self medicating.

6 01 2012

i’m not very good at transitions.

when i was a freshman in high school, i blew out of all my classes and got bumped out of honors english. i spent too much time oogling boys at the skate park and drinking  yukon jack and kool aid from my best friend’s parent’s liquor cabinet. by sophomore year, i was back to my honor roll making, science fair winning, overachieving self.

when i was a freshman in college, my best friend and i used to joke that we should start a band called “champagne headache”. but for serious, i spent the entire year drunk on korbel watching “love boat” on the couch in the common area, and learning how to build the perfect gravity bong.  by graduation, i was back to my dean’s list making, resident assisting, overachieving self.

i’m convinced it was because i started kindergarten just days after i turned 5. always being one of the youngest kids in the class kind of messes you up. but whatever the case, i always get severely beat up when i’m wrestling the kraken that is change. although i do eventually end up victorious. usually.

as much as i overachieved with bong making and box wine swilling in my younger days, i’ve pretty much grown out of my substance abuse phase (save for the occasional too much bourbon day). however, i do have an equally destructive coping mechanism that still remains…

SHOPPING.

whenever i start a new job, go back to school, break up, fall in love, move, or even just have a little bit of an emotional meltdown… i manage it with retail therapy.

but not the indiscriminate kind of binge shopping that might result in a girl unconscious under a stack of QVC boxes filled with unidentifiable contents. my coping-shopping is very careful and deliberate. when i can sense my body about to fling itself into emotional discomfort or danger, i head to the internet, and spend my hours carefully choosing the perfect items that will most ease my journey.

example: when i went back to school in 2005 to finally get my diploma as a non-traditional age student, i spent $700 on the perfect sophisticated “grown up” wardrobe (think a lot of 4 inch heels and tweed pencil skirts. there may have even been a BRIEFCASE!). in hindsight, these purchases seem frivolous and impractical (i couldn’t walk a block in those fucking shoes, let alone the 1.5 miles that i needed to walk to class). but, in the moment, they felt life or death ESSENTIAL TO MY SURVIVAL.

that’s how i feel now. moving into this shitholey place with smelly carpets and a couch i’m afraid to sit on… i’ve been compulsively stalking the perfect furniture that i think will make my new life less terrifying and potentially unbearable.

i have a limited amount of money going into this venture, and i’m genuinely worried that i will spend it all trying to make the perfect nest that will feel comfortable. that will feel like home.  i’m on my own now… there’s no fiscally responsible boyfriend who will cover me if i spend all my rent money on mini skirts and fancy cheese.

it is my goal to always have at least $1,500 in my savings account for the entire year of 2012. i would also like to only  make limited and strategic purchases when i move, and make it work with what i have. because ultimately, shopping my anxiety about transition away only causes later/greater anxiety about money and debt.

basically, what i need right now isn’t a grown up costume. i need to grow the fuck up.

(although the carpet cleaning thing is truly non-negotiable).

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3 responses

6 01 2012
Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn

Very brave post .. I have that tendency in the past myself .. doesn’t do much except give you lots of stuff … Why don’t you try getting into reading or something .. Transitions are hard for me too.

9 01 2012
bessmarvin

i have a stack of books that i plan to read while i’m holed up in the new bachelor pad! but yeah, trying to put some of the buying on hold for now.

7 10 2012
i can not be trusted. « broke 207

[…] that time when i told you about how lousy i am at transitions? well, behold! what you are looking at here in this picture is 9 pairs of shoes. 9 pairs of brand […]

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