There are different reasons I want to buy things. Some things just Look Cool (mostly clothes) and I want them to make me Look Cool. It’s pretty easy to push these wants out of my mind, though some have staying power (ahem, slip on Vans I’ve been coveting). Other things are functional, and I can give you a hundred and one reasons why it would be a Useful Thing (ahem, fan I’m not buying despite stifling heat when I exercise). These are harder to let go of, but I’m learning to make due with what I’ve got (or just endure a little discomfort, gawd forbid). What I’m finding is really hard to walk away from are the Things I Think Will Make It Better. Those things dance in my dreams at night.
The truth is, I think a lot of things will Make It Better An example: My daughter’s Not Wanting To Wear Shoes Kindof-A-Thing is becoming a The Great Shoe Strike of 2015. She never wants to wear shoes. She wants to be barefoot all the time, including the times when she’s walking in areas where there could be (ie probably is, because this is San Francisco) glass or nails or dog shit or other undesirable surprises. She wants to go barefoot ALL THE FUCKING TIME. It’s a constant negotiation, that eventually becomes an argument that inevitably leads to a meltdown. Every. Single. Time. It’s starting to wear on me. It’s getting to where I don’t want to take her outside anymore (which would suit her just fine, thankyouverymuch).
Her main pair of shoes, The Blue Ones, are almost too small. The Rainbow Dash Ones (which she tends to avoid wearing even though they are super fucking cool) are getting tight and The Tevas are still wearable despite being the size she’s growing out of (thank you open toes!). She just got a pair of awesome Vans with cats on them but they have laces, which she can’t tie yet. She does like them though, and will at least put them on (then ten minutes later will ask to take them off again).
Today at the zoo, after she tromped around for three hours in her socks, I got the brilliant idea that those “barefoot” shoes with the individual toe sleeves would be perfect for my daughter. Sure there was a chance she’d hate them, but if she loved them, they would Make It Better.
I spent a day obsessing over these shoes. My daughter’s size is the smallest carried–it was meant to be!–but no stores carry them anymore (they haven’t been “all the rage” in two years and the site’s store list is badly in need of editing). I called eight places and nobody had them in a 29. I could order them online, but they are expensive and I hate returning shoes that are shipped.
So I slow down and think about what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. And I recognize that desperate desire for this Challenging Issue to be Fixed, and that I’ve channeled all that desperation into a Thing I think will Fix It. And then I chuckle to myself.
There is no way those ridiculous looking shoes are going to resolve the Great Shoe Strike of 2015. Sure I may get her a pair some day so we can see if she likes them, but I don’t need them Now, to fix This Particular Thing.
As I researched a sensory swing for my daughter I saw tons of other stuff I knew she’d love. Stuff that I was sure would Make It Better. I have a whole list of things I want to get her, but I see now that I want those things because deep down, voices I’m not ready to entertain, would do anything, buy anything, for it all to be easier. I’m looking for the magic bullet–or a cylinder of magic bullets–but it doesn’t exist. No item I can buy is going to make this all go away. It’s hard for me to remember that.
I’ve been buying shit to Make It Better for a loooooong time. A really long time. It’s a hard habit to break. But this summer I’m breaking it, one day at a time. Some days are harder than others, but this spending freeze is forcing me to take the time to be honest with myself about why I want things, how I think they’ll Make It Better. It turns out that time is usually all I need to stop myself from spiraling into the abyss.
When my daughter really doesn’t have anything to put on her feet, I might try those ridiculous shoes. In the meantime, I’ll remind myself even that even the Great Shoe Strike of 2015 will eventually come to an end, even without magic footwear.
Do you buy things to Make it Better? What other reasons compel you to spend?