Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Maybe I’ll Learn to Sew and Other Thoughts on Shopping

January 8, 2012

Today I had to do the dreaded “I need work clothes” shopping trip.  Somethings (root canals, paying bills, dealing with faux-drama) all rate ahead of shopping.  In what can only be described as a twisted sense karma, I can actually shop *for* other people.  I can whip together new wardrobes, provide selections to try on and do all the things somebody who has as, her default position, based in retail.  When it comes to me? Sigh.

Body image 101.  I’m pretty sure this impacts most women people at some level.  Today, I had a fairly normal first stop: I went to the Nordstrom Rack to use some Nordstrom Notes and hit their end of season clearance sale (pics on the hit or misses tomorrow).  Suffice to say, that for the price of one dress, I managed to get a ton of stuff for the nieces and nephews, a dress, 2 sweaters and a shirt.  Not bad.  The warning bell in my head (the one I rarely listen to but really need to!) said “go home, reconfigure your closet and come back again.” Sigh.

I headed over to Central/Davis Square area and a few resale shops including a pretty fairly rated Goodwill in Central Square.  Never again.  And by “never again”, I mean I won’t step foot into the Central Square Goodwill.  I walked in my typical Saturday garb: College logo sweatshirt, hair in pony tail, jeans, Dankso’s.  Not exactly sexy, but I’m doing errands.  I started flipping through the racks and an employee came up to me and very gently said “Honey, we don’t carry your size here.”

I was appalled.  No, I was humiliated.  Look, I’m not a size 10 or 12.  I float between an 18 and 20 which is WAY down from my college weight.  I float between an XL, 1X and 2X depending on the cut and make (hello, most people float between 2-3 sizes).  Now, in my stellar running amuck garb and my hair up, I do look heavier.  I stammered something out about ok, thanks and dashed off a text to some friends who know my disdain of shopping.  I found myself shaking: some random woman had managed to say something that left me feeling worse than dirt.  All I wanted was some stupid layering items, or something fun.  I wanted to try to do something to augment the insane amount of clothing that is purchased new, made in places like China.  Hell, I just wanted to trawl through the racks and see if I could find something fun or funny.  In short, I just wanted to enjoy my day.  And it ended with “honey, we don’t carry your size” and some random stranger walking away.  The irony, is, of course that I did find some things in my size but at that point was shaking and near tears.  I simply walked out.

After wandering around a bit, I went to the store in Davis Square. Ok, it was meh.  They had “helpfully” put the larger sizes in its own section.  But I realized how much I just didn’t care.  I was over clothes shopping.  There was one last hope: Buffalo Exchange.  I didn’t realize it was a chain (I walked by it on my way to Goodwill).  Sigh. I got the eye rolls when I walked in: ok, at this point, I was thinking costume jewelry, cheap ass sunglasses and maybe a purse.  Not only did I laugh at their prices (seriously, you could do better at lower end retail stores), I was off put by their attitude: especially when I left and heard two employees say “I knew she wouldn’t buy anything here”.  Wow.

Look, I know I need to lose weight.  I also know that I’m not going to do it on the diet du jour.  I also have the lovely additional problem of 2 artificial hips that have had about 26 surgeries between them.  It’s not a matter of just “hitting the gym”: it’s a matter of finding the right balance.  Oh, and yeah, losing the $580/month bill for my health insurance so I can afford to buy a gym membership at a place with a pool.  I wanted to scream that at all the ultra judgemental looks, people and asshats.  A few of them, I want them to just stand on their feet for 9 hours and feel the throbbing pummeling pain that destroys my body when I do that.

Actually, you know what I wish? I wish people would just mind their own effing business.  I went into a retail store (which, unless my basic grasp of economics is off, sales brings on profits which, in turn, determines staffing needs which, work with me, helps people in retail keep jobs) and was treated like dirt.  Next time, I’ll just hit up eBay.  At least there, I can’t hear or see the judgements.

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Fat Tuesday and a few more thoughts on Lent

March 8, 2011

Yes, many protestant traditions have a stronger historical tie to Lent (namely the Lutheran and Anglican/Episcopalian) based on their respective separations from the Roman Catholic church.  Fat Tuesday, the “last” day before Lent for me, has always been some what of an oddity: Hi, gorge yourself before “giving” up something most people will resume.  Like many Christian traditions, Fat Tuesday has origins in older Pagan traditions.  As the Holy Roman Empire conquered/required the adaptation of Christianity, one could say it was done in a maverick way: keep the celebrations, change the name.  An early faster gave up butter, milk, eggs and retained fish as the source of proteins.

As Lent has become more and more common place, there seems to be an emphasis on “giving something up”.  The idea (simplistically) is to replicate the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert facing temptation and the idea to understand the sacrifice of the crucifixion. I might have a simplistic view but giving up refined sugar, alcohol, chocolate, tv do not come close to mimicking the sacrifice of death for another (if you choose to believe that narrative).  I can give up chocolate: don’t buy it.  I can give up television: don’t turn it on.  All of those material items come back.  Death is forever.

Part of my disappointment in the adoption of Lent in many Protestant traditions over the past 15 or so years is the lack of acknowledgement of the basic differences between Catholicism and Protestantism.  Look at the crosses in a Roman Catholic Church: Jesus is on the cross, a visible reminder of the suffering.  Look at the cross in Protestant Church: an empty cross, a visible reminder of the Resurrection.  The Protestant tradition is grounded in the belief of a risen Christ.  The Christology of the Cross and Lent demonstrate the disconnect and dangers of co-opting traditions without an understanding of the historical context in which the tradition was developed.

As a sometimes Protestant, sometimes agnostic, I dabble in adapting first order personal changes during Lent.  40 days is enough time to create a habit that works towards a beter society.  This year, the UCC has created a daily program called Carbon Fasting looking at reducing carbon emissions during the season.  It looks interesting, I am going to try it because it will force me to change some consumeristic habits.  Shopping local is another area I am going to strive at working towards.

For me, Lent cannot be about simply giving up an item: to me, this smacks of self-rightous acts of denial.  My Lenten traditions have to focus on creating a better space in the world. Somehow, I don’t think giving up beer or brownies qualfiies.