Saturday, September 20, 2008

the shopping spree

"Beauty is only skin deep. The real beauty is what is inside of you not what is on the outside. I'll buy clothes when I lose ten pounds, have the time, one of my books sells a million copies..... anyway shopping is a superficial waste of time and money that you are way beyond."

These are just a few of the ditties I lived with for much of my life, what I call my "yoga pants " mentality. It hadn't always been this way, as a teen and into my twenties I was a different animal ,but the fact that as a writer working from home for the past several years....had left me a beyond a fashion disaster, it had left me a mess! I had somehow pulled it off by scrummaging through the chaos of my closet on those rare occasions when I actually had to find an outfit, but for the most part I needed a big overhaul.

Then, ( and don't ask me how this happened) one morning I awoke with an epiphany. Things needed to change. I was still an attractive (albeit not showing it) and not yet totally over the hill 49 year old woman. By God, it was time that I embraced life and myself again by buying some clothes!
This however, presented some major obstacles. Number one, I didn't have a clue where to begin. I had barely stepped foot in a retail store for years. I never read magazines, never paid attention to what was "in," didn't even know my size, certainly didn't have a lot of money and had a closet overflowing with crap from 20 years ago ( mostly from hand me downs friends gave me after cleaning out their closets)! I couldn't even tell what was in there let alone what was salvageable. This was going to be an interesting process.
The first thing I decided to do was purge. If I didn't love and I mean LOVE an item, it went into a big garbage bag for the homeless. The first two items were hard, "you may someday want to wear the orange sequined mumu." Then it became one of the most cleansing, exhilarating and freeing experiences I have ever allowed myself to have. I put on the radio really loudly and started tossing. Through closet, drawers and shoe racks, leotards, belts and purses, old nighties and "good" coats out they went. No questions asked...Bye bye! Even makeup drawers and jewelry boxes were sorted through. Nothing was spared, I was on a roll.
Three days and ten full giant bags later, left with just a few truly pretty and long forgotten treasures I now had no choice, I had to shop, or spend a lot of time naked.

And so phase two began....."The Spree." Armed with three rarely used credit cards and a number I conjured up of $1,500.00 I considered this splurge an investment in my future ( who knows who I might attract) therapy,( it was bound to help my self esteem) and a financial affirmation ( maybe by dressing great I would somehow manifest more money) I forged into the unknown depths of my local shopping mall.
At first it was dizzying...literally. The colors, the signs, the noise. Which store? Which sale? What was my fashion style? Did I want to be trendy, sophisticated, artistic? How the heck to even begin? What deals were really best? What were my darn colors anyway...was I a spring, winter, grey fog? HELP! No wonder I hated this and had avoided it so much of my adult life. I must have not been born with the gene all other women seemed to have been...the shoppers gene. I wanted to run home, hide, move to Bali and live in a bathing suit and a sarong, I wasn't cut out for this, I was outta here......

Before bolting though, I decided to have a little lunch and calm myself. One Chinese chicken salad and a fresh iced tea later. I felt different, a little mellower and decided to go into just one store and see what happened.

What can I say? It was as if the years of imprisonment unlocked the gates and my "inner shopper" was freed, unleashed and running wild. I began! One shirt opened up a new world and the hours flew by. I shopped, I charged, I found deals upon deals, I mixed this with that and that with this and hauled it all home . Almost instantaneously, I caught the bug, the excited adrenaline rush of finding the perfect belt to go with that dress. Wow a twenty dollar skirt reduced form forty nine!! God, I look good in pink!
Realizing that if I was to look good on the outside, I had better look cute underneath too (you never know, maybe someone else might actually see it one day) I also bought beautiful lacy lingerie. And then of course I needed the right shoes, jackets, work out clothes, get the idea. Within one week, I knew the mall better than the best of them. I could tell you who had what on special and where the cutest bathing suits were. I had walked into my womanhood and joined the ranks of those for whom the mall, boutiques and catalogues were a spiritual experience. I had been reborn. For a thousand dollars. I was new.

Hauling those dozens of bags home and putting my new friends in their rightful places. I felt alive, excited about the future and the possibilities that abound. Now I know that for some of you , this may sound silly, overdue, indulgent or even dangerous, but for me it has been a most excellent adventure. For the first time I now notice what other women are wearing, ask them where they found said items, a whole new language of bonding has opened up. I make mental notes of what I like or don't. The reactions from the outside world,  neighbors, men, strangers has been fascinating...they actually look at me. I am no longer invisible. It may have taken decades to really "get it" but get it I did. Though I still know in my heart that it is what's inside that truly counts, I now also see that it is a primal, feminine, right to want to look good, and to let yourself pursue that desire. To enjoy the mirror, shop with the girls, and to let your self buy that new leather jacket that you "just have to have '. And you know what.... I must admit, I like it!

Then again, as I write this—I’m still in the yoga pants! Makes me wonder do things ever really change?

Just Love,


No comments: