The other day, we took Jackson to the nearby Barnes & Noble, as an experiment. I’ve been wanting to take him lately since he’s been getting into books a little more, plus I knew they had a train table (omg, this kid and the trains. It’s…wow nobody can really prepare you for that kind of toddler obsession) that might keep him interested, so we decided to give it a shot.
He did great–he played with the train table, found books for us to read, played with toys (“Look what I find mommy, look what I find!”), and mostly behaved like a reasonably well adjusted toddler. Minus that one moment at the end where he started running around the shelves in the biography section (sorry other B&N patrons!). He lasted just over an hour, a trick that is pulled off in very, very few locations. I call that a win.
While we were there, I decided I was going to buy myself a book. I never buy books for myself anymore, and there were a few titles I’ve been wanting to read that our library doesn’t have, so I figured this was my chance. I left J with N.C. for a bit and went off in search of those books. There were about 3 on my possible list, so I figured I’d just find the one that was cheapest and go with that.
You guys, I held those three books in my hands for a good 10 minutes before putting them down and walking away.
I don’t understand this. I wanted those books. I would read those books. We have the money for me to spend $12 on a book. And yet I didn’t feel like I should/could buy any of those books.
I can rationalize it all I want: I work in publishing so it feels frivolous to buy books (not that I get books free anymore. At least not like I did when I worked in New York), I can buy books from work so why pay at B&N, I have a perfectly good library even if they don’t carry these books, etc.
But the reality is, I just didn’t feel like I should spend the money on this. For me. We bought J a book while we were there. N.C. even got a book. But for some reason, I didn’t feel like I should buy one. It felt wrong to be frivolous with my money. Frivolous. By buying something that I *know* will bring me pleasure. By buying something that costs less than a dinner out at a fast food joint. What is my DEAL?
I’ll easily go to Target and blow money on bullshit for the house, for the kid, for my husband…but apparently, I’m not allowed (in my head) to buy myself stuff. I’ve talked before about how it feels selfish to spend BIG money on myself and I’ve talked before about how I don’t like to shop because I don’t feel like I have style, but I think the reality is that I don’t feel like I should spend any money on any things for myself. I don’t feel like it’s right for me to do that. I can get away with some nonsense here and there (I’m out of mascara, I need a new toothbrush, hey look some candy!) because I can trick myself that they’re not “real” purchases, but in the grander scheme of things, I don’t feel comfortable spending on me.
Even for a $12 book.
One of the things that I’m learning about myself in therapy is that I have a tendency to not feel that I’m worthy of (fill in the blank). It’s not a martyr thing, so much as a self-esteem thing, and it’s something that I’m working on slowly but surely. It’s hard to explain, honestly, but it comes down to thinking everyone else is more important than me, or everyone else’s needs are more important than mine. No one else does this (in fact, my husband tells me I need to learn to be more selfish) and it’s quite a difficult mindset to change. It seems like it would be easy–just…do what you want once in a while–but it’s not that black and white. But to figure out that it extends to one of the greatest joys of my life? That’s kind of a wake up call.
I just need to tell myself it’s ok to buy the stupid book sometimes.
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