Hi, I’m Mirabelle. I’m a Shopaholic. I got my last fix an hour ago… and I want to go back for more. No… muuuustt… stop!
Have you ever heard of having an addictive personality? For some people that means being addicted to drugs, alcohol or getting an adrenaline rush.
Ever since I was young, I’ve known that I get obsessed with new fads, or listen to the same song on repeat, and repeat that for days, and days and months…
And so, I was wary of the addictive trait I knew I carried when I went to college. I was afraid that this addictive personality would carry through to alcohol, or worse, heroin or cocaine. I had heard that a sorority on campus hazed its members by forcing them to try cocaine, and then used it to get sisters to stay skinny, the effortless way.
I decided to steer clear of these things by joining an alcohol-free residence and finding friends who didn’t need to booze it to cruise it.
I had tried alcohol in high school, and since my parents didn’t really drink, they had let me try it when I was young. So there was no novelty for me anyways. And I quite honestly didn’t really like the taste of wine, liquor or beer. In fact, unless it was masked in lots of pineapple juice, I didn’t really want more than a sip before I made a face and handed over my drink to someone else.
So, after my first year in college, I realized I didn’t like alcohol, and was ok to drink in moderation. Sure, there were the two times I drank too much, threw up and swore I’d never drink again, only to return to drinking a couple drinks a month at the odd frat party.
And drugs, I knew that those puppies are chemically addicting, so I didn’t bother trying them. Considering my crew was a group of really fun people who had hobbies and liked going to the café to play boardgames, or go bowling, or go see movies, or crash a random frat party and dare each other to dance up a storm on strangers (not me, though! I was too awkward to dance up a storm in public, let alone to put another person in the same uncomfortable situation I usually found myself in).
No drugs, a couple drinks a month, and loads of my brain cells intact, I still had times when I wanted to fill the void. As an INFJ, I’ve always been a weird combination of needing people in my life, but also being a loner who drives people (namely, men) away. I often got really emotional about being alone when my friends starting dating or going out with boys. There were a few guys I had crushes on in silence, a few guys who asked me out, a very awkward first kiss, a couple suitors I rejected when they gave me flowers in grand gestures of love… but nobody every stuck. And so I was often left to my thoughts… why can’t I find someone? Why didn’t it work out with the cute guy who kissed me a month ago? Why do guys ask out other girls to their frat parties, or formals, and I stay on the sidelines? These why’s will be addressed at a later point, but I throw them in the mix today to explain the frame of mind I was in: vulnerable, lonely, confused, and wondering if I was enough.
So when my friends were busy getting out of their comfort zones and hanging out with boys, I stayed in to watch a movie or read by myself. And often having my laptop nearby, I’d look on, the stores sites that were, you know, on the edge of fashion… like Delia*s or Alloy, or Forever21. Since my mom bought my clothes in high school and I often looked like I rolled out straight from the 80s in my high-waisted jeans or ill-fitting tops. So it was kind of exciting to buy my own clothes from my Work-Study paycheck on my shiny new debit card.
And so, I would load up on ten-dollar tops or go crazy on a twenty-dollar skirt that looked pretty interesting as my roommates would later tell me. That famous multi-colored vest that my friends made me hide under my bed was another bargain steal that I found at The Limited, or something equally classy and high-fashion!
So anyhoooo, suddenly, on days I came to my dorm from class when nobody talked to me in class, or when I texted all my friends to see if they wanted to have lunch together only to find out they were all meeting up with other people from class, I’d go home and go straight to my laptop and look up cute clothes. And I’d buy something to make me feel better. Maybe if I had that amazing polka-dot top people would want to hang out with me. Or if I started wearing skirts I’d like my moon-pale legs more.
I’d buy something online, get it in the mail, and feel that momentary rush when I put it on and wore it for the first time the next day. And then I’d retreat into myself and feel awkward in class, or feel like a total idiot when I got the courage to leave a voicemail for a guy friend to see if he wanted to watch The Office with my friends and me.
And so, I’m ashamed to say that this continued, and got worse and worse throughout my four years of college. By my last year, I started wearing a little bit less eclectic clothing, and started dressing a bit preppier, in more figure-flattering silhouettes, and wearing colors that complimented my complexion, rather than washing me out. But this rebranding, literally and figuratively, cost money. And while I started to finally start to like what I saw in the mirror, and feel like I was accepted, I think that I was mistakenly using clothing, makeup and accessories to buy my self-esteem instead of just accepting myself.
