Fiction. Based on a True Consumerism Addiction.
“I try to run from this anxious girl inside me.”
“Purchasing New to Forget the Old”
by Dorothy England
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
She’s trailing sleepy fingers along the hangers, letting her eyes absorb the soft, then bright colors. Oh, she thinks, looping now alert fingers through a flower printed dress, this will be perfect for a date.
She doesn’t even have a date booked, but isn’t it better to be prepared than not?
Her eyes catch on a pair of dress slacks, sleek and stylish. Perfect for the job I want…she lets the thought thrill her mind, deliberately pressing over the second half – but do not yet have.
In a matter of minutes, maybe even seconds, her left arm has grown tense beneath the weight of delicate skirts and silk blouses, beneath shiny shoes and decorative jeweled peppered purses.
I need this, she reminds herself – but really what she needs is stability, not store-bility. She needs to address the rising issues that calculate like the bills on her last statement, instead of purchasing a dress.
Everyone’s in debt, she comforts herself – but really she knows this isn’t true. Her husband isn’t – he’s smart and savvy – he thinks and somehow remembers to listen to the other half of the pushing thought to purchase – you don’t actually need this.
To his credit, he still married her with her looming credit-card debt.
Now, surrounded by others who are filling their carts full and their wallets empty, she pushes the image of his disappointment out of her mind. Instead, she saunters over to the lingerie section. He can’t be disappointed when he’s excited – right?
Half an hour later, she’s depositing her arms across the counter, clicking her gaze across her bounty. There’s extra excitement in the air – the one good thing about the pandemic is the element of surprise since you can’t try anything on in stores now. You can now howl in disappointment against the privacy of your own walls, you can now giggle in burst delight at the clothes that fit and show your curves.
Of course, it’s because of the pandemic that you’ve closed in on this aisle of distress, that you now buy more clothes than you need – particularly with nowhere to wear them to. Really it’s your own shamdemic – where you purchase with fake glee, pushing the dooming thoughts of debts out of your mind.
Something new to forget the old of being you. Something shiny to distract the dullness of your anxiety. Something bright to color your darkness.
At least, you tell yourself as you pat palms across your body in a new outfit, at least for a little, distracted while.