16th of February 2022

----

Not putting this on the group blog as it feels kinda too personal, but if it were on there, I think the title would be "Feeling Like Myself". How dramatic.

Earlier today, after a stressful government phone appointment and before I went to the pet store to buy some guinea pig supplies, I received a package. Within this package was something I'd bought on Ebay because I have dangerously little willpower. A 1978 Garfield soft toy.

garf

I felt anxious and guilty after I made the purchase, and didn't tell anyone because it was embarrassing. But now I have him? No regrets, he's adorable, and everyone I've shown him to thinks he's great. I'm in no trouble.

And this is the latest thing in a steadily growing collection I like to call "luxury items I bought for myself". Luxury in terms of I don't need it to live, but it sure is nice to have. And it's gotten me thinking a lot about my mindset around money in general.

Growing up, I didn't exactly have much of a budget for nice things. I didn't receive any sort of pocket money or allowance, and most of my toys, videogames or other things like that were Christmas or birthday gifts. My parents were also always honest about our financial situations. If we couldn't get something because we couldn't afford it, they would tell me as such. I have fond memories of receiving a £20 note every Christmas from my maternal grandmother and heading to Toys'R'Us to buy a Sims 3 expansion pack or something.

And I don't fault my parents at all, I think it was the right thing to do, telling me honestly. It meant I tried to be more realistic with my Christmas lists, and was never disappointed. And I did get big presents sometimes, such as my first PC, my DSi and 3DS. The latter two I still use regularly, and the first is still in working order.

I think the issue comes in with my own psychology. I get anxious easily, I'm easily harder on myself than anyone else is. So when I first started making money? I didn't spend a penny of it. I just left it sat there in my bank account, unable to bring myself to touch it. I remember buying Stardew on GOG, which I think might've been my first digital transaction, and feeling tense. I then didn't buy anything else for a long while afterwards.

I can buy necessary stuff, like food and bedding for my guinea pigs, but fun stuff for me? It's still a little hard, and I do still feel guilt after I've bought something. It's something I've trying to learn how to fix, without going overboard, of course.

But one thing I've discovered as I've purchased things that I like for myself is that I'm feeling more confident, in a strange way. Purchasing is still stressful, but once I have that item in my hands, I want to cherish it. From my various trawls of etsy and ebay, I have amassed a small collection of enamel pin badges on my backpack, and two plushies (including Garf here). And when I look at this stuff? I feel a sense of identity. It's new for me, and comforting. Like I had all these thoughts and interests in my head, and now I can display them in some way.

I've spent the last 17 years in this bedroom, and it still looks like the bedroom of a 12 year old girl. It's still full of my old soft toys and books, posters and clothes. It's not me anymore, it's storage.

But in these new things? Things I bought with money I earned? I see glimpses of a future version of myself. A Caby with interests and likes she's developed over her 22 years of life, with a personality and a personal style. Not just that same lost, sad little girl that once lived here.

I've found a good charity I can send teddies to, and my local charity shop will accept my old books and clothes (as long as they're in good shape, which they mostly are), and my parents are planning on replacing my bookshelves at long last (these ones have lasted at least 20 years at this point, but they're water damaged from the few years I had a leak in my ceiling), so I'll hopefully have more shelf space.

It's exciting, it is. Looking forward to the future at long last. Becoming my own person.

Now all I have to do is avoid going overboard,,,,