Live from my lap!

The IRS returned a chunk of money to Jack, and he gave some of it to me so that I could buy an iPad. Really, I feel like a spoiled princess, and he feels like he’s doing the basic sorts of things to maintain a good relationship, so we’re both happy.

A lot of this is probably storm damage, not only from Hurricane Isabel, but also from my father. My father is something of a compulsive shopper, a consummate bargain hunter, and at least a borderline hoarder. The thing is, he buys what he wants to buy, regardless of what you actually want or need. So, I always had a closet full of lovely clothes, most of which I would never have chosen for myself, I had a box crammed full of jewelry I never wore, and I lived for birthdays and Christmas, where I would get (aside from the pile of gifts I didn’t like from him) spending money from relatives, so I could buy a few precious books. What it mostly taught me was self-denial; I looked at lots of things I would like to have, but very few I would actually buy. This served me well with Isabel, who liked to buy things for herself – I didn’t get much, but I didn’t feel deprived.

Living with Jack, who loves to buy me things, I still don’t buy a lot, because I still have that mental wall of “but that money could be spent for something else” to get around. Spending more than $20 at a time gives me anxiety attacks, and spending more than $100 fills me with horrible guilt. (Do I need this beautiful device? It’s so expensive, and I have a perfectly functional computer, and my iPhone does everything I’m going to do with this. Is the screen being bigger really worth all that money? Maybe I should take it back. And on and on, goes the voice in my head.). Meanwhile I am perfectly happy to encourage Jack to buy one for himself, and if he did, I would be delighted.

While I was frivolously spending money, I went up to Tempe Yarn and Fiber and bought a skein of laceweight Malabrigo (in the Purple Mystery colorway) to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves. Malabrigo is made of baby merino wool, and is incredibly, deliciously soft. I have fondled it many times, but I have never bought any before today. It seemed irresponsible and selfish, which is really absurd when you think about it. It occurred to me, though, that I could not buy a pair of fingerless gloves for much less than that, plus I have the fun of knitting them, which will work out to pennies an hour. For sheer entertainment value, it’s a hell of an investment. (And again, I would, and have, spent more on projects for Jack. I’ve spent more than that on an individual ball of yarn for him.). I think the real reason I haven’t made a sweater is that I couldn’t handle the thought of how much it would cost.

This is a thought process that’s going to take a lot of work to deconstruct. I am valuable. It’s okay for me to spend money on myself. It’s okay for me to spend more than is absolutely necessary, even. I don’t have to justify it or deserve it in some ineffable way. I can just… buy something for myself. (That is not a book! In the weird place that is my head, books don’t count. Maybe this is the bibliophile’s version of sock yarn not counting as stash.)

What about you guys? Am I just weird, or do you also have trouble justifying buying things that make you happy?

~ by Amber on February 3, 2011.

2 Responses to “Live from my lap!”

  1. I got my first Malabrigo from TY&F. I miss them dearly, but I ADORE Malabrigo. Seriously. SO SOFT. I keep meaning to make myself some little fingerless gloves with some. Mwah.

    I… hm. There are some things I hardly ever have trouble justifying – books, server transfers or race changes for characters in WoW who don’t get much playtime where they are or don’t feel right as their race but whom I’ve invested much time in. I didn’t even HESITATE when I saw Dragon Age: Origins (COMPLETE, including all the DLC) on sale on Steam for $25. But other times, I go “…I don’t need that. I could get food with that money. Or at least buy Aubrey something. :/”

    I dearly love spending money on my girlfriend.

  2. It’s when you spring for the $20 Mal sock that you start to feel guilty.

    And I have the equivalent of five skeins of the stuff. 0.o;

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