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I Hate Shopping

There are about three million reasons I hate this activity, but there’s only one that has a name: Ben Vesuvius. That asshole was real good at undermining my personality and expression of self in order to force me to wear whatever he liked better, which had zero taste. What kind of monster loves taupe for everything? What kind of asshole loves beige curtains? Where does the madness stop? The man’s house was more barren than a hotel room.

I think he might be a serial killer, actually, y’all. I mean… He blended in with literally everything, everywhere. Nothing about him had a signature or style. He wore plaid short sleeved button up shirts, grid patterns, and other similar things that every geek everywhere wears. The only thing I remember him having that was unusual in his sea of neutrals and blues was a pair of burgundy skinny jeans, which he didn’t even seem to really like but he wore them anyway, matching them with hideous off-colors.

Oh, now I’m starting to sound like a fashionista to y’all? I didn’t in the entry I declared I am one, but now. Now I can be labeled like so.

Fuck you.

Now, what I’m trying to say is this: the man is unusual. It’s like he resists making any choice that might actually make him stand out. He has a blue Hyundai Elantra, for example. God tells me this is the car that wannabe sports car drivers get to blend in because it’s almost as good as a sports car but the insurance is the same as a regular sedan. (You’re welcome, Mr. Police Officer.)

He drove bumper to bumper, even when traffic wasn’t heavy. He was always trying to go faster and faster. He even told me once he was pulled over on his way to work at 10:00 am (which is very light traffic in the Lou) and they just let him go for speeding. He was going 70 in a 60. “I’m late for work,” he’d told them, but in reality, he could roll into work any time he damn well pleased, so long as he did his job. He’s a computer programmer working at cushy white collar digs, y’all.

That man petrified me whenever I was a passenger in his car. Unless I was high as a kite, I was on edge. I swore over and over again, trip after trip, that this man was going to be the death of me. It was going to be a high speed car crash of some sort, I just knew it, especially since he loves to drive with a single hand on the wheel, even when he’s making turns. I don’t think it occurs to him that the wheel could get slippery or his arm muscles may one day not respond in the nick of time to avert a car accident. Me? I know my response times are slow, so I drive the speed limit. It’s plenty fast enough for me. I leave like eight car lengths between me and the traffic beyond me just so I can be a smooth operator. No jerky halting, no screeching tires, nothing. I can just apply gentle pressure to my brakes and enjoy a smooth stopping sensation.

Maybe y’all would like to judge me for that, too.

You do, I know you do, because when y’all are behind my vehicle, about half of you are on my bumper. I want a bumper sticker that says I (heart) the speed limit. I also need one that says I brake for (a new line full of small animal silhouettes + a deer head with antlers.) I might be silly, but these also might catch on, I suppose. I’d want a coexist sticker except I never like how those people drive. They just want me to put up with their aggressive bull shit, I swear.

I’m going to wait ’til I have a Tesla cybertruck, though. I am going to plaster the ass end of that thing with awesome bumper stickers that tell people I’m SLOW. GO THE FUCK AROUND ME ALREADY IF YOU’RE IN A RUSH!

They do, too. Even on streets with double solid yellow lines. It’s like they forget what the rules of the road are because they haven’t been held accountable for their terrible driving enough times.

Anyway, Mr. Vesuvius is a serial killer if you ask God. Sometimes, other people answer for God, and that’s a good majority of most of my frustration while shopping. Today, though? Today, God says, “We’re going to Sam’s Club! We’ll look for your father’s pajamas while we’re there and we need avocados and blue corn tortilla chips. My princess deserves THE BEST!” (Okay, I added that last part myself, he didn’t call me his princess. He calls me his daughter, okay?)

