This weekend I took my dance students shopping for their recital costumes. We were on a mission: a very specific vision and very minimal cost. We got what we needed: great, really inexpensive dresses.
I also bought a shirt.
Why does this information deserve its own line? Because it’s not a shirt that I will wear to work. It’s not a shirt that I need for any specific event. It’s not a well-made, high-quality, all-season, ridiculously marked down steal of a shirt.
It’s a pretty, gauze-y, color that I like, only good for summer and will probably fall apart by the end of the season, regular-priced shirt.
It’s a “want” shirt, not a “need” shirt.
I’m really bad with wants. I don’t remember the last time I bought an article of clothing just because I wanted it.
Good reasons to buy things:
- To replace a wardrobe staple that no longer fits (jeans, t-shirts)
- To replace a wardrobe staple because it broke (boots, purse)
- I need it for work (see prior “jeans, t-shirts”)
- I need it for health reasons/athletic pursuits (leggings for yoga, ballet slippers)
Apart from that, nearly every item of clothing I’ve gotten in years has been a hand-me-down. Those I’ve actually paid for have come from the sale rack.
But the fact that it meets none of the “rules” isn’t the issue here. That’s not really why this shirt freaks me out. It freaks me out because the only reason I bought this shirt was because I wanted the shirt.
To me, meeting this “want” is like declaring to the world “I think I deserve this shirt”. That’s not okay with me. I’ve only recently come to terms with meeting my needs – not because I think I deserve them met, but because I’m a burden to others when I’m not meeting my needs. With wants, nobody but me benefits from them.
Part of this comes from financial instability. Until I got my last raise and my hours bumped up, this $30 shirt would have eaten up nearly all of my remaining weekly income after paying for therapy and my bills. That would have meant no food for the week, no toiletries, no anything. I got used to my needs barely being met and my wants being a non-issue. It reinforced my belief that I didn’t deserve those things. People around me got their needs AND wants met, so obviously I wasn’t as worthy as them.
I saw this online today:
It’s very true. Nothing can ever happen unless we ask for it to happen. When I was in theatre school, my vocal tutorial teacher asked me point blank what role I wanted in the upcoming season. I danced around the question, but she wouldn’t let me off the hook. I finally named what I wanted, and that’s the role I got. It didn’t hurt that the director of that show actually thought I was talented.
But my question is: how am I supposed to feel like I deserve things I want? Going after them feels selfish, and getting the things I want makes me feel so guilty it almost doesn’t seem worth it. Does anyone else struggle with this? I want the noise in my head to stop, but unless I can believe that I deserve it to, I don’t know if it ever will . . .