“Damnit! Every time.” I said, not as angry as it might read, more resigned than anything.
“Are those new?” Sean asked nodding toward my newly spattered with pasta sauce pants.
“Yes,” I sighed looking down at the cloud blue colored sweat pants. They have a light line down the side and go to just past my knees. “They were an add on to the Gap order I made for the girls.”
He rolled his eyes.
“What? Do you not like them? I wanted them to be something for the colder weather that would look kind of easy, but sexy.” I said with a chagrined pout.
“Yes, I like them. They are everything you wanted, but you’ll wash them once and they’ll lose their shape. It happens every single time.”
I blinked at him, “I just thought…”
He titled his head to the side and mimicked me, “Ah, I hate these pants. They’re saggy and I look frumpy.” Then he aped tugging at the side of my pants and motioning toward my butt.
I cracked up. “You’re right, but where am I supposed to shop that won’t do that?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but I guarantee it’s not as an afterthought to a shop for the girls. Lululemon? Nordstrom? Somewhere intended for a woman who wants to look a certain way and knows it, and she, are worth paying for quality?”
I pursed my lip, snorted, and playfully scoffed, “I hate it when you’re right.”
“What?” he needled. “What did you say?” I threw my head back, hopped across the kitchen and said, “It annoys me when you are so right.”
“Look, the things is we’ve made decisions and we’ve worked hard. When you really want something it’s ok to get it.” I’m paraphrasing because he actually said a lot more about our values and the importance of affording ourselves time and priority in the greater scheme of our responsibilities and commitments. I don’t want to make broad, sweeping statements about men and women and patterns, but I will with regard to our family.
I don’t always say what I want and I rarely, if ever, act on something entirely for myself without great deliberation, shame, and resentment. Sometimes I let the resentment be toward Sean or life, when really it’s about me. It’s about saying yes to crap toys at the check out and about buying clothes or things for the house because they are on clearance, not because I know that we need them or that I will cherish them.
Every time I buy something that doesn’t make our lives easier or make one of us experience a lasting sense of pleasure or contentment, I’m really wasting and socking away fuel for future resentment. I am ready to end the cycle. I don’t want the girls to develop a reflexive tendency to grab at things just to have things. Hollow is hollow, even if it comes cloaked in pretty shopping bags. I want us to learn to hear ourselves—do we need the hoodie or are we actually sad about something?
I don’t know if I really need lounge pants. I want to smell the fall air, witness the day being swallowed earlier and earlier by the night while cuddling with my girls. I want to be sautéing shallots and flirting with Sean. Yes, cute pants would be nice, but the thing I was trying to buy was the promise of nights at home. I can’t get that at Gap or Lululemon. It’s a shame we don’t get glittery emails from ourselves with subject lines about Flash Sales on Happiness or Limited Time Opportunities to Spend Quality Time Together. I understand that for me the only way I can build the life that I want is by making deliberate decisions about what I do, what I buy, and what I have the courage to say aloud.
I think my subject line for this new approach will be, Fall In Love With Your Life Again.
I suffer from this too. I need to learn happiness doesn’t come in shopping bags. Well sometimes it does but it’s fleeting …. Having said that, I do love my lulu pants and so does my husband:)
Perfect, made me smile.
I love what you say, and it is So hard to do, A. But, at least Sean is on your side. Easier that way, one would think? He’s a catch.
That last paragraph…..and especially “I was trying to buy the promise of nights at home”….such great awareness. I love that you are making your house your home, and connecting your self into all of the “things.” There is a huge lesson there for me.
Honestly, I am so grateful for my home and our happiness sin it right now. I feel more aware of the impediments. Grateful to have Sean in it with me.
God, yes. Fall in love with your life again. I look forward to learning from you as you learn how … xox
Every word, I promise.
It took me forever to learn this, too. Now I spend more on an individual item, which freaks me out every time still, but it lasts, I feel beautiful in my clothing, and I don’t struggle with feeling less than.
Also? That’s a great question to ask yourself when you’re buying stuff. What am I actually trying to bring into my life?
Yes, I’ve read your shoes posts and I remember envying your unequivocal passion for the comfort. It’s becoming more clear to me that the time we spend in considering worth is time well spent.
I kind of needed to read this today. That happens a lot, you know, you writing something that I need to read. Thanks for that.
That means a lot to me, Shannon. Thank you, you do the same for me!
This resonates deeply. Sometimes I’ll let myself indulge in what I believe to be “retail therapy,” only to later realize I’ve accumulated heaps of meaningless stuff–clutter. This post is a beautiful reminder to fill our lives with what–and who–we love.
Important lesson that I needed to read today. Love this, my friend. xo
As was yours for me.
“…the thing I was trying to buy was the promise of nights at home.” Yes. I fall into this trap all the time. I’m always reminded of that Shopaholic book I read years ago in which the protagonist decides she’s going to be a writer so the first thing she does is throw down a bunch of cash on a new desk, new pens, new laptop, etc. I’m still learning that retail therapy is (usually) only a flimsy band-aid for whatever is really going on inside. I think we all need to take stock and learn to fall in love with our lives again. Thanks for the reminder.
But always splurge on shallots over onions — they make everything so much better.
Yes, yes, yes. This is lovely. I’ve been thinking about how scarcity and abundance recently – the scarcity mindset makes me acquire things, mostly crap I don’t want. But abundance…I’m thinking that’s where you allow yourself to be free to have what you want. Exactly what you want. That and nothing more.
Oh, I so relate. I tend to buy online crafting classes— it’s just 20 bucks, I say in my head. I’ve been wanting to make the time to practice lettering, I say.
And then I don’t. I feel lame spending my day, crafting when I should be doing chores or something I figure is more useful.
You know what’s lame? Not giving into my heart desires and living by “shoulds”….
I think it would be awsome if there was email that came into our inbox– today sale..spend five minutes watching the sun set. We need it.
Sending you a pocket full of permission to forget the shoulds from time to time.