So I’m in Sam’s Club and I’m perusing the clothing, noting the prices of brand new things, typically 9.99 to 19.99, generally speaking. This seems to be the lowest price you’ll pay for something brand new that never makes it to clearance. I’m only looking at the men’s wear, specifically the pants, for something soft and nice. Nothing. God then leads me to another table I wasn’t even bent on passing at all and suddenly a wild velvet hooded sweatshirt landed in my cart in my favorite color. (Well, that’s after I petted it and went WHOA and picked it up and put it there.)

It’s as soft as my support cat, yo!!!!! She’s the softest thing I’ve ever touched. Now I have a grey velvet blanket that’s queen sized and a velvet hooded sweatshirt that I will know are kitty soft. It’ll help me remember her better once she passes on. In fact, I was looking up weird crap people do when their animals die. There’s a lot! You can get a stuffed animal made to look just like them, basically. Sculptures, ornaments for the tree, et cetera. I was thinking about painting them in a heap, all four of them, some day.

Anyway, after that, because God says to me, “Happy birthday!” the boys started going wild. That’s right. I have Ben Vesuvius in my head still and I want to stab him about 33 times. [Cell Block Tango] Ben did this bull shit thing where I’d peruse and browse a while, pick out exactly what I wanted. He’d show me dozens of things he liked, over and over, until I wanted those, too. Then, he’d try to get me to give up the things I thought were the epitome of me. Real slick like, too. I was sick and didn’t even see it happening. God’s showing me all over again in the real. I have to fight the asshole I broke up with years ago, trying to find my real self somewhere in all this yet again. I remember one time he even picked up some yellow ballgown for me to try on, which I only liked because it reminded me of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. I tried it on, but it was very not me.

I shouldn’t have even tried it on, honestly. What’s wrong with me being me?

Everything, if you ask Mr. Vesuvius. He wanted a fuck doll to dress up however he please, treat like an object, and do shit like walk the opposite direction of something I said I needed so he could look at something childish, frivolous, and useless and show me how amused he was with toys he would never buy. Today, it was new boots. I was walking to them, perusing along the way, and found myself staring at children’s shoes. I was doing yoga as I went, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but I’m not interested in children. There are no children in my life anymore, but when my nieces were young, I didn’t even peruse the children’s sections then! I thought of who they were, what colors they liked, what their favorite things were, then I tried to find the perfect gift that hit as many boxes as I could to show them I saw them. I noticed them. I was paying attention to them as they chose to express themselves. I found myself doing an about-face to stare at junk I’d never even dream of staring at, which is probably some psychic attack to make men think I have children, to boot. FUCK YOU, VESUVIUS, YOU BASTARD! (Also fuck the whole world, I just don’t care anymore what anyone thinks of me.)

My absolute favorite way to give gifts, though, is to listen to people talk casually throughout the year and take note of what they mention. Once in a while, a product pops up that people talk about but never actually buy for themselves. Like a spoon rest. It’s the kind of gift people use weekly, if not daily, especially if they cook for themselves instead of making everything in the microwave. And, I took into account their tastes in the kitchen and dining room and I extrapolated and bought them a spoon rest that kind of matched their marble table. (Genius, right?) INSTANT LOVE. That’s what that gets you.

But the gift recipient? They’d forgotten they’d mentioned that spoon rest in January, so it’s an utter surprise. It’s something that you absolutely fucking know they want, if not need. If more people did this, I bet we’d have happier birthdays and Christmases. (P.S. Can y’all do something about this?)

I’ve done this to people all my life. It’s often a budget item, too. It doesn’t usually cost more than $20.00 even for the highest quality version I can find. All I have to do is listen to people and take note and, of course, browse stores going through every aisle once in a while. Lots of us do that anyway because we have no idea what we’re looking for anyway. A good time to do it is the end of the month, when things go on clearance, too. Plus, if you’re crazy and need more than one gift idea for a person, you can easily buy four or five gifts that hit just under $100.00 and wham, Christmas on a budget. (Or $50.00 if you are diligent about it.)

It all depends on how many people you have to shop for.

