I have issues when it comes to money.
I don't have a problem spending money most of the time, but if I have gone especially overboard on a shopping spree, I tend to go home and hide my new purchases in the closet. It's sort of a weird guilt trip and a way for me to avoid the the fact that I spent a crap load of money and the lingering heavy feeling of "Do I deserve this?"
I have been doing this for years. When I lived at my mom's, I would hide the shopping bags in the trunk of my car, and the girls at work would laugh at me when I would come back from a lunch-hour J Crew shopping spree and promptly tuck the shopping bags under my desk without showing and telling. A few years ago, I bought a Marc Jacobs coat that cost a fortune but I had to have it--even though it was not the best of quality or particularly warm--and I never wore it for the longest time because I didn't want people saying, "you spent $400 on that??!" I did. And I still like the coat. And I have started to wear it more often because that $400 seems like a long time ago.
Last week I made one of those purchases. After evaluating my life goals, I have decided once and for all to take a photography class. It's been something that I wanted to do ever since I was 15, when I picked up my mom's old Canon and started snapping pictures of my high school's field hockey team. The camera promptly broke after the game and I have been dreaming about taking pictures ever since but money kind of got in the way. Not only is the camera expensive, but the classes to learn how to use the camera are an investment in themselves.
However, I have some extra cash in my pocket from my freelance career, and fueled by my ambition to follow my dreams, I finally headed down to the madness that is B&H in Manhattan (quite possibly one of the most crazy retail stores I have ever experienced. They have CONVEYOR belts for Pete's sake). I plunked down my credit card for a camera that costs more than my rent check each month. I start a Photography class at the School of Visual Arts in mid-September.
Upon seeing the shopping bags, the first question Dan asked, "How much did it cost?" And when I told him, he looked like he was going to faint. Listen, I did my research and I bought the best camera that I could afford. I CAN afford it. But still--with that reaction, the camera sat for a week untouched in the B&H bags in the corner of the living room to appease some of the guilt and sticker shock. It didn't help that the day after I bought the camera, I found out my freelance job was ending.
I finally took it out tonight. It took me an hour to figure out how to put on the strap, insert the memory card and battery and turn it on. But feeling the heavy weight in my hands, the electric feeling that runs through my finger every time I click on the button--I know in my heart that this is a good thing for me. I do deserve this. I think.
I want to become a good photographer, and this is the bottom of the hill.