Something For Me

    c.113w seismic shiftEven when I had discretionary income (pre-motherhood days), it was hard parting with money.  I always thought there should be some satisfaction in the experiences money afforded, but I never enjoyed what it bought me (being secretly afraid something would happen and I couldn’t earn more).

    With motherhood (and shortly thereafter the demise of my marriage) money became a precious commodity. I doled it out begrudgingly when it came to me. When it came to my child, I derived satisfaction from the fact her needs were always met — be it by actual exchange of cash, barter, sweat equity, or even burying my pride and brown-nosing. (As for her wants, with a lot of creativity many of those were fulfilled as well.)

    Part of what made it possible to cover her needs (even when there wasn’t much to work with), was cutting back on non-essentials. I didn’t have the patience for making the garage sale circuit; however, I learned to maximize my return in thrift stores. I never viewed the thirty-cent socks, fifty-cent shirts, or two dollar pants as a sacrifice or burden. I was grateful for living in a place where such stores flourished.

    I share the above so you can better understand how extraordinary the following experience was.

    While perusing a thrift store for a few needed items I happened upon a new, plum colored, soft, lacy … what? skimpy little nightie? teddy? lovely lingerie? bit of frippery? Whatever you call it, it was gorgeous, rich in color, and oh so wonderfully beautiful. I immediately sent a picture to my daughter asking if she wanted it. Her reply was negative. Reaching to put it back I felt a seismic shift inside. I realized I was holding something that made me inordinately happy. It brought me immense joy, along with a deep desire to own and wear it. Not for the sake of entertaining or seducing another, but simply because it brought me joy. So I bought it. I spent the “outrageous” sum of nine dollars on myself for something I did not need just because it gave me pleasure.

    It’s been four days. There hasn’t been a moment, a second, or a fleeting breath of buyer’s remorse. On the contrary, looking at the garment, thinking about it, or even feeling it on my skin, I feel unadulterated joy.

    If you are familiar with and experience joy regularly, your life must be wonderful. I see how easily joy can become addictive, emboldening you to delve into joy-inducing experiences. If however, like me, this is more of an alien and foreign concept to you, here’s wishing you and joy soon become the best of friends!

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    Star H. - April 17, 2013 - 8:45 pm

    So glad to read that you found a joy and embraced it.

    Tana Bevan - April 17, 2013 - 11:05 pm

    Hi Star! Thank you so much for commenting. To feel free enough (and worthy enough) of doing something just because it brings joy is absolutely amazing! Like the newly converted, I want to go forth and spread it all around. Who knew it could be like this? (Obviously those who’ve experienced real joy before. :-)) Here’s wishing you and joy become the best of friends.

    Suerae Stein - April 18, 2013 - 7:21 am

    Good for you! I think you’ve stumbled onto something here… you ALLOWED yourself to feel the joy. By spending that small sum of money on something that made you feel good. You gave to yourself for (what sounds like) a change. Maybe you don’t allow yourself to do things that make you joyful? It doesn’t have to involve money. Perhaps it’s time that you don’t take for yourself so that you can feel joy? I know far too many mothers who feel guilty if they spend any time or money on making themselves feel good. But it’s us mothers that need it the most! I hope this is just the beginning of many more joyful moments for you!

    Tana Bevan - April 18, 2013 - 9:35 am

    It always seemed counter-intuitive when flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping others. As a mother this is particularly difficult since Mama Bear mode kicks in and you want to protect your child/ren at any cost. Yet the attendants’ instruction makes sense because no matter how much you wish it were otherwise, if you are not breathing, you’re not going to be any help to anyone.

    Thank you for stopping by and your good wishes. This joy thing is really wonderful. I wish you and yours an abundance of it.