Deliver Us From Me-Ville
Every few years or so (sometimes every five), I make myself do it. Shop for new clothes.
Within minutes of reaching the mall, it is woefully obvious that I have not kept up with the task of clothing myself, putting shoes on my feet. I feel dizzy. Overstimulated. Confused. Even depressed. How will I ever find the few things I need, in the midst of plenty?
I come with simple lists. Brown sandals I could wear with a skirt. A skirt I could wear with a brown linen blouse. A white top and maybe a black one. White and black go with everything— even the skirt I am just now looking for.
Every ten years or so, I go over the top. I buy jewelry as well.
This week and last week, I made my trek to the malls. I found some things I will keep. I found some things I have already taken back and others that still need to be returned. I found, too, that shopping makes me think of a book I was recently given...
In Deliver Us From Me-Ville, author David Zimmerman says this: "Society doesn't consider high self-esteem merely healthy; it considers it noble. If you don't see yourself as important, yo, you're seen as upsetting the natural order." (p.30)
I felt this keenly when I picked up a pair of $500 sandals (and quickly put them down again!); how important would I be if I bothered to adorn my less-than-noble feet with shoes of such noble price? It felt almost laughable, yet not. The salesman had all the right words to say, to try to convince me that this was the natural order of things and that I should accept my place in this order.
At the jewelry and accessories store, it was more of the same. When the saleswoman asked if the necklace, earrings and bracelet were a gift, I said, "Well, not really. They're for me." She responded, without missing a beat, "That's even better. You're the most important person."
I felt something within me twist when I heard these words. "No, I'm not, really," I replied. She would have none of that. "Yes you are! You deserve this."
Should I walk out of the store? I thought briefly of leaving my purchase at the counter, but remembered it could be years before I would come back to such a place.
It took me two days to clothe myself, put shoes on my feet. It will take me a few more days to return some of the things I now realize I don't need. I hope it takes less than a few years to shake off the "me-messages" that are yet trying to crawl into my heart.
Oh, Lord, deliver us from me-ville.
Deliver Us From Me-Ville photo, by L.L. Barkat.
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