Diapers and Dragons

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I've been "turtling" lately: pulling my head and limbs back inside a protective shell in an instinctive effort to avoid being overwhelmed with Everything.

I don't even want to get started here, as it's all or nothing for me. Either I'm silent or I'm ranting. I normally have fairly low blood pressure--lately I can feel my heart pounding and my face flushing as a matter of course.

What's happening in this state, in this country, to educators and the regular government workers (not the politicians themselves, of course) and the middle class in general....

I'm sick to my stomach.

I need to find a career counselor. I've never had a back-up plan because, quite simply, ever since I discovered teaching I've never planned to do anything else.

What DOES a thirty-three-year-old woman with a Bachelor's in English Literature and a Master's in the Art of Teaching, with certification in English and Speech/Theatre have as a back-up plan? I'm eminently qualified to do exactly what I do. Who else is going to be knocking down my door to receive my services--especially for a wage that will continue to pay back my thousands of dollars in student loans and the other debt that I've incurred as a responsible citizen? None of which, mind you, is credit card debt or the like.

I can feel the rant rising.

We're short on "extra" money right now--not that there really is such a thing in our household lately, since pretty much every extra penny is being set aside to pay for our quite modest little wedding and honeymoon. MTL's car broke down last week and required a bit of money to repair, even though he did the repairs himself. His machine at work has also been broken, meaning his hours have been trimmed back a bit. We had a dual birthday party on Sunday for The Widget (my baby is FOUR!) and KlutzGirl (MTL's baby is EIGHT!). In three months the remaining balances are due for our ceremony and reception sites and for our honeymoon.

With all that financial stress bearing down on my mind, I can feel an age-old destructive stress mechanism kicking in. I want to buy things. I want to buy fun things, pretty things, wonderful escape-from-reality things. I want to buy books and clothes and shoes and art. I want to buy gifts for my bridesmaids. I want to buy all the accessories I want or at least need for my wedding day. I want to buy it all NOW.

I didn't give anything up for Lent this year, but I'm reminded of when I gave up chocolate a few years ago. Despite what you may think, I don't normally crave chocolate every day. I can even go a few weeks without thinking about it. Shocking, I know, but true. But when I denied myself that luscious substance, the days dragged by. I woke craving chocolate. I went to bed craving chocolate. I nearly cried when I realized that my (then daily purchase of) Cafe Mocha contained chocolate and therefore was verboten.

Impulse buys and non-necessities are off my shopping list for now--and likely for some time--and so I'm craving what I cannot have. Perhaps after a few weeks I'll find the craving wanes and leave me feeling freer, just as I did during that Lent years ago.

In the meantime, I'm staying off Etsy and Amazon and Victoria's Secret and Old Navy and every other website that urges me to indulge, treat myself, think It's only a few dollars. I have my tiny list of five necessary items which I will take to the grocery store this afternoon, and I will not buy anything except those five items. I pinkie swear.

4 bits of love:

Draft Queen said...

So as I'm job hunting, a woman with absolutely no concrete degree, but YEARS of educational experience and only a short time until I get many degrees, I get it. Because, actually, when I graduate, with a Bachelor's degree in US Government History and Legal Studies (and a minor in human biology), a Masters of Political Science and a certificate in Paralegal Studies, I'm still not actually qualified to DO anything. Except work as an "almost" paralegal- as you aren't *really* one until you've done 2 years work in the field and no one really hires for that. So, I'm not actually sure.

Plus? I'm already sick of law.


Heidi said...

I'm lucky - I have very specific things that I'll spend money on (books, craft supplies), so I can browse Etsy and know I'll never order anything (except a bridesmaid's dress, obvs).

But retail therapy. God. It kicks in for me with food and purchasing food - suddenly my homemade lunch screams POOR KID! CAN'T AFFORD YUMMY STUFF! and all I want to do is eat out. I have to work really, really hard to curb that voice.

And today, I just want to fall apart and disappear.

GingerB said...

Well you little models of virtue, you, I am officially more than four digits more dollars in the red than I was about two months ago, because I bought clothes for myself (went shopping for two bras and got a little crazy) an a had a bit of spree at Gymboree (twice, because I have two little girls) OK and also at Children's Place too but that was for basics likes Ts and tights and socks, you know, expendables that must be replaced (where do the socks GO??) and because they looked so cute in their new clothes I spent piles of money on the school pictures and . . . I am a money spending fool and a government employee!! I laugh in the face of economic reality! HA-HA! Economy, I shall taunt you a second time.

Now which of us is smarter? Guess.

MomZombie said...

Discipline is difficult. Only recently have things let up enough to allow the occasional impulse purchase. I'm so sad to hear (and I am well aware of what's going on) you may have to leave your beloved profession. I had to do that a few years ago. It's the same story for so many people I know, including those who found a new career with film industry work. What will happen to them? to you? to all of us? Does anyone at all care? And Donald Trump for president? I say we all jump across the pond and live as expatriates.

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