As for children, I feel like we give them more of what they want and less of what they need. I love giving practical gifts. By the time I moved away from the Lou, my bestie had stuff I’d given him (and his wife) all over his house. Even though we weren’t seeing eye to eye, I knew he loved me because my gifts were displayed. He kept his house very clean and clear of clutter and there I was on that wall, this stand, the middle of the stove top (that spoon rest.) Don’t you want to see that, too?

I miss my friends and I cherish the times we did have together. Mr. Vesuvius took them away from me. It was all about control, in the end. He cut me off from every friend I had that wasn’t middle class (or appeared middle class) and dictated when I could see my friends, ultimately. It started off small, of course. It started off almost innocent. A tiny baby step here to eroding her ego and her superego, a tiny baby step there to rape her again and again and again until she died.

I died. I can’t remember who I used to be, really. All my memories kind of went down the crapper in one fell swoop when I hit my lowest point in malnutrition and starvation. (It wasn’t even intentional, honestly.) My brain was gone. Everything that made me confident in myself had faded away to nothingness and I didn’t even notice until Dr. IMAET machine told me what was going on.

Have you died, too?

I’m pretty sure the zombie apocalypse is already here.

Our bodies keep moving, but our brains are on autopilot and we are not serving ourselves wisely, let alone the greater good.

We’re sick, that’s why.

And nobody is going to help you get better. They’re going to diagnose your symptoms and give you a work-around instead of curing you. [Here’s your motherfucking disclaimer: I AM NOT AND NEVER WILL BE A MOTHERFUCKING DOCTOR. A QUACK WHO WILL TELL YOU “DO NO HARM” WHILE MURDERING YOU.] Oh, but that’s so unfair, Sansara, it’s not every doctor!

Fuck. You.

Just go fuck yourselves. All of you in the medical profession that prescribe drug after drug, surgery after surgery, instead of telling people to stop eating fucking ice cream and cake. Fuck you! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! GO FUCK YOURSELF!

I’m angry, obviously.

We have to give up dairy, wheat, and sugar, y’all. It’s just how it be. I’m not telling you again. This is the last time. You’re killing yourself and it’s no longer my responsibility. I’m trying to be your savior and you are turning on your earbuds and listening to something vile to push it out of your head this very instant, aren’t you? I expected as much. It’s cool, you’ll make more room for all the aminals on Urth. I like them better than human beings anyway.

Anyway, once I bought myself that beautiful sweatshirt, the boys went crazy in my head. God knows exactly what I go gaga for and where it is and how to find it. I even found Lowe’s once without GPS on his word alone. I had recently moved and had no idea where to go and God told me, “Just let me drive, pumpkin.” Well, okay, God, but you don’t like the speed limit as much as I do.

After Sam’s, I went to Wegmans again. I got an eyeful of Mr. Eye Candy and even pretended to care about vegetable egg rolls and their ingredients just to look at him a few extra moments surreptitiously. God insists he is interested in talking to me, but I have no idea. Nobody talks to me. But they absolutely talk about me. I stand out. I don’t try to hide myself in a sea of people. I am a Misfit and I even used markers to make my Barbies look more like The Misfits from Jem and the Holograms when I was a kid, too. (I hate that they misspelled Jem, by the way. It’s stupid. It’s also not a great message to kids, semi-useless cartoon creators.)

I had legitimate business in Wegmans and I have to go back because I forgot to buy water. My stupid town dumped fluoride in the water supply and hasn’t gotten a reverse osmosis purification system to fix it yet. I bought avocados at Sam’s but none of them were ripe enough to eat, so I acquired an avo at Wegmans, too. I also needed another sack of apples if I’m going to keep feeding my ant colony I named George. I give them my apple cores. And the plum I dropped on the floor — boy are they loving that animal sacrifice.

