The idea to write about this just came to me, as I was stepping out of the bathtub, after a long, hot soak.
As I was stepping out of the tub, I had a mindful moment, where I acknowledged how thankful I am to have a bathtub and warm water and epsom salts. And through those things, I was able to find relief from menstrual cramps, right before bed. Ah, how nice it is to give yourself some self care sometimes.
Then I thought, self care is not really just about bubble baths and beauty products. Self care is also about knowing when to stand up for yourself, too. Self care is like self guardianship.
Here’s a story from my life that demonstrates my idea of self guardianship:
About 8 months ago, I bought a new computer. Seems like a pretty uneventful thing, except I HATE BUYING ELECTRONICS. I have never bought a television; each one I have ever had has been a hand me down.
The first computer I owned, I gave a Dell salesman my meager budget and he picked it out for me. The second computer I owned, I did pretty much the same thing, except I had about an extra $500 I could spend. The third computer I owned, I let my then-boyfriend pick out all of the components. He enjoyed building the computer; I enjoyed not having to make the decision. That was almost 10 years ago, and I’m using that same computer to write this on, right now.
I bought a new computer because my current one works well, but it is HUGE and heavy and was starting to run out of space. I wanted a light, sexy little number that I could take to coffee shops. I also needed something that had a dedicated graphics card (don’t ask).
So, I went to Best Buy in my hometown, and some bright eyed, golden haired lad helped me pick the computer. I gleefully paid for the protection plan, and skipped out of Best Buy, sure that I wouldn’t have to go back into that awful place for another 10 years.
Three months into owning the computer, it froze and wouldn’t do anything. Not turn on, not a damn thing. It was a very expensive, brand new BRICK.
I went back to Best Buy and figured, oh, they’ll fix it, no problem. Trouble is, they couldn’t fix it, either. After several weeks of phone calls and emails, they told me that they couldn’t fix it and that particular model was out of stock.
I went back to the store to get my refund (thank goodness for the protection plan). As the gentleman was helping me, I had a thought:
WAIT A GOT DAMN MINUTE! I WANT EVERY GOT DAMN CENT OF MY GOT DAMN MONEY BACK! I WANT THE PRICE, TAX, AND PROTECTION PLAN MONEY BACK!
I’d basically spent a lot of money to “rent” a computer for less than 90 days. As the slow, rusty math gears in my mind started to churn, I turned to the guy and said, “Wait, I want ALLLLLLLL OF MY MONEY BACK.” Realizing I was maybe a bit terse, I added, “Please.”
He started to hem and haw about what “the system” was going to “give me” back. I listened, politely, making mental notes of all of his pre-excuses, and then used them back on him as I made the argument, politely, that they’d sold me a faulty device AND a protection plan on a faulty device. Even they couldn’t fix their faulty device and it was ridiculous that I suffer the cost of a protection plan on a faulty device that they sold me less than 90 days ago and that they couldn’t fix. COUGH COUGH, AHEM, SIR.
He again assured me that he would give me back everything that the system would allow. I again, slowly, calmly, with almost comically patience, assured him that his system, and his logic, could both go take a got damn hike and frankly, he better get me my got damn money.
I said all of these things politely, of course.
I stood there politely.
I smiled politely.
I re-iterated my point politely.
I suggested he call a manager, politely.
At the end, he did not have to call the manager and he gave me every red penny of my money back. My polite and repetitive requests were met. Months later, I returned to Best Buy and bought another got damn computer. The new one seems to be working just fine.
The moral of the story is, don’t forget to be your own best advocate; your own guardian. Whether it’s the guardian of your feelings, your money, your time, or your energy, it is your job, and only your job, to be the guardian of the things that will affect you. Don’t leave that job to someone else. You will only get what THEY think you deserve and you can see from my story, it’s likely that it will be less than you actually deserve.
Sometimes it’s easy to do when it comes to money, but it’s probably even more important to do when it comes to bad friends, bad relationships, time wasting bullshit, etc.
How do you practice self guardianship?
And when was the last time you bought a computer?
Until tomorrow, my friends…