Edith’s Diary Entry

I applied for another job today. 

I have three already. 

I don’t need another job.

But today when I woke up, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, and scrolled through my emails in bed, I noticed the enticing subject line “Remote Sales Internship with Competitive Salary.” Competitive salary reverberated in my head. Again, I don’t need another job, and I can barely keep track of the three I already have. But, you already know how this story ends, and twenty minutes later, I was filling out the application before I had even eaten breakfast. I hope they reject me because I know that against all logical thought I would take the position if offered it. 

Now, realizing how irrational and uncontrollable my behavior is, I am trying to figure out what drives my compulsion to take every monetary opportunity presented to me. This job isn’t in a field that I’m even remotely interested in. Taking on extra labor in addition to what I already have on my plate would almost certainly make me more miserable, sapping time from school and friends in a precariously balanced schedule. I can dictate these things to myself very clearly. So what motivates, no, forces me out of my bed at 8AM (on a day when my first class starts at noon) in order to apply for something that will result in, what, $100 a week?

I think that mentally, I have a problem with assuming a false sense of scarcity. My parents never, ever talked about money around my brother and I while we were growing up. I had no idea how much my parents earned, whether we were in debt or not, how we stacked up compared to my classmates who lived in larger houses with scented candles, whether we could afford dinners out or new clothes or my tuition. For some, this ignorance could fuel a confidence that things would always be okay. For me, it created a constant sense of anxiety surrounding money. Even now that I know my parents have enough to manage our household’s expenses and my college tuition, I can’t shake the want to spend less, less, less. Chris knows this about me, that I can sometimes act crazy with money. 

One memory in particular stick out to me. 

This summer, Chris came and visited me in New York City. How wonderful right?! My boyfriend came and visited me in New York City. What a dream for two nineteen-year-olds, without parents or much responsibility unleashed in the concrete jungle. Still, in my mind, that wasn’t an excuse to budge an inch from my ultra-frugal summer spending regimen. I was dumpster diving often, so we always had random snacks in the house, enough to cobble up a frazzled meal. One night, Chris asked if we could go to a Thai restaurant. Thai food is his favorite cuisine, and we hadn’t eaten out the whole time we had been together. I said no. Because we had a few protein bars and nuts from the dumpster at home. To this day, I still regret my crazed strictness. It encroached on Chris’s autonomy and prevented us from having the careless evening that we deserved.

As with a lot of these rambling journal entries, I’m not really sure where this leaves us. Every day, I am understanding more and more about my mindset. My goal for this year is to deconstruct it and redesign it so that it can accomodate for cute, sweet boyfriends who want to eat Thai food. 

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