Kittyholic In Remission

16 Feb

crazy-spending-copyI am on a Hello Kitty detoxification and recovery program.

Last year, when I discovered the addictive joys of online shopping, I got hooked and went a little crazy with all the buying. I have a social network account where my friends — all Kitty collectors like me — and I share photographs of recent additions to our collections. Unlike some of them, however, I choose not to post all the items I buy. The truth was, I felt guilty about spending a lot of money on really cute but nonessential items.

It just hit me suddenly one afternoon during the holidays, the fact that I  had become a compulsive HK shopper. I was watching television and flipping through channels when my ears caught the words “hiding shopping bags.” That struck me hard as I had done just that a few days earlier, when I shredded the courier packaging my latest purchases came in.

It was weird because my kitty shopping has never ever been an issue of dispute between my husband and me. I am a card-carrying Sanrio Fans Club member, and proud of it. I make regular purchases at local Gift Gate and Sanrio Surprises stores. When I started buying things online, it was always with my husband’s knowledge (and permission). I would proudly show off the bargains I picked up and he would always say nice things about them.

As the months passed, however, I realized I was receiving a package (or two) almost daily. I was paying for them in cash, so debt was not an issue. But while I was happy about them, I also felt queasy in the stomach about having new items almost everyday. The guilt was temporary, though. After a while, it just seemed easier to pack away my newest packages as soon as they arrived. The plastic bags would be folded and stowed away, or when space ran out, shredded. 

I was online almost everyday, watching for auctions and sales. Calculating all my acquisitions over a six-month period, I was dismayed to learn that my purchases have already surpassed the high 5-digit mark. A hundred pesos here, maybe two hundred there, and after a while, going through a thousand pesos in five minutes became as easy as double-clicking a mouse. I even stayed up late nights checking and rechecking sellers’ pages for new items. I was hooked and I knew it.

They call shopping addiction or oniomania (derived from the Greek word onios = “for sale,” and mania for insanity) an impulse control disorder. Thankfully, I have not reached the point where my life has spiraled out of control because of my Kitty addiction, and I’d rather not wait for that to happen. I’ve already seen the early symptoms (the elation of buying, the guilt of receiving, the problem with disposal of packaging) and they are not at all pretty.

That day, in early December, I went cold turkey on Hello Kitty. I have been Kitty sober for 50 long days. It’s a hard, but necessary, step to fiscal responsibility.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting all those kawaii HK stuff. I like Hello Kitty; I make no excuses for liking it. But realizing the difference between wanting and needing and putting a rein on uncontrolled, mindless, dysfunctional behavior are essentials in the fight against any addiction. Within the framework of responsible living, some things are definitely good,  but too much of a good thing, even Hello Kitty, can also be quite bad, I’ve learned.

(This is this week’s column at HerWord.com.)

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3 Responses to “Kittyholic In Remission”

  1. leirs February 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Hi im leirs im a scrapbook a holic. I know that feeling all too well. You shop and you shop and you start hiding your stuff and you stopped counting how much you spend. but like you I had to quit cold turkey when i stopped working.of course i do have times when i fall off the wagon and shop when i shouldn’t but i learned to take a hold of my spending by trying not to over spend. when i go to a scrapbook meet i just try to bring a little amount with me. so if i spend i don’t spend too much.

    That is a great suggestion. I’m not much of a credit card user so mostly, I buy with cash. Bringing just a little will surely force me to choose carefully what I really want. Thanks, Leirs! ~♥Kittymama

  2. odette February 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    since i stopped working, i learned to take a rein on my spending. i can imagine what you’re going through, but congratulations for doing so!

    way to go kittymama! ♥

    Thanks, dearie! It’s difficult having to adjust from all the spending to just spending on what I really need (as opposed to what I want, which is a LOT!) but it’s not impossible. Having your friends’ support does make things easier. 🙂 ~♥Kittymama

  3. Manggy February 19, 2009 at 4:30 am #

    Ooch! That was very courageous of you to say, Kittymama. That took a lot of willpower to quite cold-turkey! Maybe someday (though not today, but who knows?) you may feel it’s time to give some of the dolls and toys away…

    GIVE THEM AWAY? *faints*

    Okay, maybe not give them away…. but maybe sell them. Or some of them. Or a teeny weensy bit of some of them. Heehee. ~♥Kittymama

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