Sunday, August 11, 2013

*I Want to Know What It's Like to Be a Man

I did it.  I really, really did it. I made a big purchase by myself, with my own money, without consulting with anyone, without anybody's permission.  AND IT FELT GREAT.  But I have to admit that when the euphoria wore off, I was scared.  What if my husband didn't approve?  What if people didn't think I'd spent my money wisely?

FLASHBACK TO A PREVIOUS LIFETIME...translation:  the first marriage. I recall two incidents that made a big impression on me, and the emotions of those two days still linger in my memories.  

Once, I brought home a small, silver frame.  "What did you buy?" asked the father of my children.

"A pretty, little trinket.  Look!"  I showed him the polished silver picture frame.  I love pictures.  I love displaying them around the house.

"Just how much did that little trinket cost?"

"15 dollars."

"So one of us had to work an extra hour this week just to buy that thing.  I hope it was worth it."

That conversation haunted me every single time I wanted to buy anything that wasn't groceries or clothes for the family.  I never bought anything over $50 without his approval.

The other time, my then-husband brought home a new-to-him, used truck.  And all of the signed paper work for the payments.  There was a new truck in our driveway.  It was a done deal.  I didn't know we needed another vehicle. I didn't even know we were in the market for another vehicle.  And I surely didn't know we could afford another payment.

We never really talked about anything of significance so I'm not quite sure why this particular incident seemed to push me over the edge, but I blew up.  Me, who never felt like I had a voice or could make a complaint or that I was ever heard, I went into "I am woman, hear me roar" mode.  I had something to say, gosh darn it, and I would be heard.  

"One day, I want to know what it's like to be a man. I want to make big decisions and spend large sums of money without giving a thought about anyone but myself! One day, I want to know what it feels like to do whatever I want, whenever I want."

There.  I'd said it.  And nothing changed.  We still went on in our respective patterns of living; my feeling guilty every time I spent money; his spending money on whatever he wanted:  guns, ammo, tackle, guided hunting trips, airfare to faraway hunting and fishing adventures, taxidermy work, Ducks Unlimited paintings.  I spent money; don't misunderstand THAT.  There was just so much guilt associated with my shopping.  I never, ever bought a big ticket item on my own, without someone else's input.  Until two weeks ago.

There is a darling boutique in The Shops at the Riverwoods in Provo called Sticks and Twigs. It is a consignment shop filled with beautiful paintings, tables and chairs, knick-knacks, and upholstered furniture.  I just wish I could just start over and redecorate the house with the furniture and decor that is there, but that's not feasible.  So I browse.  And I dream.

On my first visit, I spied a painting there that I loved.  This was no small painting.  It is five feet tall and over three feet wide.  The subject is reminiscent of an illustration from a beloved children's book. The little girl's hair is in pigtails and her bespectacled face is upturned.  She seems to be beaming. She represents all that is spunky and funky.  She made me smile.  I felt happy every time I saw it.

My rheumatologist is in the same neck of the woods, and during my weekly shot visits, I revisited my painting, as I'd begun to think of it.  On my third and final injection day, I called the shop to inquire about my painting.  Oh, it WAS expensive; I knew it was.  I am just horrible with numbers, and it was more than I remembered.  I asked if the seller would drop the price.  The sales clerk would ask. Turns out they would, but only fifty dollars.  I'LL TAKE IT!

As it turns out, my painting wouldn't fit in my car.  Oh, boy.  How was I going to get this painting home?

What would people say?   What if someone made fun of me for buying such a LARGE, whimsical painting JUST BECAUSE I WANTED TO? What if were ridiculed for wasting my money?  I was starting to feel a little sick, and yes, remorseful, for following through on my big ticket purchase. I shouldn't have worried. None of those scenarios came to pass.

Buying that painting changed my world.  My thought processes reversed and I knew that I would never feel like I had to justify myself to anyone ever again.  I am an adult. I just completed a thirty year career as a teacher.  I have my own money.  I can buy whatever the heck I want.  HAH!  There! What a liberating feeling.   I can now say I know what it feels like to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and IT.  FEELS.  GOOD.

It's not hung YET, but it will be. Every time I look at it, I smile.


  1. It is SO you!! If I were walking through that shop and saw this painting, my thoughts would immediately go to you! I love it! It will look gorgeous in that room.

  2. Ha ha ha! It just makes me SMILE all over. That painting will be symbolic forever for me. I feel like I am finally becoming who I am meant to be. I thanked Mark yesterday for liberating me to be myself. Thanks, Ash.

  3. That is so fantastic! It is wonderful to be with someone who lets you be yourself without questioning your decisions.

    1. Ashley, thank you so much for checking in here from time to time. AND taking the time to respond!

  4. I can so relate and am so very proud of you girl! You rock!

    1. Elisabeth, I hope you are feeling strong and happy this week. Thinking of you!

  5. Oh, my. I had an ex-husband EXACTLY like yours! This painting is a symbol of the new woman you have become. Bet you smile every time you see it!!!!!

    1. Carol, what ELSE do we have in common? Gorgeous, talented kids, former teachers,'s been great getting to know you!


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