I went out shopping tonight to get some last minute Christmas gifts. I was only supposed to be gone for a short while because I only needed two items. I headed out to my local Ross and walked into the store with my mind set on what I was going to purchase. Then I caught my reflection in one of the mirrors... My outfit was stretched out and wrinkled from being worn all day, I had some small pizza stains on my pants, my black sweater was covered in lint/cat hair/ my hair, my skin was pale with all my makeup having worn off, my eyes were red, and my hair was frizzy/straight/limp/no style as usual.
Suddenly I had the urge to find a dress. Something sophisticated, stylish, flattering (like seriously, I thought I was going to find this at Ross?). I proceeded to search the racks for my magic dress. I didnt find it but I picked up seven dresses anyways and I headed to the dressing room. I then proceeded to stand in the fitting room for twenty minutes analyzing every dress, glancing at my flaws, cursing my paleness and red eyes. Nothing made me feel good.
I left Ross and headed down the sidewalk to TJ Maxx. I was determined to find something to buy that would make me feel like the person I wanted to be. You know- someone that didnt look so tired, so disheveled and boring. I glanced at the dresses at TJ Maxx and remembered my experience at Ross. I headed to the shoe section. Shoes! Shoes would solve my problems by adding some much needed pizazz. I spent 30 minutes looking at shoes and trying them on. Nothing made me feel like a new person.
And then I realized what I had been doing for the last hour. Nothing I would buy tonight would change the reality of who I am. I am not a fashionista. My eyes are red. My hair is limp and frizzy. My skin is beyond pale. Nothing I can buy will make me feel better about myself.
Sure I would get a temporary high from buying some pretty shoes. But then the guilt would come. Did I need those shoes? And I would look at myself in the mirror wearing my pretty shoes and see that I still looked the same from the feet up.
I quickly purchased the gifts I originally set out to buy and headed home with no magic dress or shoes in hand.
I feel a little sad now, but triumphant that I succeeded in overcoming the desire to use shopping as a temporary fix. So many women practice "retail therapy" without even knowing it. Remember to ask "why" before you buy (eh, I didnt really mean for that to rhyme...)