Shopping. I love clothes, but actual clothes shopping I could do without. Seriously, going into a shopping establishment feels like I’m entering a fun house. Like, there’s mirrors that play this funny trick of displaying a larger version of myself than I ever remembered seeing in my own mirror, which always makes me question my body perception and who the heck made my mirror of lies. Then, there are crowds of people that I try to avoid eye contact with, but inevitably there is a line of people that I can’t avoid and end up locking gazes awkwardly. And my favorite, the giant lights everywhere that make me seem sweaty all the time and turn my face whiter than toothpaste.
When I was little, I thought that it was actual shopping that I hated, but now I realize it’s the being around a ton of people and trying on clothes that are supposed to be my size and then finding out I really need to go two sizes larger that I really hate. I mean my brain will not allow me to actually put larger said clothes on my body—let alone justify buying them, because obviously I’m not going to be that size after my next “lifestyle reboot” that I’m starting immediately after this shopping extrava-hell-ganza…on Monday!
For the longest time, I thought that having heart palpitations and feeling like I was going to pass out was a “normal” part of the shopping experience, until I became a psych major and realized no hunny that’s called anxiety. Now, I know that when I go shopping I need to be prepared for said “fun”, but knowing and experiencing onset anxiety in front of large crowds is completely different. I guess I’m lucky that I have trained myself to internalize said anxiousness, so really all people may notice are my deer-in-the-headlight-eyes and really fast-paced walk. Oddly enough, my shopping complex subsides when I’m shopping for other people… It doesn’t make any sense.
Story time. I casually went shopping with my Mom for a new bra (since my current one was probing my armpit with a wire). So, I walked into the “intimates section”, which should actually be called the “inmates section” for me since my personal business has been locked up for years in celibacy, but that’s beside the point (I’m doing it for Jesus!). Really, I just needed a bra to wear on the day-to-day that didn’t fold over in the front from washing it too many times the wrong way.
I looked around and saw a sea of bras everywhere. Immediately, I was completely overwhelmed and wanted to leave, but my Mom (God bless her) braved this experience with me and told me to keep looking. Long story short I never got a new bra, because I couldn’t handle the stress of people staring at my bra choices and the fact that department stores just don’t know how to make a Demi-fit properly. Two mini panic attacks later, I left the bra section feeling defeated that my band size increased by two inches and my tatas had to tough it out another day in boob jail. Sigh.
Don’t even get me started on going into a dressing room. I don’t know who started the trend of girls/women going in a tiny dressing room together, but they clearly do not know me. I can’t stand changing in front of other people. I’ve always been super modest in that department (pun intended). For some reason though, people always want to come into the dressing room with me! Like NO! I don’t even want to see myself in there let alone you see me in there too. To me, dressing rooms are like a visual confessional. Everything that I successfully avoided about my body up until that point comes crashing in and I am forced to confront and share with a witness all of the sins I made against my temple… It makes me cringe. I always have a dang panic attack or depression spell in dressing rooms for one of four or all reasons combined:
- Confined spaces
- Looking at myself in previously mentioned fun house mirror
- Not being able to fit in 50% or more of the clothes I brought to try on
- Being sweaty because of the stupid florescent lights
It was definitely all four reasons. I left that (confessional) dressing room super depressed and stressed, because I was aware again of all the things I didn’t like about my body and how crappy I felt for avoiding it until now. UGH! I don’t want to hate shopping! I want to enjoy it, but i’ve found that the way I feel about my body at the time of shopping directly correlates with my shopping experience enjoyment or loathing. When I was in middle school and high school, I thought that I would grow out of this mindset, but here I am in my late twenties still playing the shame game and obsessing because I’m not a size two. I know this is #firstworldproblems, but there really is something about being aware of what you say to yourself in a dressing room. I didn’t like what I heard and I’m going to change that starting 5,4,3,2,1…
Please share your shopping stories with me. I know I’m not the only one out there <3.