It’s Not About the Shower Gel

This morning I had an experience I haven’t had in a very long time.

I noticed that my shower gel had about an inch or so of product left in the bottle, so I went into my stash to pull another one…

And discovered that I don’t have anymore.

Now- I grew up in a house where “if some is good, more is better”. When Mom was selling Avon, we were NEVER at a loss for bath & body products. If I even mentioned that a new scent sounded like it would be pretty, I had a whole set in the next order.

And I took these lessons to heart. Good product on clearance? Buy it out. Target Dollar Spot? Fill the basket. Coupons? Combine them with sales and get out of my way.

Next thing I know, I’m living in a little studio with a dude who collects as much crap as I do and a giant bin full of bath & body products. Fun.

And now today, after a concerted effort to use what I’ve accumulated, I dip into my (WAY smaller) bin o’ products and have no more shower gels to grab.

So now what?

A few years back right after G and I split, in order to get the depression spending under control, I managed to torment myself with enough guilt that the thought of spending money on myself for anything but a necessity set off insane guilt, anxiety, and questioning. (Not a healthy strategy, but  desperate times, and it worked.)

To this day, I keep myself set up with the basics and replace things on a piece-by-piece as-needed basis (on sale with coupons and discount codes), but when it comes to spending money for anything that could be remotely considered a luxury item, the anxiety & guilt get triggered.

I’ve loosened up a little bit, but it still needs to be under the right circumstances, usually involving discounts, coupons, and knowing that multiple items are going out for every new item in.

So why is the idea of buying new shower gel tying my stomach up in anxious knots??

I think I’ve figured out 2 reasons:

  1. I don’t know what a middle ground for self-control looks like.
  2. Pretty smell-goods are one of my biggest weaknesses.

Picking up new stuff is unavoidable, but balance is also necessary.

Rather than continue the binge-or-deny cycle, I’m trying something new tonight. Bath & Body Works is having their big post-Xmas clearance sale. This sale has caused a lot of trouble in the past, but I know that my skin doesn’t react to their products and I love love LOVE their scents.

I’ll be headed over after work with a new strategy in my pocket:

  1. Shopping in the 75% off clearance bins ONLY. The walls of full-price product do not exist. If I don’t like the scents available on clearance, I leave.
  2. Set money limit – no deviation.
  3. Set TIME limit – quick decisions to get in and out, no second guessing, no wool-gathering or la-di-da-ing.

If all goes well, I’ll be home well before 6 with a bag full of new clean-making pretties that I love and without the self-loathing that normally accompanies a new shopping trip.

If I can’t hack it, I’ll go home with nothing and add it to the ever-growing list of things to discuss with my future therapist.

Either way, I’ll have a learning experience under my belt.



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