Sunday, 18 August 2013

We Need to Talk about Shopping

As you can probably tell, I love clothes. Aesthetics is something I've always been enamored with, which means among other things that Wes Anderson is one of my favourite directors and I tend to view life as a photo op. It also means that I have a problem with shopping, and not just with clothes. My life is a series of new projects and ambitions, and each one involves buy-in.  My quests to better myself and become a different person have been an intrinsic part of my personality ever since I was a kid. Back then, I used to model myself on characters from books. This meant I periodically decided to become Artistic, a Tom Boy, Intelligent, so on and so forth. As I got older, this meant picking up and dropping groups of friends. This meant changing my hair and clothes regularly. This meant picking new things to "be into". I was constantly short of money, but I blamed this on coming from a low-income family and being more disadvantaged than my more wealthy friends. When I started working and making my own money I was at a loss to do with all this cashflow I hadn't had before. The next month I was back in overdraft.
Every few weeks it's like a switch goes off on my brain. I become frustrated with the person I am. I want to be better. It could be that I want to be smarter; that I want to become more cultured; that I want to be healthier; that I want to be more fun. This becomes something I focus on, it becomes all I can focus on. Here are some examples of past life decisions:

  1. Fit Grace: I wanted to be THIN. This involved hours of scrolling through the fitspo tag on Tumblr. Checking the calories on everything. Logging every single thing that into my digestive system on the MyFitnessPal app. Crying when I ate a piece of chocolate cake. Expenses: Gym membership. Gym clothes. Rye bread. Boxercise classes. 
  2. Intelligent Grace:  Leaving Cert results came out. I did well, but not as well as I expected of myself. Decided I needed to better myself. Expenses: Books on quantum physics. Literary novels. Books on political philosophy.
  3. Slightly Crazy Grace: Got out of a two-year relationship. Started college. Things got a bit out of hand. Expenses: Alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Cigarettes. Coffee to combat the constant hangovers. Stodgy food to combat the hangovers. Chats with friends over coffee about my constant shame. Clothes to wear to all the clubs I was going to. Replacing the passport I lost in a nightclub.
  4. Fuck-It-I-Don't-Know-Let's-Try-Everything: I believe this is called an "identity crisis". Expenses: Outfits that would make me look like a character in a Wes Anderson film. A trip to Edinburgh with new friends. Books as I tried to figure out what literature I enjoyed and what I was just reading to impress other people. A deposit for a flat. Various different hair dyes. 
It has gotten to the stage where checking my bank balance makes me feel physically ill. Where I feel like money trickles through my fingertips. Where going into overdraft is something of a relief because it is familiar territory. Where I have no regard for Future Grace. Where I feel entitled to these things I buy myself, and convince myself it will all work out. Where my present happiness is more important than paying the electricity bill. Where buying this [insert material object here] will be the first step to a New Me. Where my friends are used to hearing new life plans from me every few weeks. Where I feel burdened by the constant weight of my irresponsibility. Where I am being forced to realise (by other people, I will admit) that this isn't a symptom of flightiness, but of a problem. Where making it to payday with going into the red seems like an impossible task, but one I am determined to accomplish. Which may mean not being able to afford to eat anything other than 12c Tesco noodles because I bought some t-shirts online last night.

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