I thought I had some decent clothes to wear but when I looked through my storage unit, I only found a few things that were remotely acceptable. It's not like I was expecting to look like James Bond or anything but I wanted to look like I fit into the environment and didn't stick out as the painfully obvious guy who is pretending to be rich. We didn't have time to go shopping due to unforeseen circumstances and poor time management but I also didn't want to spend more money on clothes since work has been slow lately. As we drove back to our house to get ready, I started freaking out inside because as much as I wanted to enjoy the evening, I knew I was going to ruin it.
As a child I was taught a belief system that subversively attacks your own self worth. It goes like this: we are pieces of shit that don't deserve anything and should quake and tremble at the thought of God because he is so holy and pure. However, God chose to love us so we should feel blessed and as the cherry on top of this special sundae, "we are fearfully and wonderfully made". It's a contradiction coated with sugar that is actually just ground up glass. When you tell someone they don't deserve anything but out of the goodness of your heart you are helping them, it doesn't make them feel any better. Now instead of feeling empowered, you feel even more worthless because they are holding a mirror in front of your face reminding you of what you are without them.
The reason I knew I was going to ruin the date was because it finally sunk in how much money I was going to drop. Before you think I'm a penny pinching asshole, I've been extremely generous to others in my life and it wasn't the expense of the dinner I was worried about because I would have given my girlfriend the money to go treat herself - I just couldn't be there and participate. I lived in my car partially for the adventure but I realized yesterday, it was also partially because I didn't think I deserved to live somewhere decent. My ratio of money expended to personal comfort received was way exceeded by an apartment.
After putting on my clothes and looking in a mirror I felt awkward and misfit like if I only had a pair of overalls but tried to dress them up with sports coat and tie. My girlfriend was wonderful as I went through this all in my head, helping me adjust my wardrobe from misfit, to douchebag, to finally something reasonably acceptable. As expected I started having a panic attack about three times during the evening but worked through them. The first one was when I cracked open the menu and saw what looked like prices for jewelry not food. My stomach was so tied up that the scallops were the only thing I could think of eating. The food was incredible and I relaxed a bit and enjoyed the meal in between freak outs. When the bill finally came I didn't look at it but had my girlfriend sign it for me because I was afraid I would vomit if I saw the total. We chose not to take any of the leftovers home which was a struggle since I am not a fan of wasting anything. There wasn't really that much food left over and I knew that this was about shifting my mindset away from that of a beggar.
I feel like I'm in a chrysalis trying to change into something better but wondering if I'm going to make it because right now I look like a bunch of goo. Deep down I've always felt that I was supposed to be a different version of myself than what I was raised to be but convinced myself that it was a lie and my "sinful desires". Thankfully I have a partner that encourages and breathes life into that dead body on the floor of my soul. I never thought Valentines Day would have been therapy but it's about love isn't it, so learning to love myself more is kind of appropriate.