Anyway, I discovered in Wegmans today that a bunch of people fucking follow me around the store. I don’t know why they’d do this, but I know it’s me, and some of them are employees. I spent something like ten minutes doing yoga in the coffee aisle today (I’m not dressed in yoga attire, either, so I’m not showing anything off, especially in my cape-like coat. You can get your own right here.) This thing is SO COMFY. And, it’s from when I was larger, so it’s super easy to put one a fleece underneath or other sweatshirt or something and layer up! The sleeves are fairy style, so ultra cute. Not to mention, I just washed mine in the laundry. The only complaint I have to mention is the inside button wasn’t sewn on very securely. I haven’t put it back on yet, but I will when I find it again. It’s a bit lost in my stuff because I haven’t been well enough to organize my home to a T.

I went to another store that was full of Christmas stuff, thinking they’d have pajamas again this year like they did last year. No dice. Either that or they sold out quicker. My quest was born from the fact that I’d bought my dad his very first pair of pajamas last year and he was looking for his pajama pants because they’d fit nicely over the device he’s got to use to suck away seepage from his latest surgery wound. I looked in his clothes for them and couldn’t find them, so I thought I’d go buy more. You can never have enough pajamas, in my opinion. They’re so SOFT! They’re loose-fitting, which is why he wanted them… his surgery site in on his shin bone. No dice, though… and then I had to go stand at the IN door to wait for someone to come in if I didn’t want to burst through ten people standing in line to check out. I swear this is a fire hazard. Do you hear me, you stores that corral humans in so they can’t leave if they didn’t find what they’re looking for? Maybe God will set fire to your store to learn you a very big lesson in fire safety.

I was a bit bummed, but then I realized a Ross Dress for Less was in the same plaza. Now, I didn’t realize that they focused solely on women’s clothing. I could have sworn there were other things, but outside of children’s crap, nope. Nothing for men. I think this is a tad unfair because even Goodwill has a scarcity of men’s anything. Is it because they wear it until it disintegrates? Probably… anyway, I found some ladies’ clothes that will fit the bill, but now I’m starting to think Mr. Vesuvius was playing a part in that, too. I found a pair of shorts on clearance, also, and my dad (who never wore shorts before in my life) said they would do the trick after I saw him running around in shorts the other day.

He was a welder, so he had to have long sleeves and long pants always in order to protect his skin from flying embers/sparks.

Anyway, I thought about going to WalMart, but I also happen to know I hate WalMart. I might still go… I thought about going to Penny’s, too, but what are the odds of anyone else having clearance on shorts right now? I’m not paying full price for anything unless I’m in absolute love with it. Besides, the old man doesn’t care what he’s wearing as long as it fits. His idea of dress clothes is a nice long sleeved cardinal red flannel and his best blue jeans.

Which brings me around to the next point: I try to find clothes that intersect on beauty, softness, and utility. This should mean I’m a picky brat, only buying one or two things here or there. However, thanks to all the people in my head, I’m not a very picky brat anymore. I compromise on color most often. I should just continue to be picky and buy the colors I love, which are pink, lavender, purple, black, and (pink) magenta. Mauve and similar ‘dilute’ colors do not truly please me. I want in-your-face COLOR! In fact, I’m about to go dye my hair purple because I’m tired of being blonde.

Still, I came home with about $100.00 of stuff for me. I don’t normally buy anything, but I’m still displeased to have spent money. I should be spending money on something to store my existing clothes in or on so I can find them all at any time before I even bother to get more. I am going to cull a bunch of stuff that’s simply not soft enough for me very soon, so I’m not going to beat myself up over what I do have. I love Torrid’s “Super Soft” collection. It’s almost as soft as my cat, whom I shall refer to as Princess Peach presently.

I believe in organization. It allows me to invest in sturdier, heavier duty items for a bit higher cost, but I get to keep them like-new for ages with proper care. It’s one thing I learned as a pauper: take care of thy shit, girl, or you don’t get to have more because you are poor.

