over into the rest of my week. A bad day on Saturday led to bad decisions on Tuesday. I no longer felt so strong and capable of myself and instead of believing in myself and my ability to follow through with my debt plan, I just looked to get rescued by my husband. Perhaps she is right. So I decided that I will still continue with that debt plan but set the money aside for savings instead. I also promise not to open any more credit cards on my own. If I need to pay by credit card, I am much better just using the joint cards I have with my husband as they help me to be more accountable about what I’m purchasing.
After having a long and thoughtful discussion with my husband about the emotional roller coaster I was riding, I finally was able to come to terms with my recent self-doubts and insecurity. Talking it all out with my therapist and my husband helped to remind me how happy I truly am in MY skin, with MY life, and with all I have. I feel so silly now that I allowed that inner "middle school" child in me to come out.
Moving on in the week I started to experience some menopause symptoms again. Uggh..I truly feel like I’ve been in menopause or peri-menopause for years! For me, I get anxiety, mood changes and of course hot flash moments. My usual happy go lucky self turns into a gloom and doom type of person that I just don’t like. Perhaps it was really menopause that struck me last weekend bringing out all those ridiculous feelings of self-doubt.
Anyway, I made it through another week of the Nordstrom sale. Can this sale just end now please? I have put a few items on my Fall shopping plan and I am actually toying with the idea of trying out one of those minimalistic capsule wardrobes. I’m contemplating creating my own slightly bigger expanded version of a capsule wardrobe for just one month…maybe October? I’d like to see how it feels to simplify my closet radically, but I don’t know if I‘d last longer than a month or even two weeks. Please send me a message or comment and let me know your thoughts about capsule wardrobes. Any advice on menopause would be appreciated too!
I head into this weekend feeling happy, strong and ready to be the best ME I can be!