Dec 19, 2016
I finished the last little tidbits of shopping today for stocking stuffers, extra wrapping paper, and pet toys. And, what the heck, I threw in a few items for me. Yes, I did. There was hair dye and foundation, lip pencils and sliced almonds. I allowed for the whispering voices of need I’d been ignoring to finally be heard. And when I got home I realized, Wordsworth was slightly wrong. The getting and spending wasn’t a bad thing today. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
The World is Too Much With Us; Late and Soon
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
—- William Wordsworth —-
I realized that sometimes I need a reward. That it’s a message to myself about my worth. Not an ice cream sundae every time but a new bra or four. A new liner lip pencil when the one I’m using is a nub. A pad of paper to write notes in the kitchen on. A new package of hair bands for gathering my hair into a ponytail.
I feel like these little things can mean so much. That life is lived in moments and is colored by how you feel ease in those moments. To have items that are there for you which aren’t frayed or being made due with is such a message to yourself of your worth. I don’t need the most expensive anything nor do I want the cheapest. I just want to know that my needs, however small, are taken care of. And that I need not believe I am unworthy of having my needs met. Simple.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
—– Ralph Waldo Emerson —-
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Dec 15, 2014
I had occasion to take a walk through a mall recently. Meeting a dear friend halfway between our houses meant meeting for lunch in the Annapolis Mall. And having parked at one end, I discovered that the restaurant was at the complete opposite end. So I figured I’d get a good power walk in. And off I went.
What I noticed, besides the foreign men lurking at the shop entrances and lunging out like spiders to hand me a coupon I refused, was all the ‘buy now’ newness. And how this no longer held any glamor for me.
When I was young with disposable income, either mine or my parents, I loved the mall. As teenagers, we would spend hours doing laps around and around the chosen mall taking in the trends, eating a slice of pizza, goofing off, flirting with foreign teenagers, and fondling clothing we weren’t going to buy. As a twenty something, my interest in my beauty brought me back to the mall for the glamor of fashion, makeup, accessories, and shoes.
Does it surprise me to note that the glamor, the narcissism that marked my youth has left, gone with my innocence and my disposable income. No, nothing really surprises me anymore except a beautiful sunset. As I got my heart pumping with my power walk, I felt righteous knowing that I was an American who wasn’t obsessed by the getting and the spending. And that I wasn’t feeding the machine which is the retail industry. One that seems to cater to skinny no hipped boy/girls who don’t mind things clinging to their shins. Ecchh.
I have been slowly fitting back into what I do have in my closet, much of which is thrifted. And putting on make-up. I do feel the self-love being rekindled that I lost a little after the birth of Fiona. I’ve recently inventoried what I have in my closets. And when I am ready to make more changes to my wardrobe, I’ll go looking for what I need and get a little shopping therapy on. Because if it’s seldom to happen, as in “I lost weight and am ready to pull off a personal episode of What Not to Wear”, it’s a little more fun to shop. The glamor is there, just in a different way.
May 15, 2013
As you may know, men shop differently than women. If you’ve got a plan of shopping action, he’s willing to here it and execute it. But there’ll be no lollygagging and meandering about aimlessly for items.
The first Christmas season we spent together, we went to the Towson (Maryland) Mall and went separate ways to shop. And when we met back up at the appointed place, Mark was pale and shaky. Seems he’d been traumatized previously by shopping. Maybe he was hypoglycemic too, who knows.
So it’s been many of years of shopping therapy. The last time we went out, he knew his size and style of preferred jeans and his tailored shirt numbers so well that there was no fuss. I was astounded that we didn’t have to try on anything else.
And this week he surprised me with, “Let’s go shopping”. And we did and again there was no drama. We teased each other and strolled the baby around the store and then we were done. $300 in Kohl’s got us 5 shirts, 2 jeans, 2 shorts, and 2 pr of shoes. And when I came upstairs the next morning, He’d laid out his clothes out so nicely on the bed. Had to take the picture.
The second pair of shoes were on his feet. I thought about taking a picture of the ones he finally was allowing me to replace. But your eyes would burn to see them they’re that hideous.
And now I really need to get myself some new or even gently used clothing that don’t have spots or pregnancy panels on them. I suspect that the reason I no longer have anything this size is because I let go of those when I lost that weight last Spring. My ever changing wardrobe lamentation posts are here and here.
