Monday Check-In!

the beginning of the end

Happy Monday, buds! What a disaster this was.

First, the damage:

On Friday, I had lunch with a friend and her baby ($13.50) and then met friends for overpriced salad ($18.24) and drinks. I was pleased as punch with my Friday night frugality, and that’s where it all went wrong.

On Saturday, I went to the car wash ($10) post yoga, and then bought cat food and toys ($96.34) and renewed my prescription (3 months of a low dose generic anti-anxiety medication, $54.56) — all fine so far, necessary expenses if you consider fancy grain-free cat food to be necessary, which I apparently do, and this is where I spiraled. Over the course of the next two hours, I bought two birthday cards ($13.56), iced tea and a scone ($5.34), shoes ($141.60), a sports bra and dress ($269.60), fancy olive oil and cheese ($26.50), and a gift for a friend going through a rough patch ($38.51).

On Sunday I stayed home and cowered. $0.

Let’s talk about binge behavior. With money — specifically as it concerns clothing or products/services that I consider part of “self-care,” ie. beautiful things, reckless things, things I want to look at more than use, aspirational lifestyle pieces, strange, otherworldly items that make me feel more alive, interested/interesting, curious, attuned to wonder and aware of my body or self — I tend to deprive, deprive, deprive, until I explode in a manic fugue episode. That’s what Saturday was. As soon as I “break the seal,” if you will, I adopt a full-throated fuck it! attitude that doesn’t slow until I crash. You will know me by the trail of frantic photos I text to friends: WHAT U THINK THESE SHOES?! Y/N?!?! I hadn’t purchased any clothing in a long time; I was over my capsule wardrobe; the season was changing and I wanted to change with it.

There is a lot of shame attached to this behaviour; if not shame from others, then at the very least shame I’m vaunting onto myself (that this shame is really only painted onto women is a topic for another day). I think it has something to do with trying on personas: the minimalist, the aesthete, the “doesn’t give a fuck” bad bitch, none of which have stuck, perhaps precisely because they are personas, not pure expressions of self. When I can’t fulfill that persona, I lash out against its borders, and end up feeling like a sorry piece of expensive, ugly, wasteful trash.

I love clothing; I love fashion; I love the deeply ecstatic aesthetic experience of holding something beautiful and well-made in your hands, and making it yours. Simultaneously, I struggle with both the desire and the actual circumstantial need for frugality, for restraint. It is at the tender, imperfect meeting point of these two selves that my shopping binges show up, deadly and full of regret.

This is all to say that I wouldn’t have been honest about these numbers had I not committed to June’s Money Diary project. As it is, I spent a total of $687.75 this weekend. I don’t want to talk about it.