Monday, January 16, 2012
20 Super Amazing Shoes!
That's one of the cover stories in this month's InStyle magazine--but you already knew that, didn't you?
Six years ago, I would have been all over that headline. What's the latest? I would have feverishly noted: platform, kitten heel, slouchy boot? And I would have hot-footed (sorry) it to the mall to purchase one pair of each. At least.
For roughly 48 years, I had a take-it-or leave it approach to shopping. I never "got" it--the thrill of the hunt, the fun of browsing the racks of Bloomingdales AND Gap AND Ann Taylor, the satisfaction of heading to the parking lot after a big haul, laden with 60% markdown booty. Oh, I'd do my due diligence when gifts needed to be purchased, or when my 15-year-old winter coat finally fell apart. But my heart was never in it. Bargain-seeking was something I endured, not enjoyed.
When I became suddenly riveted by glossy fashion magazines, when the ka-ching of the opening cash register sent my pulse pounding and I planned my week around Macy's One Day Sale--well, I should have known something was wrong. I had, for years, owned three pairs of shoes--sneakers, one pair of heels, flip-flops--and felt my tootsies were set for all contingencies. Now, I had to go out and buy a bi-level shoe rack to accommodate the branch of DSW that had recently opened in my closet.
When does a passion for shopping become a pathology?
When it's new. When it flies in the face of everything you thought you were.
I remember exactly when I looked up "bipolar" online, and realized, with sinking heart, that "bipolar" was me. Chapter and verse. Every single symptom. Me. I'd been feeling for months like my moods were a runaway freight train: sobs and wild laughter rapidly alternating. At first, I chalked it up to early menopause, but in truth it ran so much deeper than hot flashes, that I knew. I knew.
So it was off to the shrink for talk therapy and oceans of meds. The first months were pretty horrific. Lithium is basically a salt pill. I'd line up water bottles on my bedside table to down throughout the night--and still I thirsted. Seroquel made me do some scary things (have you ever tried to drink a lit candle? Under the influence of Seroquel, I tried). Finally, I found the psychiatrist with the prescription savvy I'd needed so badly. For the past five years, he has been my lifeline, and I have achieved a new normal. Sick, but getting ever better.
Where does all of this leave the Compulsive Shopper? Mall-shy, basically. I treat the latest ULTA circular as porn, and pitch it quickly. I'm back to enduring, not enjoying, the grocery store. I can walk boldly by the Hallmark shop without buying them out of birthday greetings. And yet…
And yet. 20 super amazing shoes! beckon, a siren song covered in red leather.