If you’ve got a good Mars vs. Venus shopping story, do tell.
Jan 17, 2013
The avoidance of doing things we have to do emerged as a theme this week at my house. Our reasons for avoidance seemed to include anticipation of pain and discomfort, lack of clarity, lack of priorities, and fear. And a little I don’t like to be told what to do.
Whether on paper or in our heads, the things to do list exists. These items may be for our well-being or another’s, for progress, clarity, or growth but we know why they’re necessary to carry out. And yet we question and avoid them all the same.
I needed a lot of physical things accomplished this past week. And as the time unfurled in which I wanted to get them done, I realized my husband had his own list and he would be of no help. Physically, I dread even going up stairs. And I knew my tasks involved multiple stair efforts.
I was irritable in anticipation. I snapped at my husband Mark and said he needed to stay right at the desk and finish the thing he kept saying he needed to finish. Because if I heard him say he needed to finish it one more time, I would throttle him. Then I enlisted my seven year-old’s help and plowed ahead. I snapped and growled and ached and groaned. And eventually I was done. Mark eventually completed his task as well.
Then Mark had to go shopping for essential rain gear for an outdoor job called the Presidential Inauguration the next day. He “remembered” this late in the afternoon. I told him he needed to go immediately and just get it done. He sat at the desk to do “research”. He called someone. When he finally made it out the door, he admitted he didn’t feel like going out in the rain and getting gas. And he dreads shopping. Bye, bye I said.
Of course, he completed his mission and got exactly what he needed all by his shopping-phobic self. I had gotten through my forced march of to do’s even though it was slightly painful. But with this last hurrah of my all day morning sickness, everything is painful. When you do what you feel needs to be done, you feel good about yourself. And that is the real goal. And it doesn’t hurt to drop those things which aren’t necessary.
As I am now faced with a To Do list that seems to grow as my energy depletes, I have to prioritize, delegate, and figure out where the real blocks are. Are the blocks based on physical restraints, time restrictions, “I don’t know how” oriented, a need for supplies or equipment, or are you waiting for nice weather. Once I have discovered my reason for avoidance, I can make better choices to help myself out of the “I can’ts” and into the “I did its”. Wish me luck, I’m going in.
Jan 9, 2013
I began to feel panicky. I only had a crib, a mattress, and a blanky. Yes, there are numerous boxes of years’ worth of boys clothing in the attic. But we don’t know if we’re even having a boy.
I had nary a nappy or bottle or binky in the house and I was 32 weeks along. Although I thought it possible that people might offer up stuff via a shower or queries, time was running out. And I was woefully behind in my nesting preparation.
This is where I had an “episode”. Did we have enough money? What did I actually need? Were people going to help? Did anyone really care? Numerous worries compiling in my head. My husband calls this the shotgun effect.
You can worry or you can do something to abate the worry. Only the latter will make a difference. If you really want to worry, make sure you put enough things on your plate to feel really overwhelmed. And definitely don’t break down and make a list of action steps toward alleviating the worry. Pay the worries the respect they need to fester. “It’s still your choice. Always has been.
As I had paid the bills, we had “extra” money (Maryland quarterlies be damned). And we planned a trip to Target. My swollen leg and my lack of car had me seated for that week prior so I typed up lists. There’s a ‘Bag for the Hospital’ list and a ‘Need for the Baby/ Nursery’ list. There’s also a ‘People Who Will Help after the Baby Arrives’ list. The lists helped me feel more prepared.
We hit the Target on Saturday. When I had filled the cart up, Mark looked at me and asked, “Do we have enough nest for all that nesting?” Sadly, a good chunk of the haul was just stuff for me. Like granny underwear and socks that don’t cut into my swollen calves, and nursing tops for the aftermath. Happily, most of the baby wear was on clearance.
This process revealed an important fact; you need to show up for you first. If you’re absent from your life and wonder why you feel abandoned, consider how to best show up for yourself and then do so. Funny how we can stand back and wonder where everyone is and forget to include ourselves in this equation. Party of One is still a party.
We’re planning a meet the baby party after the birth. People will be able to actually see the fabulous blessing in person. And will most likely be relieved to know what gender of child to shop for were that necessary. Meanwhile, I am just glad to have that pile of stuff upstairs. Now if only that crib would paint itself.