No Shopping Experiment: Relapse? Cheat? or Brilliant Bybass?

I know, I know. It looks bad. I mean, not Nordstrom’s anniversary sale or Black Friday bad, or even big old random Thursday bad, but bad.

Here’s what happened. My husband took me out for Valentines Saturday night. After dinner, he said he had some shopping he needed to do for his Valentine and I was his captive and had to go with him. Now, clearly, I could have put my boot down, but, why would I? It was pretty brilliant. He doesn’t like going to the mall and can never find time away from work to do that kind of thing, I love it and my favorite gifts to receive are things to wear. I’d nearly emailed him links about four times last week as suggestions. I didn’t– because it seemed too close to shopping, me bossing someone into getting me stuff I wanted.

Last week, In an effort to shake my stubborn winter blues,  I took myself back to yoga. I have to be okay with that being cliche. Because the truth is, it helps the chronic pain in my pelvis and cracks open the dark, dreary sky.  Everyone knows as soon as you resume any sort of fitness routine you instantly double your personal laundry and create an underwear shortage. I had been complaining (I know, its hard to imagine) about said shortage and if there’s one thing men like to do its solve a solvable problem! That’s what’s in the pink polka dot bag in the picture: undies, from PINK.  Don’t worry! I am very clear on my place in PINK, which is essential nonexistent. I’m almost 40. I promise I didn’t buy a sequined hoodie.  I just really like their thongs.

After that quick store, husband said, “I really want something else, I’m not done shopping yet,” and that was so fun I led him immediately into White House Black Market, you’re  thinking I got those jeans. But wait! I’ve learned in the last month I have plenty of jeans. What I don’t have is an alternate pair of casual pants, for instance, some casual cargo skinny khakis.  He said he wanted at least one more thing, so we finished up our blitz tour at J. Crew with two cute tops. Phew. It all happened in under an hour because, man shopping. Total tab, not bad, none of which was obviously spent by me.

We walked toward the car holding hands, me swinging my rope handled bags in the other. I felt gotten. I also had a sinking feeling that I’d just screwed up my own challenge, and that made me feel kind of pathetic. I know exactly why he did it, and we are talking about a man’s motives, so no need to overthink it: he wanted to make me happy. And, he probably was hoping for some good sex. Check marks for both.

I’ve never been in a romantic relationship with a dramatic neurotic, (well, I was for like 6 months in college, but… don’t get me started) the point is, we are exhausting. Always wandering around in sweats–in my case– confiding in my husband that I know intellectually I wear a small size, but I feel so big and like I take up so much space in the world. Its not a case of “Do I look fat in these pants?” Its a deeper disconnect than that. And, that is crazy-making and exhausting for him.  I sleep 12 hours, because I feel so tired and achy all over, and my brain says, “If you’re going to sleep like this you may as well be drinking because you are acting like a hungover mom.” And I have to say, thanks for sharing brain, moving on. 

In my recent funk I’ve developed an affinity for a show called My 600 lb Life. (Just once I’d like to fall in love with a show that didn’t embarrass me when I got caught in the act of watching it.) “What am I watching?  Oh, just finishing up that  PBS special on Churchill, I was just going to pause it and grab some more lemon-cucumber water.” But nope, its me, in my dark room with Hoarders. Intervention, Judge Judy, Snapped, a nightstand full of diet root beer cans and at least three frozen treat sticks.

Each episode of My 600 Pound Life follows a morbidly obese individual for 12 months.  Said individual usually lives in the South and ventures to Houston (in the back of a van lying flat, or an ambulance) where Dr. Nowzardan– the only guy around who will operate on people of this size– requires them to lose some weight on their own before he’ll operate, and then usually performs a gastric bypass or sleeve. And always during the episode I think between deep pulls on my Popsicle, I wish I could get a gastric sleeve!

