50 Shades of… Green.

It’s 11:29 pm. I have been sitting and staring at my computer screen for 3 hours or so. Not losing myself in Facebook (ok…well…a little). Not checking email, or WordPress, or writing. Nope. Instead, I’ve been obsessively trying to figure out how to spend my money well.

A dear friend and I went on a shopping trip today. It was great to get out and do something like that, just get my mind off of things for awhile. But now, I feel a little ill – or some might say – green. I did buy some things I needed, sure. But while I laughed about our overly full cart sitting in front of the fitting room, inwardly, I felt like a junkie, and it made me anxious.

The day eked by and by the end, the high was wearing off. My purchases weren’t even extensive, to be honest. At the last minute I knew I couldn’t conscience buying the two pretty dresses I was looking at. I am a college student living off loans and waiting for a new job to start next week. So I settled on a few needed items, with my impulse buys being a candle, an over-the-shower-head caddy, and 2 pairs of $20 nude heels (SAHHHH cute!!!).

I came home later and looked at my bank account, and then started working on a budget. Yes – started; and yes, should have started earlier. To complicate matters, I had an unexpected purchase last week traveling home from B.C. when I missed my flight. Thankfully it only set me back about $250 total instead of the hundreds that it could have. But it was still $250 that went onto my credit card. Now, in my defense I am somewhat smart. I have an emergency savings account. So I do have money to cover this expense. I’m nervous, nervous, nervous though because I had to dip into the account earlier this month to pay my rent. Which is actually a NON -issue because I just paid that money BACK when I got loans! But somehow in my head, it’s still an issue. Really, because MONEY is not just the elephant in the room… It’s like the entirety of Noah’s Ark.

Money is causing seasickness. My face is green from riding that Noah’s Ark through my crazy mind. To top it all off, I recently had another EMDR session.

EMDR is fantastic. It’s by far the best therapy I’ve ever done. But this week my therapist left me with these words:

“From now until you see me again, I want you to focus on taking care of yourself.”

I can’t even explain to you the amount of panic I have over that. I feel completely inept. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Do I buy myself the new clothes I need now? Should I get the yoga membership I’ve had my eye on? How much food should I buy until I get my next paycheck? What about the new running shoes I want?

Obviously, taking care of myself in my mind is completely tied to money. That’s exactly where I go with that thought. Not to meditation, or taking 5 minutes to sit with my coffee in the morning, or practicing deep breathing, or feeling my feelings. Nope. Money. Somehow taking care of myself means buying myself pretty things, taking myself out to lunch, and 2 pairs of nude heels that I’m debating whether to return or not. Although, my purchases CAN be tied to spirituality – like that yoga membership I mentioned – or self care – like the running shoes I mentioned. But literally, I’ve sat here for the past 3 hours trying to figure out which of my purchases to keep and which to return, until I feel like I’m drowning.

My life is not unmanageable at all. (Imagine the eye roll I’m giving here)

At the bottom of it all, I just want to take care of myself. But damn it I just don’t know how. The little neglected girl inside wants the new clothes she didn’t get as a child, or the pretty new things. I chase her cravings until I get here; sitting in a living room on a Saturday night driving myself crazy. Just wanting to do what’s best for myself but having no f—ing idea what that is. Of course I want someone else to take care of me! Trying to decide all this stuff is SO over my head. Why me?

And why did my therapist have to give me THAT ultimatum?

I feel sick.

Looking at this I see that I feel like I need to take responsibility for everything all on my own and I won’t have any help. Obviously, once again, I’m forgetting that I have a Higher Power. This is a Step 2 problem (as we like to say in my recovery program). I know that’s the key.

I could just backspace and erase this entire post right now, with that realization. But I’m not going to – because it’s been honest, and real, and gut wrenching, and ultimately, AFRAID. So I get the feeling that somehow, maybe you get this feeling too… the utter end of yourself. The 50 Shades of Green you turn when you realize you have to take care of yourself, and for that moment you forget about your HP. The moment you forget that you can come to believe a Higher Power can restore you to sanity, and that you’re not alone in making these decisions.

I’m gonna post this because I have to believe I’m not the only one who’s forgotten that truth.

6 Replies to “50 Shades of… Green.”

  1. I can say with utter certainty – you are not alone . I suspect it is way more prevalent than most people care to admit. You are just being honest. It can get better (don’t wanna use the “will” word because I don’t have a crystal ball). The compulsion may never 100% disappear, but it can decrease to a level that doesn’t paralyze you. Changing your mind is also allowed. Staying stuck with one mindset can be problematic. Remember – progress, not perfection. I have to remind myself of that. Over time, it has become more automatic. That’s saying something because I am a classic type A perfectionist.

    Maybe it fits the Serenity Prayer in a direct way. You can’t change the airfare expense; it’s a done deal. You can change purchases, either by returning something and/or avoiding future purchases. There is the difference that could be considered wisdom. Maybe this is a non-traditional view of the SP, but feel free to try it out. Can’t hurt and might help πŸ™‚

    Wishing you peace and contentment,


  2. Millicent – bless you!! I had no idea someone would respond to this post so quickly. But I needed to hear this. Progress not perfection is a quote i have up on my bulletin board, and one that I also need to put in other places to remind myself more often. I even told a friend those words today, and apparently I was talking to myself yet again!
    And gosh honestly, so looking forward to that moment that the compulsion becomes less paralyzing. I hate standing in the store, ANY store (even the grocery store!) debating for 20 minutes about whether to buy something.
    I liked your view of the Serenity Prayer… definitely a new way of looking at it, but that helps to shift my perspective. Better yet, it acknowledges my HP who can give me the “wisdom to know the difference” to begin with.
    I’m grateful for your response; more than you know. Thank you for taking the time to write. Sending peace and contentment back.

    1. Glad I could make a positive contribution πŸ™‚ Think of things this way: when you were young, tying your shoes was a major ordeal with lots of knots and other disasters. You repeated the exercise over and over. Eventually it became an automatic process; you didn’t have to think about it. But it took time and trial and error to get there. You got there. You still have to tie your shoes, but it’s not the laborious chore it once was. If you don’t tie them, you might trip (or not). Other skills and activities can be very similar to the shoe tying scenario. There’s a huge amount of frustration when a child is attempting to master the skill. I’ve seen a kid get fed up and throw the shows across the room. Then he had to chill out and eventually try again. He eventually got it down and went on to another challenge. Remember that you have attained mastery of things – some big, some small. More mastery awaits ; Hang in there! Feel free to p.m. me : )

      1. More mastery awaits: I LOVE that! πŸ™‚ One thing at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time. πŸ™‚ Thank you! I will remember your kind offer and pm you πŸ™‚

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