The other day, I presented a speech to a board of faculty at my university. I am a finalist in a competition to see who will get to give the commencement speech at my graduation. I am proud of myself for doing this, because no one pushed me to it, it wasn’t a assignment, and it’s a personal goal that I would really like to achieve.
I was calm and poised as I presented the speech. Afterwards, however, my mind was flooded with thoughts of self-doubt and anxiety. I called my best friend and she talked me down. I love her so much.
The winner won’t be announced until later this week, but my friend and I thought it might be constructive for me to reward myself for coming this far. I decided to drive to the bookstore and look for a new read.
As I was driving there, however, the critical voice returned, loud and powerful.
“Reward for what? You didn’t win yet. Real winners don’t get consolation prizes. All you did was show up. Anyone could do that. Who do you think you are?”
And so, I got to the bookstore, browsed for an hour and a half battling the voice in my head, and left empty handed. Even though I didn’t spend a penny, the guilt still arose.
“Good job. You just wasted a whole lot of time for nothing. Not to mention the gas you used driving here. What a joke.”
I can’t win! Everything I do for myself feels like such a waste.
Guilt. I can’t escape it.
Food, time, money…the guilt is always there, lurking, waiting for a chance to call me out and tell me how undeserving I am.
I work for my money, I pay my due taxes, I tip appropriately and I always save before I spend. I still, however, feel like my money is not my own. When I do spend on myself–even for essentials such as groceries and household supplies–I am riddled with the same feelings as when I eat.
See, anorexia isn’t about food. It’s about a bunch of deep-rooted rigamarole that I haven’t figured out yet.
And while many people might admire my aversion to spending, praising it as “minimalism” or “frugality”, that’s not what it is at all. It’s self-denial rooted in fear, guilt, and shame.
I stay home when I could afford to go out. I buy the plain soap because I don’t *need* to smell like roses. I sleep in old t-shirts because pajamas feel too self-indulgent. But only when it comes to me. I don’t seem to hold others to this standard.
TO END ON A POSITIVE NOTE:
I’m not entirely sold on this yet, but I’m beginning to think many of these self-held beliefs could possibly be a bunch of bullshit. *shrugs*
featured image via Pixabay