Inevitably, two months into their “journey” when they’ve lost 96 pounds– but are still 583 or whatever– they are seen eating pizza or fast food. And I don’t mean a slice of veggie or a junior burger for 300 calories. The person will say to the camera between bites, pickles sliding down onto the paper resting on their tummy in lieu of a plate, “Life is meant to be enjoyed. You can’t just eat chicken and veggies. There has to be balance.” Its so obvious to the viewer. We are like, “Anna Sue, you have ‘enjoyed and balanced’ yourself into a state of immobility and you literally can’t make it to the potty on your own! Sure there’s a time for balance. But you aren’t there yet sister. Maybe wait until you are under 250 lbs to start integrating junk food back into your diet, instead of on day 45.”

Because things like this are so easy to see in OTHER people. I tried to quit smoking 29 times give or take before I succeeded. Often, a week into my abstinence, I’d bum a cigarette from a friend, acquaintance, or homeless guy as an after dinner treat rationalizing that I’d just like to be able to enjoy a cigarette after a meal. I’d throw my hands up when I was back to buying a carton (because my mama raised me to be value-conscious!) within a few days.

So there I was, back at my old stomping ground about 30 days since my last trip to the mall. My brain wielding the defenses of Anna Sue from her hospital bed in the living room: Life is meant to be enjoyed. You just cant live like this. Its a gift. He wants to. Say Yes to the Undies!

There were oh so many things I wanted to try on and I didn’t. I didn’t want to take advantage or blow my whole No Shopping Challenge–however that would be defined. I grew up shopping with both my parents. A sick day home from school usually ended as a Nordstrom’s outing with my mama, and whenever my dad came to see me in college or post-graduation we went shopping and we lit his Amex up. Which is why when I say that shopping is my Love Language I’m really only kidding a little bit.

So for the holiday celebrating love, I was taken shopping.

What do you think? Relapse? Cheat? Or Brilliant Bypass? Oh, and recovery friends: Please do not suggest I restart my date. I really don’t think our friendship could survive that. 🙂


5 thoughts on “No Shopping Experiment: Relapse? Cheat? or Brilliant Bybass?”

  1. Relapse would have been sneakier, i.e. stealth purchasing, hiding the bags, denying that the undies are new when husband notices them on your cute tush. Cheat? Hard to say. Seems to me that this is where some of the rules get made in the process. What I can relate to is the gross feeling I have when someone wants to get me a present and they can’t possibly get the right thing because I have already purchased it in advance. Ugh. That leaves Brilliant Bypass. Husband feels good, you look sexy, and there was sex for V- day. Win, win, win!

  2. First off, I always hate when I get to the end of your post ❤️Secondly, thanks for inviting me to weigh in on your personal (albeit public) and honest challenge. Thirdly, Don’t shoot the commentator 😁 Lastly, my comment:

    What’s the difference? Aren’t all three different notions of the same thing? You fed the beast, scratched the itch. Calling it a Valentine’s gifting lets you feel good about it; calling it a relapse makes you feel bad about it; but the It is the same. Whether or not it fits an exception to the experiment, it still did its job to give you the high, no? So then the question becomes, did scratching it give you a renewed sense of determination and excitement about continuing your abstinence? Or did it make the obsessive distraction stronger? I would think the relapses/bypasses that ultimately help you to realistically achieve your long term goals, are the good kind. Sometimes a step back is a good thing. Labeling it is irrelevant, how you use it is everything. It’s the next step that matters.

    Can’t wait for the next post!!!! (Speaking of addicts 😘)

  3. I think it was a brilliant bypass. The main purpose of going to the mall was to make your man happy, right? Bingo! It’s not like you said, “man, I’m in a bad mood and Valentine’s is coming up and if I want to display my sexual prowess with my guy, I need to be in my best mood, so it’s really in HIS best interest for me to take myself shopping.” THAT might not cut it, although the altruistic slant is nice. Our ability to try to make it all work out our way is just one of the many skills we’ve accumulated along our journeys. It worked for you here!

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