Wednesday, January 14, 2015

At What Expense?

The other day I was in the bathroom and I started thinking.  I know.  TMI.  But this isn't actually one of *those* thinking bathroom moments.

I'm kinda into helping the environment.  I try my best to purchase eco-friendly products and products that use eco-friendly packaging.  I often toss only one bag of trash a month, and about 4 bags of recycling.  I reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as I can.  I also turn off the faucet when I brush my teeth so as not to waste water.

And..... for the past several years, I've lived by the motto "if it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown...." (Thank you, Falkers.)  Just recently, I realized that in doing so, my toilet gets dirty fast.  Easy, you may think, just clean it more frequently.  Except I despise cleaning.  Seriously.  If I could get a self-cleaning house I'd spend my savings on it.  This realization is what kicked off the following thought process.

At what expense am I trying to "save" the Earth?  Considering my taste for cleaning, the whole "let it mellow" idea means I either have an overly gross toilet, or I clean it every 3 days.  For the last few years, I've had a rather unsightly toilet.  At what expense?

For the last 20-some years, I've gone out of my way to help those in my life.  I've learned to anticipate their needs, be prepared for whatever they may ask me to do, and essentially, I chameleon-ed myself to be exactly who they needed in whatever situation I was in.  At what expense?

In my building, I've become the go-to person for technology trouble shooting.  My colleagues will call me whenever they need something (whether or not I'm teaching at the moment doesn't seem to matter) and have emailed requests to me at all hours of the day and night.  And for the last 11 years, I've indulged nearly every request.  At what expense?

My eating disorder was an unknown secret for many years before it became "un-hideable" and I was "encouraged" to get help.  That eating disorder helped me feel in control of an out-of-control world.  It made me feel like I had some semblance of balance, of control in my life.  Therefore I put myself through a series of miserable food-related challenges that proved to be nothing good whatsoever, yet they made me feel in control.  At what expense?

I am the oldest child in my family.  My parents raised me in a way that trained me to be afraid of everything and everyone they didn't approve of.  They trained me to be the *angel* child, who always did what I was told, always could be counted on to help at family functions, be it setting the table, preparing food, or serving guests (while my siblings were off doing who knows what.)  I always conformed, without question.  At what expense?

There is a secret that I've held on to since I was in my early teens.  It is a secret so big and so terrifying, that I've very rarely allowed it to float into my consciousness, and when it happened to make it to the surface, I put 100% of my energy into vanishing it into the darkness once again.  This secret has plagued my dreams, my thoughts, my choices, essentially, my life.  It was as if I held a concealed weapon in my mind.  At what expense.

So many things in my life have been rather costly.  Whether it was my choice or it was something imposed on me that I accepted as truth...... I paid the price for so many "purchases" that had I been thinking, had I been given the choice and the time to reason, I probably wouldn't have "bought."  Though it wasn't money that was spent, the expense was much grater.  My self-worth, my self-image, my self-confidence, even my health - all were things with which I paid dearly.

I know that some of these situations, these so called "expenses" were out of my control at the time.  Some of them could have been in my control, had I used the tools to help me make better choices that weren't so costly.  At the time, though, these purchases must have served some purpose.

Now?  I'm done spending myself in unhelpful ways.  It isn't going to be easy to change my "shopping" habits, but it will be worth it in the end........

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