Mr. Vesuvius is part of the “everything’s expendable” crowd, sadly, and nearly brainwashed me to be just like him. This world is not expendable, people. Everything that we throw away, aside from food waste and paper products, never biodegrades. What do you think life is going to be like in 100 years for the rest of the planet if we keep throwing away all this plastic trash? If we keep making stuff with the intent of having it break so people have to replace it so companies can make stupid amounts of profit off the “dumb sheep” they’re exploiting with carefully crafted fully psychologically armed advertisements that make you want whatever shit show they designed?

And finally, ladies, do you go into a store and forget the very thing you went in there for? Do you walk the whole thing, watching yourself peruse aisle after aisle, hemming and hawing and talking yourselves out of whatever it is you picked up that you love?

Those are your ex-lovers, psychically attacking you. They’re trying to force you to be who they think you should be, not who you actually are. So spend some time this holiday season soul-searching. Put the credit cards down for a while and buy only what you actually need, not that paw-print oversized stocking (unless it’s a reminder of a dearly beloved pet that’s departed you, which is why I bought mine) or that piece of decor you literally have no counter space to display or a distinct lack of table space for display. Stop buying cheap shit that only lasts one season. Buy things you’re going to love forever and watch your bank account fill itself paycheck after paycheck because you are no longer replacing everything. And, for crying out loud, organize yourselves! Make it easy to find exactly what you want everywhere in your house!

Here are some ways I do it, in hopes it inspires you:

  1. Earring trees.
  2. Necklace trees. (Better still if you can combine with the earring tree.)
  3. A nice little tray for bracelets and bangles.
  4. Make sure all those things fit on top of your dresser because that’s what you get dressed out of, usually!
  5. Get flat hangers that have the velvet feel. Very rarely does anything slip off these things and they let you fit more into your closet! 😉
  6. Think about storing heavy clothing items in summer. Think about storing light clothing items in winter.
  7. Arrange your clothes in your closet by what layer they are. Tank tops and sleeveless things in one spot, then your short sleeve shirts, then your long sleeves, then your warmest things. This makes it really easy to get what you need based on the weather for the day. I put all the dresses together in the back of the closet because of how long they are.
  8. Get a shoe rack and line your shoes up really neatly underneath your clothing. Make sure this is as far away from the dresses as possible so you’re not getting the long cloth to drag over the shoes. You can use the cardboard boxes they come in, but those can attract bugs. Personally, I find this an extra irritation because I use my eyes to combine items visually to create my outfit of the day.
  9. In that dresser, put your socks, folded in pairs (not stuffed into one another… watch Marie Kondo for more info on this) into a basket or box lid. Stack your bras if you don’t have them and put them in another box lid. If you don’t have room on top of your dresser, your bangles box lid can go in here, too, and so can earrings if you don’t have a ton of them. Put all your bottoms in the dresser if you don’t have space to hang them.
  10. Stop buying statement outfit everything. This one is a hard one, I know. Decide what color you like having on your legs. Get 7 pairs of that color in whatever style you utilize for work. Get 7 pairs of work pants, i.e. stuff you do the cleaning in and it doesn’t matter if you spill the bleach water all over it. Get lots of “staples” in 3-5 colors and then mix and match.
  11. Do your fucking laundry every time the hamper is full. This will save you from wanting to buy too many redundant pieces of clothing.
  12. Buy 60 pairs of socks all in the same brand and color and length (unless you like multiple lengths, like I do.) This means no more time spent matching socks, by the way.
  13. Get a book shelf to put all your most sentimental items on and place it somewhere you will see it often and enjoy those items. When you are tired of one item, retire it, give it away, or box it up for later and put something else there.
  14. Put a small bowl or tray in every room near every exit. I call these “catch all” trays. You drop things into them that aren’t put away and then spend about 10 minutes a day putting everything where it belongs from each tray. No more remembering what to put away, no more cluttering up important spaces.
  15. Have a designated space for taking off your shoes/storing your coats. Have extra space for guests if you like people. I don’t, anymore, but I suppose y’all might.
  16. Have a place to put your fucking purse(s), already. If it’s always in one spot (like a shelf in the closet), you’ll never lose it.
  17. Put makeup into organization stuff on your dresser. Put a full-length mirror on the back of your bedroom door. Stop taking up community space in the fucking bathroom, you witch.
  18. Get a three tier tension rod shelf for the shower. USE ONLY ONE SHELF. Unless you live alone… then use them all, what do I care?
  19. Use baskets in the hall closet when you store anything not linens. That way you can pull the whole basket down to look inside, especially from higher shelves, instead of endlessly pushing aside items to look for what you need and causing chaotic disarray because you’re being lazy or you didn’t plan for things to take time.
  20. Use baskets to sort things under the sink for the same reason. It’s not like you’re going to put a light under there. (But you could do that, too.)
  21. Anywhere you are storing things out in the open, try to use opaque solid colors to keep it from being exceedingly exciting to the casual eye… we overstimulate ourselves with clutter all the time. Even though it’s really cute that little tray is pink with all the unicorns all over it, from a distance, it’s just visually noisy. Put it inside something that’s just pink already. 🙂 You’ll see it when you pull out the basket or box or box lid, don’t worry.
  22. Keep counters and surfaces devoid of clutter. Put things in boxes and put them where they are out of the way for the stuff you rarely use. For example, if you have six crock pots for that chili cook off every year, put five in the fucking garage, asshole. Nobody needs to dance around all that all year.
  23. Put stuff away when it’s not in use. This is one way to love your item and yourself. By clearing the counters and table all the time, you are showing yourself that you matter. You are visually de-cluttering, which has another awesome side-effect: you never lose your fucking keys, phone, or belt buckle. That’s the magic of organization, my bean.
  24. Use 1 hour a day to wipe down surfaces and declutter (that includes that 10 minutes putting stuff away from catch-alls.) It doesn’t have to be all at once and, if you finish early, you get time back! HUZZAH!
  25. Do one extra chore every day until your house is fully organized, as you feel up to it. Perhaps it is deep clean the bathroom or it’s putting together a desk or a hutch or refinishing a side table or reupholstering a chair. Perhaps it’s just putting the Thanksgiving stuff away and pulling out the Christmas stuff. Or if your sink is perpetually stacked with dishes, you can work on getting to the bottom of things. (^-~;;)
  26. Get jars or other vertical objects to hold things like a pair of scissors and a pen or pencil. Place in every room where you write things down or need scissors. (That’s every room, for us. Literally every single room. We re-use jelly and jam jars. You can go so far as to search YouTube on ways to decorate them if you need to, but we’re a fan of naked glass so we can see when it’s dirty and wash it.)

That’s enough to get you started, I reckon.

After making that list, I started cleaning like a fiend, wouldn’t you know? Unfortunately, that meant more of a shoving-stuff-in-an-unused-room-because-I’m-way-too-sick-to-sort-it-this-moment. I’d probably have more steam if I could stop eating things I’m allergic to. It’s all accidental, I assure you, but it’s depleting me of all my energy to do things. It’s been a real struggle lately and it really shouldn’t be, should it? Eating is supposed to be second nature. Natural. Something we do by default. And yet, day in and day out, I have to go above and beyond just to make sure I’m getting adequate nutrition. Thank the Gods for multivitamins! I’m sad that I need them. I hope one day that I just eat the right things.

I think God is doing this to me on purpose… I happen to know God can feed me well and I lose weight and everything (heck, I can lose 10 pounds in a day without starving myself one bit with His help), but he doesn’t. It’s like there’s an agenda He has. I have no idea what that agenda is, but I do know I’m meant to be in a chrysalis like a butterfly, waiting to emerge. I’ve felt like this many times in my life, so that’s nothing new to me… what is new to me is that it has a purpose. I’m like a piece on a chess board except I’m blindfolded and have no idea who God is playing against.

I hope we win.

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