I’ve grown a lot in years in terms of loving myself, whether it’s having a quirky sense of humor that many think is weird, or accepting that I freeze and just seem super boring when I’m in an comfortable situation. I also know that I still patch my loneliness with shopping. Except now I’ve moved to cute Lululemon outfits to like what I see in the mirror in Zumba class, or fancy new bras to make my flat chest feel a bit more special in a sea of girls with skinny waists, no booty, and Double D’s.
So today, I realized that I did it again. Ever since I started this new job, I’ve felt like I looked like a boy. Maybe it was because I cut my hair too short, and the shoulder-length cut needs added attention to have that feminine bounce, or maybe it was that I felt really squat wearing flats around my Amazonian friends and coworkers.
I know that I’ve struggled in the past few weeks with my appearance. And it hasn’t been every day. I haven’t even sobbed about it, or cried myself to sleep. But I have to admit that I had some days when I just felt super unattractive.
And so it began.
First, I couldn’t restrain myself from buying super fancy, expensive contraptions at an expensive lingerie shop. I normalized this by telling myself that I was over Victoria’s Secret. Their bras were cheap, but they also didn’t last, and you could always see the front flap under my shirt, and this, and that… So I had been wanting to buy myself a nice bra. The kind where you and your best friend go to a fancy lingerie shop, and get felt up by the fancy models that work there who tell you to jiggle it out and see if this fancy new bra makes you feel UHMAZING! And guess what, it did… and come to think of it, so did the velvet leopard print one… Which one should I get?????? THE DILEMMA? And then I got both, and they were like wayyyyy outside of my budget…. But then I told myself, it’s ok, I will pay off my credit cards this year anyways, and I needed a good bra… And I’d just stop eating out… so I was really saving money.
And next thing I knew, I spent over a hundred dollars on four sets of pretty earrings to try to look more feminine. I justified this by saying that I only wore the tiny pearl studs, and needed more color or flash once in a while. And this was true, I gave away all the earrings I owned before my big move. If I didn’t wear them, they were going.
And then I went out and bought myself a whole new workout wardrobe to fit in with the girls over here that all look so fancy in all black – while my human highlighter look was just out of place!
So anyways, today, I bought myself Chanel lipstick, which feels like putting butter on your lips. So indulgent! But I couldn’t settle on just one shade of pink. Because I loved the peachy Katherine, and the pink Edith, and I couldn’t say no to staying a statement in the deep purply shade of Etienne! So you guessed it, this financial maven bought all three for $35 each. And while we’re at throwing money down the drain, she bought herself a nice eyeshadow since the one she had on when she peered at herself in the mirror at the store made her look totally washed out. So there… another over-the-top day of purchases.
And I suspect this might just be that I still want to fit in. I still want to look like the person you want to be friends with.
Except, guess what?! I have friends. I like myself! I generally am happy with my style, and my appearance. I work out a lot. I’m healthy. I eat healthy. I sleep well. I use the good face cream and slather on the sunscreen to prevent wrinkles. I look half my age most of the time.
WHY THE HECK AM I STILL A SHOPAHOLIC?
Today I spent a ludicrous amount of money on makeup and Lululemon gear, and evilly tore off all the tags and tore up the Chanel boxes so I couldn’t return anything, because myyyy precioussss! And thus, I decided that today’s the day. This was my last over-indulgent purchase.
I’m going to share with you what I bought every week (even if it’s just a summary at the end of EVERY POST!). Because something needs to change. I can’t squander the money I could use to pay off my credit cards, or save up for a down payment to buy a home by constantly buying new clothes, shoes, lingerie, fancy Butter London nail polish that won’t cause cancer, or makeup! I need to grow up, and start making responsible choices.
And most of all, match my habits with the self-esteem I’ve worked so hard to build! I LOVE MYSELF. And most importantly I like myself. I don’t need to change a thing. I don’t need to pretend, or hide behind anything. I just need to be.
So let’s all do this! Let’s hold ourselves accountable, and more importantly hold our friends accountable. No more, “but it does look really cute on you!” Just remind your friends that it’s going on their credit card and taking away from their future! Or just tell them that you love their wardrobe already.
Thanks in advance!
PS- I’ve already taken important steps like unsubscribing from ALL shopping emails, moving to live in a cave, locking up my credit cards in a safe, telling EVERYONE not to let me shop EVER, and reminding myself that there are some evil trigger words that send me into a shopping craze… so I’ll just have to STAY STRONG!
What about you? What triggers bad habits for you? Do you tie shopping to something more than just a pure necessity to update soiled rags or torn jeans?
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!
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