I have tried to behave myself well throughout the holidays, and succeeded, but during this past week I have been overcome by some sort of buying frenzy. I felt anxious and almost like I would never be able to ever shop again, I spent almost to the limit of what I felt comfortable doing, (i.e. any more and I would not have enough money for another IVF this year - yes, we are thinking, but this is material for another post). I bought a Tiffany's key pendant at a large discount, the mink coat from the previous post, and two cashmere sweaters, plus one leather belt. It might not seem like a lot, but it was all in one week, which actually is a lot for someone who is trying not to spend. Also, when I buy, I usually choose garments that are rather long lasting and good quality, and although they were all discounted except for the belt, they were expensive.
All in all, not so worrisome, but what worried me the most was the unbearable urge to buy ANOTHER belt after buying the first one. In fact, I wanted to buy TWO more, in different shades and different thicknesses. And I don't ever wear belts, it's just that I decided to upgrade my look and to start tucking in my shirts and tops, hence the need for a belt. ONE BELT. Not three. When I felt the unbearable obsession, urge, tension, and so on, I knew that I had to stop the hunting and the behaviour right then and there. Nothing good will ever come out of needing to shop with such an intensity. It was similar to a smoker's need for a cigarette I think, (I never smoked, but that is what they describe it as).
So I decided no more buying anything clothing or appearance-related for the next four months. Perhaps it is not long, but it is enough to get me out of this immediate frenzy and back into my wise mind, the mind that decides and carefully weighs whether something is needed, whether it would fit, whether it is a good addition to my wardrobe, whether I can afford it. I have done stints of four-months-no-buying before, and they have always been good for me. I have tried longer, but then I started needing too many things, and had to buy too much at once when I did eventually allow myself to buy, and it felt too much like a binge. Buying binges are not good for me I think. I have shopoholic tendencies, who would have thought! not me, not when I moved from Romania living on 50 dollars a day with my mom, dad and sibling.
In any case, knowing that buying anything would reinforce this behaviour, and not buying would cause discomfort but is the only way out of the obsession, I have kept myself in check today, but it was not easy. I had so much tension, that I was plotting ways to escape the house, to leave Emma with my mom, and to drive downtown to get the above-mentioned belt. I even had a plan in mind, to do it while picking up sushi take out and to say that it took longer for them to make it. How very weird! All at the same time wondering what exactly is going on with me? I DON'T EVEN WEAR BELTS!!!!! it is simply an inexplicable obsession.
In the end I told my mom and MrH about the problem, and about my resolution, and also I described in great detail the belts that I had in mind, so that I can not buy them and wear them without anybody else knowing. Namely MrH, who told me that the belts would end up in the garbage if he saw them on me. (And I would let him :). I think if in four months I still need a belt, I will buy ONE, not two. Then, four months later, a second one if I really really need a whole collection.
I now have an audience that knows my secret, and will write honestly about my struggles. I am sure that in today's society lots of the people reading this blog have the same buying frenzy/binging behaviour/tension/conflict/urge problem as me right now. If anybody wants to describe their struggles, feel free to comment. Also, if anybody wants to do the four month shopping free with me, let me know.
I have to go run on the treadmill now, hopefully letting out some steam, but I will write again perhaps tomorrow trying to explore what has brought this on.
PS. I just took a shopping addiction quiz online, and here are the results (suffice it to say, I did not get to run tonight, amid so much self examination, but will do it tomorrow).
Results : Not a Shopping Addict!
Based on your test results, you do not appear to be a 'compulsive shopper'. However some of your answers show that shopping may have a tendency to take control. If you are concerned about your shopping behaviour, it may be worth seeking advice!