Sunday, March 13, 2011

What am I worth?

I’m having a tattoo removed.

In 1983 I had a tattoo of a butterfly placed on my left shoulder. It seems a lifetime ago. I was married to someone else then. Getting tattooed was something we did together. When we divorced in 1988 it became a constant reminder of this disastrous relationship. I can’t tell you how many times in the ensuing years I have regretted it and wanted it gone. If wishing it away would have worked it would have vanished ages ago. Unfortunately tattoos are a little more permanent than that.

I have felt forced to live with this poor decision made in my younger days for all these years. But no more. I had a consultation and first treatment in Portland this past week.

I have done a great deal of soul-searching over this decision and have spent a inordinate amount of time analyzing my motives. In fact, I have reached the conclusion that I have spent too much time questioning the rightness of this. Not that it is a decision I should have come to in haste, a hasty decision is what got me here in the first place. No, but because the reality is that a huge part of the reason I have taken so long to decide to do this is the money. No kidding, the money involved is considerable. I have never spent this kind of money on something that is pretty much just for me. The real question is: why?

Why don’t I consider myself enough of a priority to spend this kind of money on?

Why don’t I consider myself enough of a priority to spend any kind of money on?

Most women's attitudes about themselves are complex to say the least. Mine are no different. I like to think I am self-aware, self-assured and strong. I know I play an important role in the lives of my husband and my son. I bring home some bacon and I am “Mommy” 24/7. I cook, clean and care. I spend money with no compunction on both Liam and Chris. So why do I feel guilty when I spend money on myself? If I look deeply will I find I really consider myself not worth it?

So maybe, in addition to having this thing out from under my skin and out of my life, there are other, more compelling reasons that make this a step in the right direction. Not that I am going to start blowing money frivolously, but that I will more readily recognize the times when spending money on myself is not frivolous. I have value, so aren’t I entitled to occasionally buy something, just for me, without feeling guilty?


Odie Langley said...

Janie, you have great worth and by spending this money you are closing an old book so the current one can bloom and be all it is meant to be without the past tainting it. We all do things we regret. Yours just requires a little more effort to get behind you. Feel good about yourself,you should.

CMR said...

On the broader point, it's a combination of feeling selfish by spending money on oneself -- almost any amount, really -- and the knowledge that said money could be spent (undoubtedly the thinking is "better spent," if I know Janie's thought processes at all) elsewhere.

To answer the actual question in the post's title: you're worth more than those who love you can count. <3

maggie said...

First of all, yay you. I know it's not something you've wanted to claim as part of you for ... well, at least as long as I've known you. Great decision to put it behind you, no matter the cost.

Secondly, I love that you used the word "compunction". That's one of my favorite words. ("Petulent" is another, but I digress.)

Finally, I must admit that I can't completely relate, because these days my money is blissfully mine and mine alone. I do try to take care, however, to align my spending with my values. It appears that this expenditure perfectly aligns with your values, Janie. It had long been time to move on, and let that butterfly go.

Well done, Janie dear. Well done indeed.