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Piece 3, S/S 2023 Collection I'll detach from one of those please

I’ll take one of those please. I would say the number of times I have said that to a retail sales assistant in my life would be right up there with I’m hungry. Which is a lot. When the chips are down, some go to a therapist. I go to Westfields. In the furious frenetic hunt for the new shiny toy that will make a darker day, brighter, the healing begins. In the tapping of the EFTPOS card at the counter after making a hurried decision, the healing is nigh. In the moment the item is wrapped in delicate tissue paper, placed in a logo emblazoned bag and transferred to my needy hands, well, I am healed.

The efficacy of the retail high is not great though let’s face it. Correction, the moment of total emotional repair from that one single purchase is real. It’s the lasting nature of the remedy that is lacking. The healing is only ever temporary. And that is when the addiction to the shopping meds really kicks in. If I just buy more, this incredible ecstasy and liberation from my woes, or even just some freedom from bordeom, will catapult me back into feeling good. Until I feel bad again. As much as I hate to admit it, relying on the acquisition of material things is clearly not a lasting, long term treatment plan for those seeking fulfilment.

The reason I am contemplating this right now is because there was a very noticeable step change in my thinking lately about this little dependency of mine to retail highs. My thoughts on this topic were crystallised in a visit I made a couple of weeks ago to a YSL store in Brisbane in an effort to try to distract myself from the fear of MRI scans to investigate pains in my face that I was attending the next day. Rather than diving deep into the flurried fog of a maniacal moment of illusory retail remediation, I instead entered the store in a strangely hyper aware state.

At the store entry, a very handsome but serious man greeted me. It was heat wave level thirty three degrees outside but there he was, dressed in a full black-tie suit with an I-pad in one hand and his other hand not quite resting, but rather hovering indecisively, on the security rope that was blocking free entry into the store for just any old shopper. He doesn’t just release the rope willy nilly either this guy. Nope. First, he asks me my name. Then what I am here to look at. And he records that precious data on his tech pad. What’s that all about? Will he not let me in if I answer incorrectly? Jeez. All tres tres serious. But my name and the fact that I just want to have a ‘quick squiz’ seems to afford me entry. At this point, I am already feeling intimidated. But also secretly thrilled that I had made the cut, I entered.

Pretty proud of myself for overcoming my momentary confidence crisis, I flipped into YSL shopper mode. I realised quickly from a regrettable check in the endless mirror walls surrounding me that I was dressed in gym wear, makeup-less and straight from the plane. Whilst this is totally irrelevant information, for some reason I felt it necessary to voluntarily verbalise these facts to the strapping young retail assistant know just in case he thinks that this is how I would normally dress when in such a fine establishment. I notice my shoulders roll slightly back, my posture change and despite my previously ‘just passing by’ status, I start to seriously study the bags like they are works of art. I walk over to the other side of the room and look back over at the shelves as if to gain a vantage point that would allow me to truly appreciate their beauty. I even make pleasurable groaning sounds as I pass particularly pretty ones. Who am I right now?

There was not even a nano second to wonder whether someone could help me, such was the close proximity, at all times, of a model/sales assistant. I surrender and allow him to do his job. I get offered champagne. Its 11am. I get asked where I am from, how long I am in Brisbane, where am I staying, where I got my fabulous sneakers from. I am so deep in this moment, they have gone to so much trouble just for me to see a handbag, backing out is just not an option. I feel obligated to try a few on. Each bag is brought to me and opened, but carefully and whilst wearing gloves. If only they knew that if this bag left the store, there would be nothing a glove could do to protect the precious lambskin from the grease and grime that comes with mothering a 6-year-old. How am I going to elegantly let this enthusiastic passionate young man down? Despite being a totally independent alpha female, I mindlessly switch personalities and fabricate a need to go and call my hubbie about this critical decision ahead.

The scene was no doubt totally and utterly romantic. And let me tell you, I have fallen prey to this kind of enticement more times in my life than I care to disclose. But for some reason this particular experience caused me to wonder more about what makes it so thrilling, so alluring, so addictive. Relative to the fact that what was on sale was a mere vessel for my lipstick and phone, the whole rigmarole did seem a tad ludicrous. Please don’t get me wrong. I have been grappling with the question of how one can love, adore, admire and purchase material things and still maintain a modicum of spiritual sensibility for a little while now. Whether its fashion, art, furniture. You name it. I stand tall(ish) when I say I will always enjoy the feeling of finding it and making it mine (or for someone I love).

I like to think of myself as a giving person, a generous person and not at all about greed of any kind. But never have I ever, since starting to explore meditation and all of the knowledge and wisdom that explains its alchemising power, been more aware that all accumulation is nothing more than a temporary pleasure. If my happiness ever feels dependent on acquisition, of things, or the keeping of them in my possession, then I start to sound the internal SOS alarm. Nowadays, I ask myself, if this new thing was to evaporate into thin air tomorrow, how much would that rattle me? If the recording on my personal richter scale of that reaction is likely to be on the higher end, then I know I have not learned the lesson yet. Having things that I love, and have worked damn hard for, is not the problem. It’s the attachment to them that causes the suffering. Maybe next time, I’ll announce my purchase in a different way. I’ll detach from one of those please.

PS: If you liked this piece, please share it with others who it may look or feel good on and let them know how to subscribe to the collection.


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