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In my circles it is easier to acknowledge Privilege than it ever has been before.  We are, on whole, people who have a safety net of one sort or another.  Our pride may push back, and it may feel like hell but in the end we are not alone, and we know it.  We may be afraid, or broken, or scared, but through friends and family we have people who want (and who can) help keep us whole.

So I’m going to try out another of those power words.  Entitlement.

Right now I feel entitled beyond measure and beyond good sense.  It toys with my self-soothing mechanism of Buying Things, and it promises me a calm space.

When my dad was waiting for PET scan results to see the extent of his current cancer I left work early because I couldn’t stop crying. A friend of mine asked how I would spend the afternoon and said, “I’m going to go buy an iPad I’ve been waiting on.”  She laughed and commented that she had forgotten that is what I did.  I did.  I do.

My skin is doing that bullshit thing it does when the seasons change.  If  I wait, it will settle down but if I get a ($70) facial it will settle down faster.  I have a job now, I want a facial — and frankly a massage ($80)  and my nails ($30) done.  I have a job now and I have less silence so of course I still want to tend to myself.

I also have a car that sounds like I’ve never heard of a mechanic and I’m $2,000 into a $5,000 dental bill.  I have life that needs some handling right now.  Especially for me to make my car goal.

I went to a Cancer Summit hosted by Free to Breathe last weekend, and it was amazing.  It was crippling in the amount of NEED the lung cancer community has right now – the research for such a deadly disease is so amazingly underfunded.  The stigma and the shame that comes with lung cancer makes me ACHE.  In what other cancer is it assumed that you somehow brought it on yourself?  In what scenario would you choose to identify with another cancer instead just because you wanted compassion instead of contempt?

I bought an outfit that looks amazing at a five-story Macy’s in Pittsburgh.  It was a good sale and the cost wasn’t exorbitant but I got it the night after I got myself a surprise Cabaret ticket.  I was exhausted and so very sad.

I will support my friend in her annual drive to raise money for LLS.  John Green wants to buy wells in Ethiopia and Bill Gates promised money to match dollar to dollar if they raise $100,000 in 10 days (GO NERDFIGHTARIA GO!!!).  In the end I bought an album from a man I met a couple of time 15 years ago because he knows Brian and Brian knew John and John is dead.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I need a new phone at about 4.5.  My current phone is 2.5 years old and the home button is starting to get fussy. It will last until I’ve remedied the teeth cost but.  BUT.  I want it now.  It proves I’m ok.  It proves everything is going to be ok.  There is a new model of my phone out and I’ve never gotten one when they were just released – it would be fun.

Like the clothing.

Like the cabaret.

Like the iPad.

Like the massage.

Like the facial.

Feeling sad is a lot of work, so instead I will buy something sparkly and hope that it helps.  I don’t enjoy sitting with sadness so I’ll distract myself with thoughts of what I should get myself or the people that I love.

Or.  As I grow older, and approach growing wiser, I will see myself for all the things that I am and I will feel lost and rudderless.  I will go to sleep early and try again tomorrow.

 

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There is a picture of me at about 14.  I am sitting at a picnic table glaring at my mom, because I’m 14.  My hair is super short, and permed on top.  I have acne that will eventually be medically managed but then I managed it by tearing my face apart. I am wearing at least two, but I think three, tank tops – red, yellow, and (if there is a third) white.  I am wearing below-the-knee shorts that are red, yellow, and white.  I suspect that I’m wearing my white, leather, zip up at the heel sandals – but I’m not sure.  It is at least 93 degrees where I am.  All of my limbs are 14 years old, which is to say they are stretched long and tan, and I’m never quite sure where any of them end.

 

I was so cool that day.  That was my favorite outfit, and I rocked that haircut.  I had spent time on it even though I was going to spend the day moving back and forth from the bench to the patio on The Hill, which was a lot of beautiful not-much, in the middle of a lot of beautiful no-where.  I worked hard to be that cute.

 

I can look back at that picture as an adult and know that my style has always been consistent.  Identify what is “on trend” and then do something near it, without fear of the things that make me happy.  I own plenty of things that look absolutely normal for a working 40 year-old woman; the stuff we all have – chunky necklaces, nude heels, black slacks.  I also own zebra shoes, Vibrams, and silver ankle boots.  Just like I did when I was 14, I have buttons on my purse (Doctor Who and The Book of Mormon).

 

When I look at that picture of me, I don’t see bad hair and the dodgy fashions of the day.  I know, right away, that it was the days of Dippity Doo and Aqua Net and that my 14 year old hands knew less about fixin’ hair than I do now (and I still wear short, basically un-styled hair).  There weren’t flat irons and reliable ways to maintain loose curls all day long.  Nobody I knew had any idea what an up-do was (as far as I can tell) and I certainly had never had one.

 

Here is the tricky part (a buried lead if ever there was one) – I refuse to judge 14 year old me by my 39 year-old eyes.

 

I look in the mirror this morning and think Cute, Stylish, Rockin’!, just like I did when I was 14.  I was right then, and I’m right now. 

 

I will not chip away at my energy and love for myself today by tearing down the person I was then.  I did the best I could, and I rocked it.