Last week, I realized I couldn’t name one “guilty pleasure” item I own. I thought everyone had at least one in their house: a purse, a pair of shoes, a gaming console, a pricy painting or piece of furniture. I took inventory of my personal belongings, my prized possessions. Nothing had a tinge of guilt smeared on it. Nothing came with the veneer of accepted selfishness. I should be proud, but I’m a little disappointed in myself.
Ya’ll know I’m more or less frugal. Expensive material things really don’t make my bells ring. Receiving high-end gifts isn’t a love language of mine, much to my husband’s relief. If I think we’re going to struggle financially, I’m quick to give up cable, shopping, eating out, etc., without complaint. Life is not about what I think I deserve materially. If we can’t afford it, we can’t afford it.
But that’s where we creep into the gray. It’s widely known that women are likely to martyr themselves for their families in multiple ways. It’s where we get the idea that women “let themselves go” after motherhood. And while my husband makes sure that I am taken care of, I find myself falling into this same stereotype. I don’t deny myself “needs.” I eat (several times a day, because Baby Button is not about that hungry life), I’m clothed, and my melanin is well-moisturized. My idea of “need,” however, is really, really, really basic.
I haven’t had a formal pedicure since June. I think. I share my hair products with my daughter because we have the same hair type. I haven’t visited the hair salon since my haircut in August. I might could use another pair of maternity pants because I own a total of three pairs of actual pants I can fit.
My husband likes Jordans, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, Apple Watches, big screen TVs, and other fun things. And because I want him to be happy, we get him a lot of the things he wants when we can afford it.* (Not all, he would be quick to interject). We sat down for a chat recently and when I prompted him, he could not think of one single expensive item I owned. I couldn’t either.
And I blame lack of selfishness for me not having any.
Oddly enough, I’m not resentful to him for not buying me lavish gifts. I’d probably be livid if he came home with a pair of Christian Louboutin’s for me. Where we got the money for this, bruh?! I lay the culpability squarely at my feet. If a man has a low-maintenance, frugal wife, should he look a gift horse in the mouth and buy it a platinum grill? Noooo. He appreciates my budget-conscious shopping. However, if we can afford to buy my husband nice things when he asks for them, why am I not asking for nice things for myself?
There is something about that level of selfishness, the drive to have a desire met solely at my whim, that makes me balk. I look at a gorgeous pair of expensive shoes and I think, Those cost way too much. I couldn’t do that. The family needs… I always feel like we are not.quite.there.yet and so I need to hold off.
It would be one thing if I didn’t want anything nice for myself at all. But I do. I just never feel selfish enough to ask for them, even if we can handle it. I’d like to buy better quality shoes and clothing so I don’t have to re-up my entire wardrobe so frequently. I have no interview suits; I need tailored clothing because I’m petite. I put off decorating our house for four years because I didn’t feel like that was a financial priority, even though it was important to make me feel at home. I want the Adobe Cloud Suite and another blog overhaul. I want to buy a gang of Black girl head wraps in all kinds of colors.
The funny thing is…I’m still low-maintenance me. I don’t actually want to spend goo gads of money to prove selfishness is the new sacrifice. I’m not about to become a biweekly salon visitor. I just want one nice purse in my closet. And so for Christmas, that’s what I asked my husband for. I’m kind of proud of myself.
I’ll post pics. 🙂
Are you (too) good at denying yourself? When was the last time you allowed yourself a bit of selfishness?