Saturday, July 23, 2005

Shopping with Joel...

I couldn't resist the urge to go shopping. It's sale season over here and last Tuesday, I bought a couple of shirts for Jan at discount price. When I came home, I discovered that they were a size too I went back to the store yesterday and got a bigger size....and you guessed it...did more shopping. Yikes! The thing is, everything was already priced down and when I entered the shop somebody announced that aside from the discount on the tag, we would also get a fifty percent additional discount on the item.

So, I find myself imitating Eileen Tabios, and her shopping blog.

1 coat for Jan (which he's repeatedly stated that he needs but refuses to buy)
1 spring/fall coat for me
2 shirts for Jan
underwear for me
4 shirts for Joel Jan
spiderman undies for Joel Jan(these weren't on sale)
spiderman socks for Joel Jan (these weren't on sale)
4 books for Joel Jan (that boy is getting to be a book addict )
1 activity book for Joel Jan
1 book for me (Dan Brown's, Angels and Demons, because the title sounded interesting)
1 small spiderman car for Joel Jan (he's also a collector )

Reading the list, I'm tempted to say that the purchases weren't as much as I'd imagined. But when you see the prices over here, you'll know why the shops are full on sale time and only moderately full during regular times.

Looking at this list, I realize that I really do a lot of buying for Joel. I'm glad that I'm able to do it in moderation nowadays. When he was much smaller, I remember going out on extreme shopping sprees. We'd find ourselves way in the red by the end of the month because of the all the needless things that I was buying. Looking back, I have to laugh at myself. That child was totally confused by the mountain of toys facing him that he didn't want to play with them anymore.

Later on, I realized that I had a shopping problem. After watching a great deal of Ophrah and Dr. Phil, I was able to pinpoint the root of my problem. The truth is, I did a lot of compensatory shopping. You know, the kind of shop till you drop because you feel that you're missing out on something. In my case, I thought that my son was missing out because he couldn't have my family around him. I slowed down and looked at my son and realized that no matter how much I shopped, I'd never be able to buy my family being here. How much this shopping thing has to do with missing home...well...I really don't know.

One of the filipina girls I knew did a lot of compensatory shopping. She had an unhappy marriage, but because of her determination not to be a divorcee, she put up with all the verbal abuse that her husband was heaping on her and her daughter. Going shopping with her, I discovered that she'd spend a great deal of time telling the shop ladies details of her life. Dallying over lingerie and perfume, she spilled out her guts to them, telling of her woes and building up an imaginary life that was not in any way like the life that she was living.

That was a revelation.

I found myself wondering how many women, living in abusive or non-nurturing relationships, find solace in something like this.

Looking at myself and at my own relationship, I started to ask what drove me to shop.

My shopping excesses opened the road to honest communications about feelings and what was really bothering me. I finally was able to tell my husband about the changes that I wanted to see in our relationship, about my longing for home, my sense of being disconnected from the world around me, and my frustration at not being able to pursue the writing career that I had envisaged when I was in the Philippines.

In a sense, my shopping was my way of stating my presence. When I bought this thing that I could hold in my hands I felt as if I were saying, "I'm here. I'm holding something in my hands that confirms me as being."

It took a long time before I was able to kick-off the habit of shopping. I'm no longer the shopaholic that I used to be. I've learned to be frugal with my pennies, to think twice before I purchase something, to live within my means and to not feel guilty when I buy something.

I suppose my shopping says a lot about me, and the sort of things that I buy reflect where I am at the moment.

I still can't resist books, they are my biggest luxury. I will be a scrooge on anything, groceries ( I can live with buying the cheapest brand of toilet paper ), clothes ( I will buy the sale on a sale items, I don't mind wearing last year's fashion), but I can't be a scrooge when it comes to books. Whenever I buy another book for Joel, I tell my husband that it's my investment in my son's mind. When I buy a book for me, it's my investment in my craft.

So maybe someday, I'll finish a book and hopefully it will be published too. I hope that it will be a super-fantastic book worth investing "centjes" in.


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