I am actively choosing to prioritize myself and my health. Not just in the not-dying sense, but in the this-would-make-my-daily-life-easier sense. I’ve been working on this for years and progress is slow. It’s hard. There’s a voice in my head that’s extremely loud that tells me “you don’t really need that” anytime I think about getting something that would improve my life but isn’t life-or-death. That voice is the reason I haven’t re-acquired basic things like a microwavable heating pad until today. That voice is the reason I resisted buying the probiotics that allow me to enjoy an occasional croissant without feeling like death for two days. That voice stems from a lot of things.
It stems from growing up with parents who actively and proudly stayed impoverished, “relying on god to provide” for our needs.
It stems from never being allowed to ask for what I wanted outside of Christmas or birthday lists, and managing the household finances enough that I knew to ask for what I needed. Which all stems from the ideology that suffering is more holy than joy. That choosing to suffer so that god can show his love to you is better than making the decisions that will enable you to thrive later. That choosing happiness while living on earth is a mortal sin, because true happiness is only found in Heaven.
It stems from having to learn that wants are good too, that not everything has to be a non-existential need in order to be allowed to be a want. It also stems from living in poverty post-divorce and having to make those decisions. I’m used to it. I’m not used to being able to just get what I non-existentially need when I need it because I can. I haven’t learned to trust that yet.
This whole time, my entire journey out of that world and to finding myself have been about making the (radical feeling) decisions to do the things that will bring me life, and happiness, and contentedness. To make the brave decisions to allow myself to thrive instead of suffer.
That voice is still so loud. It was such a part of my parent’s (and therefore, my) identity for so long that it takes active and intentional work to counter. That work is exhausting. But every time I hear that voice and I don’t listen? It loses a little bit of its power and I feel a little bit better.
Today I was in DM and I was looking at the vibrators, trying to decide if I should get one because I was already holding a bunch of things that will improve my health but don’t need-need to survive. In that moment I classified them as wants and didn’t have enough money in checking to add the vibrator to my pile but I did get the heating pad, and the fiber solution, and the fancy mouthwash for gingivitis, and the print of Hamburg. I promised myself that next time I will get the vibrator because that will improve my life too.
I don’t always succeed entirely but little by little I prove to myself that I do deserve good things that I need and that I want. Not every financial decision right now hinges on whether I’ll live or die without it.
The Scarcity + Suffering Is Better mentality is a helluva drug. 0/10 do not recommend.