Your Move, Freud

by kim on July 24, 2014 · 0 comments

in emotions and such

achievement

It is an elementary primal emotion for humans that when we feel scarcity approaching, we horde. The conveniences of modern life have lessened this, but we all have our triggers. Hell, our bodies do it with food (which is one reason why dieting is so bad for you).

It’s a way to adapt and survive.

But when your point of scarcity is money, this society is not a forgiving one. I didn’t grow up poor, but we had a great many economic struggles. For some reason, I internalized these and my relationship with money is flawed because of it. Saving, it seems, is a luxury for the wealthy…which is probably why people who are wealthy stay wealthy. I do not have that scarcity issue now in the same extreme as I did as a young child or as a college or law student, but there are times with two toddlers, a dog and two cats to take care of that things get tight. And it seems no matter how hard we try, the minute we get ahead something breaks down. (See: the great sewage debacle of July 2014.)  So I’ve been feeling that scarcity thing lately.

And it leads me to feel compelled to buy ALL THE THINGS.

I save in my own ways. I’m a clearance GODDESS. I coupon at times. I wait for sales. And this week I even planned out our groceries to maximize savings to the tune of 30+%.  But I still felt that scarcity in my bones.

sutmym

That’s when I remembered that I had to go to the dollar store. We were out of hand soap in seemingly every place we keep it in the house. (Why this all happens at once is beyond me, but it always does.) The dollar store is a perfect place for that kind of thing. So as I felt the scarcity-hoarding response build within me, I tried something new.

I gave myself the freedom to spend $20 on whatever the hell I wanted at the dollar store. 

A small thing, right? But the entire store was my oyster and nothing was off limits, other than the $2 dedicated to hand soap purchasing. That meant I could buy 18 of anything I wanted.

18 fake floral bouquets

18 under the bed shoe organizers

18 bottles of off brand Windex

18 Precious Moments picture frames

18 odd sized bags of M&Ms

18 Mylar balloons

I COULD DO ANYTHING.

maniacal laugh

I went in and spent 30 minutes in my local Dollar Tree. I went up and down every aisle. I picked up things. Thought about projects. Looked at the aisles that I normally would not look at. Took in their seasonal displays. I did it all. And then, when I was ready to leave, I made my purchases.

I spent seven dollars plus tax. Two bottles of hand soap. Three 2-packs of small Sesame Street board books for the girls. One plastic tote. One bottle of water.

gonewithwind

I felt like I just won gold in all of the Olympic events.  I was able to focus on my work afterward. I even didn’t feel the need to look at every clearance rack in Target later that afternoon on my whirlwind grocery-saving adventure. I didn’t feel the scarcity as deep and it allowed me breathing room to live. All because I told myself that scarcity is relative and allowed myself to be rich in the ways I can.

I will never be able to walk into Neiman Marcus and do the same thing, but I feel this is how rich people might let off some steam. And maybe there’s something to be said about that. It doesn’t work forever. I’m sure I’ll have to find new ways to work around it. But it worked. And that afternoon when I told my therapist about it, she spent five minutes explaining how I basically hacked an age old psychological problem in a very unique and awesome way.

So I’m smarter (and less misogynistic) than Sigmund Freud.

Twenty years of therapy doesn’t get you a degree, but I guess it does build some sort of repertoire for self-help. In the meantime, at least I know that there’s a way to handle scarcity for me in this way.

There’s also the reassurance that no matter how much I save, the Universe will always try to throw me shade. After buying all of the groceries AND cooking dinner, the power went out. The power never goes out when the fridge is empty. It was a test.  Thankfully everything was salvaged…but it was a warning shot across the bow. I got clever and the Universe wanted to keep me on my toes. Well played.

This is why the rich have generators and servants…

next time

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When I was younger–high school and college-aged–I used to go to the movies like it was my job. In fact, it was kind of a dream job to be a movie critic. But that dream faded much like my dreams of being a rock star, actress and veterinarian. Mr. CVD and I had our lunch hour film club and our standing Friday night excursion to the latest blockbuster, but it was all play and no work.

I have always loved the movies, though.  That’s why my recent drought of movie going in the past, oh, say 18 months, has been particularly hard on me.  I could probably count all of the movies I saw in the theaters in 2013 on one hand, but I’d be hard pressed to even remember them because they were so spread out.

And then, one day not too long ago I was driving to get my allergy shots. It was raining and I was in a funk. I was headed to the library after to get work done. What work, I wasn’t sure yet.  But work.   I was having a helluva time structuring my days in a productive manner.

That’s when it happened.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I got the taste of popcorn on my tongue. It was a tickle at first and then nothing else sounded good. I was in deep need of movie theatre popcorn.

So I looked up the next movie that I wouldn’t hate myself for seeing and went to the movies instead. I could not focus on a damn thing and I might as well cure the craving I had worked up on the half hour drive.

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That afternoon I saw Maleficent. It was actually, to my surprise, quite good. But more to my surprise, I got to the library afterward and in the three hours I spent there got more done than I had in the prior week trying to focus on my own.

So the next week I did it again. I saw The Fault in Our Stars.

And again with Chef.

Then on vacation The Mister and I traded nights to each go into town and see a movie. I saw The Edge of Tomorrow. 

All of a sudden I was back in the movie game. Each time I saw a movie, it seemed to unplug some mental block I had going on in my brain.  The first time I did it, it was because I gave up on trying to do anything else. But then I realized something: these movie trips were integral to my sanity.

Movies have always been about escaping for me. But also learning about the world in ways I might never experience. In small pockets this summer, I have regained control by relinquishing my everyday struggles to the quiet hum of a movie theater air conditioner, the scent of warm buttered popcorn wafting over me and the comfort of stadium seating and a dark room.

Today was a rather frustrating day.  I had to take my computer in and leave it overnight for repairs. This meant most of what I needed to do could not be done. And I still didn’t have time for a movie. Plus, I wasn’t much in the mood. But I think better of it now. Tomorrow’s a new day…a new movie going adventure seems to be what I need. I’ll get a doctor’s note if necessary. Just tell me where to send it.

In the mix of surround sound and movie trailers, I rediscovered a passion of mine.  I hope it sticks around for a long while.

…sometimes saying to hell with it is the best decision you can make.

 

 

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