Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Tough Go Shopping


At one of the lowest points of my life, I had brand-name cosmetics and toiletries from the finest department stores. I had great shoes, lingerie, brand new books from Borders, and at least one CD a week from Tower Records.

I was also in college and using my parents' credit line to buy all of that stuff.

I look back on that time now - all those BeneFit eyeshadows and Nine West shoes in one hand, and endless arguing with my Dad on the other - and I understand now that I was using shopping to fill a spiritual void. I was, in other words, a living example of HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, tired.

I'll admit that I came away from that addiction with a better understanding of fashion and beauty, knowing that just because somebody tells you to buy something doesn't mean that you go out and do just that. And yet, that same addiction also left me adrift in so many ways: How could I truly appreciate the value of currency and hard work, if all I was going to do was blow it out on the newest trend or fad? Did I even have an idea that all those sales clerks that gave me so much attention and care were no substitute for spending time with real friends that would've appreciated my time?

I guess that's part of the reason why my blog always seems sparse compared to the other beauty blogs in the same genre: How can I convince you - truly, genuinely be convincing to you - to look as fabulous as you feel, when I can't even scrounge up enough for groceries? I'm not saying that the other bloggers have it better than I do; maybe they do, maybe they don't... but that doesn't mean I should pounce at the bit every single time MAC comes out with a new collection just so I can catch up with everyone else. It's not realistic for me - and even if it was financially viable, I don't think I can live with myself if I have ten billion new eyeshadows and not a lot of days for me to wear them.

(Yeah yeah, you must've heard me whine about that too... but let's move on.)

In the years since I got my credit line cut off from The Bank of Mom and Dad, I learned the hard way that I can't stay young and party-hearty forever. Going to the public library for books has significantly reduced the clutter created from buying one too many paperbacks at Borders. Cotton underwear proved to be more durable and practical than overpriced lacy nothings. The rise of iTunes made it easier for me to just buy That One Song I Like instead of spending for whole albums. Netflix and YouTube has broadened my entertainment options beyond episodic TV and artsy first run movies.

And of course, when it comes to the fashionable stuff, I find that it's best to do the research and spend more money on a few items of quality. That explains why my shoes go to the cobbler, my jeans go to the tailor, and the one crazy-colored MAC eyeshadow that I do have (aside from the palettes and the neutrals) turns out to be the one that's getting relaunched this spring.

Which brings us back to HALT:

If I'm hungry, I get nourishment... not just for my body, but more importantly for my soul.

If I'm angry, I deal with it... and if I can't deal with it rationally, I must disengage.

If' I'm lonely, I call a friend... and if they're not always around, I must remember that there are others who could use a helping hand.

If I'm tired, I stop... and rest.

1 comment:

The Mrs. said...

Nice post, Mei. From one former shopaholic to another, I totally relate. :)

It's also nice to know the best things in life are still free...or at least require a library card and not a cartload of money!