Shopping: The most subversive therapy.


One of my many problems is that I never relax. Like, it makes me nervous, and I’m not very good at it. But Sunday mornings, for some reason, provide a solace that I’ve not found through any other means. You know what I’m talking about, ladies. I’m talking about Target.

I roll up in the early morning sun, just minutes after the doors have opened, and join the line of townies at the understaffed Starbucks. It’s always the same group of not-that-old dudes talking about whatever sport is happening. Or politics. There’s a lot of politics, too.

Dark roast in one hand and ergonomic basket in the other, I weave my way through the women’s ย section, looking for good sales and touching all the sweaters, before losing myself wholly in Clearance. This could take awhile.

For a long ย time, I wore exclusively Target black tank tops and Target black long-sleeves. When I was in North Dakota, I would continually replenish my wardrobe with such staples – pair after pair of Target knee-length black socks. So, you see, it’s more than just shopping. It’s nostalgia. It’s a uniform. It’s love.

After Ladies’ Clearance has been scoured, I usually make my way through the intimates section. Mostly looking for different colored tights, if you must know, but I’ve been known to eye a kimono robe or two. After that, I’m off to bedding, bath, lamps, and candles, the last of which are never – EVER – on clearance even though I so wish they would be. And I’m always in the market for a wicked cheap lamp.

You can tell by the way I’m writing that I’m kind of working myself into a froth, can’t you? You can feel the madness sinking in? I mean, remember, it’s only probably 8:35am by now, and we’ve already sucked down most – oops – ALL of this coffee – and our basket is suddenly full of all sorts of Things! Towels on Sale and 3-dimensional “thank you” cards (only $2/pkg!) and OMGZ all teh pretty tights and Wait:








Is a black girl in a white, white world.


It’s cold in Massachusetts right now. Not North Dakota cold, but pretty cold, nevertheless. And, as I’ve mentioned, my old winter coat is no longer a viable option. Not only am I too big for it, it’s also ripped at the zipper and been sent back to North Face for repair. A normal person might just tell me to buy a new coat and soldier on, but that normal person might not know how broke I am / how much I love my North Face. It might not be surprising, then, that I’ve managed the winter thus far with just a fleece jacket, the one with the cigarette burn in the left arm that vents like an ice luge right up my sleeve. I’m nothing if not determined.

It was ten degrees when I pulled up to my parents’ house this past Sunday, clad in an equally inappropriate winter garment and with wet hair to boot. My mom, being a mom, kind of freaked out. Midway through our visit, she disappeared into the basement and returned, some fifteen minutes later, the proud bearer of a lightly-used (by her), puffy, white coat.

White. WHITE!

w h i t e

There are seven hundred and fifteen pictures of me on Facebook, and the only ones where I’m wearing white were taken on my wedding day. Other than that, in twenty-something years of dressing myself, I’ve never voluntarily worn white. I’m really more of a black girl: black tank tops, black socks, and, yes, black underwear. I bought a tan sweatshirt a couple months ago. That was branching out. So the idea of wearing white ANYTHING, much less a GIGANTIC WHITE COAT, is just about as appealing as sporting my skin inside-out.

That said, it’sย really been pretty cold here. So I took it.

Seriously, I feel like a cross between the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Pippi Longstocking. It’s like having some other person’s body, or trying to cook in somebody else’s kitchen. I mean, God, I love my mom, but this coat is like the worst thing I’ve ever worn in my life. North Face! Hurry back with my jacket! I promise to be slim enough to wear it when it comes!!

I guess it’s kind of obligatory to make a show of goal-setting.


Another day in the bell jar, despite things generally being A-OK. We’re a little behind on our bills because of that oil heat thing, but that’s not so dire, and my boss comes home on Monday, so this is technically my last leisure day for some time. But I don’t think either of those things are really what’s stressing me out. What worries me, truly, is that this feeling seems to be taking root. It’s the patina of panic that shimmers on everything, the veil of spun lead that rests on my heart. Unshakable, also, because it’s got you at your core. It’s somewhere deep inside, past where your good intentions can reach.

I’m going to this party tonight, which in reality will be pretty awesome but to me will probably seem just OK, just like seeing Phish on Monday seemed just OK despite my best efforts to thoroughly enjoy. It’s insidious – this thick ache, this numbed brain, the pull of gravity on your soul. What’s it been, three days? Four? Fifteen? It’s so hard to tell, from the bottom.

I joined a gym yesterday in an effort to take a healthy step towards weight loss, which, I think, will help my self esteem as well as my depression. Every day starts with getting dressed, and the act of getting dressed can’t continue to be my breaking point. So there’s my resolution. At some point, in 2011, I will put on my jeans without crying.

In case you were wondering,


My dress pants fit still. I mean, they BARELY still fit. So I can squish into those and then wear a blossomy top and my long freshwater pearl necklace and boots and I’ll look quasi-bohemian office casual. Which works out just fine for me.

Thanks for the comments and emails. They made me smile.

My Roving Obsessions


So I have this new favorite website,, in case anybody hasn’t noticed. I mean, I’ve been talking to my mom, my sisters, and people at Whole Foods about Etsy – I think I started burbling to the (male) cashier at 7-eleven the other day before I realized where I was and stopped myself.

Sometimes Etsy is like freaking paradise, OK? It’s like, oh, I want a set of tiki coasters that kind of remind me of high school. And bam. Fifteen dollars later and two weeks later, I’ll have the most awesome quasi-reminiscent private joke tiki coasters on the North Shore.

Sometimes you find perfect gifts for everybody you know, and life is so beautiful, and they just raised your credit limit. And sometimes you find this black rayon jumpsuit that you never knew you needed but you know you’ll never want to live without. It’s being shipped to me right now from Thailand. Yes, it is.

But seriously? Sometimes? I look at this stuff and I’m like, you know, I have this plastic bin over in the corner that could probably be vintage, and I have these super-old hamburger shaping tupperware things from my grandma. I have a chewed-up Barbie knockoff from 1962. Why don’t I go and open my own Etsy store?, sometimes you are sublime. And sometimes you are the biggest, shittiest thrift store ever.

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