Williamsburg tends to lag behind The Big Cities. We have not yet heard of juicing and don’t expect to see a Food Truck roll in until 2020, when the city folk will have no doubt turned to the upscale veggie popsicles recently featured on “Shark Tank”.
That said, Ulta recently opened.
Ulta is like the product aisle at Target, but a whole store and hosting much fancier items than on the Garnier Fructis line. High end items (which we all know can only be so high end if they are called high end. Real high end people refer to their products as casually as I do Suave, and buy them in petite mystical boutiques far far away from Shoe Carnival. So I’ve heard.)
I walk in and I’m seduced. Filled with hope: here in this place lies some sort of balm, foam, or cream that can make me who I want to be. Who I need to be. Who deep down I am. Providing my hair is textured adequately.
Further complicating things, there’s a grocery store in the same quaint retail village. Grocery shopping emotionally tires me. Partly because I’m doing it every 3-4 days. Partly because I’m projecting into it deeper issues of motherhood adequacy keeping with suburban American norms. Read: I feel guilty that I’m buying Lunchables because they’re probably the same ones manufactured when I was a kid and who knows if that’s real meat or if I even want it to be? Besides is she eating any of it but the Oreo? Did any of us?
As for the baby food, I load up on those squeezable pouches, half scorning myself for not pureeing my own and half wishing I could feed everyone in sight out of a pouch. Want to come over for a pouch? Sweet Potato and Pear or Broccoli and Lentils? I get to the cash register and am aghast at how much it costs to feed a family of five for, let’s be honest, 3-4 days. Then I realize I forgot the chicken nuggets. But do I feed them too many nuggets?
So…let’s just say the grocery store is a dark place. And when your Dark Place sits near your Weak Place…ohhh danger.
I finished grocery shopping this morning and I’m feeling raw, and cranky and vulnerable. But not vulnerable in the Brene Brown way. Vulnerable in the, what I need right now is to buy something that will make it all go away. I’m not a big shopper. But I am an American and I walk into Ulta and see the new Jennifer Aniston line and I think I’ve found the answer. A stronger, truth-telling me knows that J.A. probably sits somewhere at that moment with limp hair, eating a Lunchable, but I wasn’t feeling strong. I also am not wearing make up. Friends, there’s an uplifting point to this post that will encourage you to look beyond material desires, but I do need to insert that not wearing make up in a make up store with really bright lights and people wearing dramatic evening eyes at 10am…well ,it doesn’t always help things.
I bought a few items things promising to define and set free and hydrate and nurture and be my friend and left.
When I thought to myself how glad I was to have only Leila with me, I suddenly felt gross. I knew I wouldn’t have done my sadness shopping with the two older ones. Not after having denounced their choice of “Magic Rainbow Fashion Fairies Super Model Mania” for reading this week. Not after defining “marketing” in reference to the American Girl Doll of the Year. And not after very piously explaining that we do not buy new backpacks every year because we need to (somewhere in something) understand that we have enough.
I was caught.
I came home and put on my JCrew button down that I wear every day. The one that, when I realized I loved it, I almost went out and bought four more. But I didn’t. Enough. The one that, when I realized I loved it, I considered looking for its equivalent at the “real store online” becausu we all know that the outlet is lesser quality at a lesser price. But I didn’t. Enough.
Friends, it is a struggle. And I know not just for me. Purchasing has somehow become so entangled with desire and identity and fear and hope and all of us, we have enough.
I spend so much time telling my kids they have enough. And so much time reacting to my belief that I don’t. But they’re 6 , 4, and almost 1, so they’re along for the ride, watching, learning.
Sophia announced she’d get the mail this afternoon and came back in with three political pieces…and an Ulta coupon. They know where I live. “I think it’s all trash…” she said. “UMM..hmm…” I murmured tossing the political stuff and keeping the coupon. (The product did work well…) Ohhh danger.