Thursday, March 3, 2011

My subconscious likes to spend

Well, this is embarrassing. Last night, I dreamed I was in a gigantic mall with ceilings that arced endlessly into the sky. I was with a friend who loves to shop. We were swatching buttery soft eyeshadows and blushes and trying on cute little dry-clean-only dresses. Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl may have been there as well. We were eating chocolate ice cream from Laura Secord.

I think I may miss shopping more than I thought I would, seeing as I’m now doing it in my sleep.

Let me clarify that I was never really a big spender, but I was a "shopper." Typically I would dither over something and eventually…not buy it. I also went through a crazy phase of buying and then returning things. (Inevitably I’d get an item home find something I didn’t like about it – in a very Seinfeld way – and back to the store it went.)

So why did I stop shopping if I wasn't spending? Simply put, it gave me a general feeling of unease - of being unsatisfactory in some vague, indefinable way. Like a kind of perfection I could not achieve.

It would go like this: Oh I wish I had nicer clothes. I wish I were more “pulled together.” How do all these girls look so pulled together. I would be more pulled together if I wasn’t running around all the time looking for matching socks. Maybe I should colour-code? Dividers? Padded hangers for my clothes? And how do I get my cutlery drawer to be perfectly neat, like the one in the flyer for Crate and Barrel? Is there something I can buy for that, too?

I was spending my life fretting over insignificant details in a quest for material perfection, when really what I wanted was something more intangible – wholeness, happiness, fulfillment of purpose. Instead I was looking for a solution I could buy.

There’s an aesthetic part of me that craves pretty things, and perhaps that’s what the dream was about. I wonder whether it's dangerous to deny such desires entirely. Like Well Heeled was saying recently, could a small but happy-making purchase be beneficial now and then? Or will frivolous purchases put me back on the never-ending tilt-a-whirl of consumerism?

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