I do challenges because I think I’m weak.
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.
All I know is that I am not in the position to need to be challenging myself or depriving myself of things I want to do.
That’s basically it.
It’s a crazy no buying contest with myself.
On another level I am also financially berating myself for spending all this money that I could put to other much more (shall we say) acceptable funds like a home fund, and so on.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I am being hard on myself because I feel like it is not who I was before, and what I used to do.
I used to be way more frugal than this. I remember counting pennies, and obsessing over my debt load like a maniac.
I lost so much weight from not eating because it cost money, and I refused to let myself even buy new pants even though I really needed them.
Where did that woman go?
..and do I really want her to come back?
In the end, no.
No. I don’t want to be that debt-ridden person any more, wringing pennies out of stone and refusing to let myself enjoy life because I owed money.
I have come to the realization that people can change, and if I want to upgrade my lifestyle because it brings actual joy to pick out outfits and have everything be different or whatever, then why am I denying myself what I have worked so hard to earn?
Why am I punishing myself or feeling guilty for spending my own money?
Who do I need to prove this to (answer: no one), that I no longer need to subsist on ramen to clear my debt?
Then the answer kind of came to me:
By being (now a very small) part of this personal finance world talking about money, in some way, I feel guilty for wanting pretty & frivolous things because everywhere I turn, people generally look down on what I love (style, fashion, dressing up), and call it vapid in contrast to all the other things that money could be used towards instead.
Then stack on top of that, that I am in a STEM profession that pays very well and that I work with mostly older, middle-aged men who 75% of the time, it all kind of becomes a little much.
Basically, you kind of feel like you need to prove yourself and this includes NOT being too provocative at work in all the ways you can imagine even with avoiding harmless flirting, and it also goes to also mean that they don’t care about style and shopping either, and as a result, I feel the need to go all crunchy-granola sometimes.
In fact, when I talk about shopping & style, people can’t believe that someone who is that intellectual and practical could be into something so meaningless (I’m paraphrasing here but that’s generally the reaction I get and then they hastily say after getting over their surprise: but you just don’t seem like the type who…… or you’re not like other women…).
(BUT I AM!!)
I can’t tell you how many times people tell me that they find it so strange that I wear high heels.
I’ve lived my whole life being The Smart One, and my attitude and personality for better or for worse, is realistic and practical.
A little bull-headed, if I am to be completely honest…
So when you contrast all of that with things that are normally associated with shallow, vapid personalities — reality TV (my current guilty pleasure is the Real Housewives of NY), chick lit and shopping, most of my colleagues can’t believe I am even willing to admit that I enjoy such ‘brainless’ pursuits.
But really, who needs to prove that they’re an unconventional brainiac all the time?
That becomes pretty boring after a while, not to mention stifling and very one-dimensional.
I think somewhat unconventionally (e.g. minimalism, methods for raising Baby Bun, personal finance geek, tendency to be vegetarian/vegan), but I am also in many ways, a very stereotypically conventional woman (e.g. love to shop, gossips, enjoys style & wearing heels).
I just need to shed this guilty self-imposed cloak of shame in pursuing what I enjoy, ‘brainless’ or not, it makes me happy and that should really be all that I need to know.
I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I need to embrace who I am, as oppositional and as bi-polar as it may seem to others.