I am not ditzy. Really! I have a boring but serious job that I’ve had for nearly two years now. I don’t drink too much, I don’t spend nights crying into my pillow when the boys I like don’t like me back, and I’m not really into partying (mostly because of the aforementioned non-drinking). I pretty much have my shit together.
But despite having my shit together, whenever I am anywhere near anything that sells anything, you probably couldn’t tell that I had my shit together at all. In fact, I actually lose my shit – my heart starts to race, my palms start to sweat, and I’m filled with an uncontrollable desire to take everything I have ever earned, hand it over to the storekeeper and buy everything they have. Even in this altered state of sensibility, I can appreciate the absurdity of wanting to buy eight different kitchen appliances, but somehow, I can’t stop myself.
When I was young and on an allowance, there was no choice but to bury this overwhelming material lust. That didn’t make it easier, it just made it possible. Now that I hold the purse strings – and by that I mean debit card – I can only rely on self-control. The only problem: I have not an ounce of the stuff.
Sometimes I manage. I drag myself out of a store vowing to not buy the totally overpriced thing “I just have to have.” At that final moment, when I’m turning away from the store, I even feel proud that I’m walking out empty-handed. It takes me about two days of not being able to sleep or eat or think about anything else to go back in and buy it anyway.
Everything in my life is a testament to this addiction. My bank account for starters. Drawers filled with things I don’t use. From sunscreens to night creams; leave-in conditioners to hair sprays and serums, I have it all – and in two’s and three’s no less. Cupboards full of clothes I’ve never worn and jackets and belts that will never see the light of day. I even subscribe to three more newspapers than I actually read.
Each season brings a new reason to shop. At the first sign of rain, I buy rain shoes, an umbrella and a raincoat. A week later, my idea of monsoon fashion is diametrically opposite to the one I had before, and it only takes one more week for me to buy new rain shoes, a new umbrella and a new raincoat.
To add to my ever growing guilt, there are also all the questions I have to answer. Justification comes swiftly – it just never makes any sense.
“Yes, I really needed all these random gadgets for my kitchen and dining room.”
“I know it’s white but it’s totally different from all the other white shirts I have.”
“Yes, they have sales at the drug store, too.”
It’s not the best or worst of the “–holisms” to have, and certainly, not the hardest to recover from. Even so, there’s something to be said about addiction. It distracts you from all the other things that are wrong with your life. It’s like a pillow to lay your head on and fall asleep when your life is exhausting. And if what you get out of it is shiny new things and not liver cirrhosis, it can’t be that bad, can it?