My Shopping Day, Or Why I am Such an Old Lady, or Ways that I am a Nerd

Wednesday, I did something I very rarely do. I went shopping…at the MALL! Full out, I-don’t-have-a-reason-to-be-doing-this browsing shopping.

It started out as a family trip to Old Navy. Which is very sneakily placed in the mall. We went to Old Navy and got the things we were looking for. Then we made the mistake of actually ENTERING the mall.

I used to love the mall. You know, when I was young and childless. It was a place to go and socialize, shop for clothes that fit my once tiny body, and spend all that disposable income I used to have.

Now, I think of the mall as a scary place. All those people! All those stores! All those places with clothes that don’t fit me and where I should not go lest I be tempted to spend money I don’t have.

So, after we conquered Old Navy, we wondered the mall. I tried on clothes in Ann Taylor LOFT, my pre-mommy FAVORITE store. And guess what? I still LOVE that store. I found a really cute outfit. I looked good in it. I felt good in it. I wanted to buy it. But one look at that price tag, and I had to leave it on the rack. Because I can not spend that much money on clothes for myself.

While I moped about the adorable outfit I had to leave behind, we wondered a little further into the mall. Then we found Crazy 8, an adorable children’s store. And we bought a new outfit and some new shorts for the toddler. Sure, there’s symbolism about how I have no hesitation about spending money on my son but won’t spend money on myself, but really it just comes down to the fact that those three pieces for him were literally one-third of the cost of one shirt at the LOFT.

Still in a I-must-spend-money mood, we wondered into the next store in the row; Victoria’s Secret.

And here’s where I really turned into an old lady, if the whole I-buy-clothes-for-my-son-but-not-myself thing wasn’t a good enough start.

I was shocked at this store. My internal thought process went something like this:  “Is this what kids are wearing these days? Who sees all these girls naked? Why in the world do you need all this lace and crystal on a bra? Who are you trying to impress with this? Do they sell anything comfortable in here? I don’t think I can successfully chase my toddler around with this push up bra that puts my boobs in my face and panties that barely cover my bum and/or put dangling sparkles in my private area.”

Naturally, I bought some panties. (It was the semi-annual sale. Which was lucky. Because I was NOT going to buy those things full price.)

By this time, the hubs and toddler had found the mall’s germ-infested play area, so I decided to take advantage of it and continue this day of ridiculousness. I went into the store that was my favorite place ten years ago, Charlotte Russe. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest person there. It’s obviously meant for teenagers. There were definitely no other moms in there. Except for the moms with teenage daughters. So since I was already out-of-place, I just decided to keep my head down and peruse.

You guys, I could not stop laughing. The clothes were so skimpy. What looks like  regular t-shirt in the front is backless. A reasonable looking dress? Has the sides cut out. And there was a whole section of leather bustiers. By the time I got to the back of the store I think I had actually laughed out loud.

Why did I find this so funny? Maybe because I used to shop there. Maybe because I find all of these styles of clothes pretty ridiculous. Or maybe just the fact that I knew I had absolutely no business walking around in that particular store.

But people? The clothes are cheap. For half the price of the LOFT shirt I was coveting, I got a navy and white striped t-shirt (with no cut-outs) and a gray cardigan. So there actually are mommy-appropriate clothes in that store for low prices. If you feel like digging around and getting a good laugh.

So we left the mall with a new outfit and new shorts for the toddler, two shirts and some panties for me, a shirt for the hubs, and my new-found realization that I have kind of turned into an old lady. Or maybe just a nerd. Either way, it’s good to know.

Lost Pieces

It’s funny how it’s two and a half years later and I’m still trying to pick up pieces of myself.

I lost so many of the pieces of who I thought I was over these years. So many pieces that I thought completed the puzzle of who I am. But life is nothing if not a constant exercise in change. And so I change. I adapt. I loose pieces. I find others. I try to string together a complete image of this woman who stares at me in the mirror.

Today I found some old pieces. Pieces I thought were lost long ago like old toys hidden under the couch or receded into cracks in floor boards. Pieces that brought tears to my eyes because I remember them. It was like reuniting with an old friend.

Today I dropped my little boy off at school. When he first started school this fall, I didn’t know how to be apart from him. I waited in the parking lot for him to come home.

Since then, I have progressed. I have used my time to run errands, and tackle the grocery store and mopping. I have sat and people watched while sipping a latte. I have talked on the phone to my best friend. I have worked out. I have blogged.

But this morning, I found some parts of what used to make me. I listened to the soundtrack of Wicked The Broadway Musical. And I sang along and smiled and remembered why that used to be such a big passion of mine. I felt inspired. I found myself at the mall. I entered a grown up store with grown up clothes that would fit my now grown up figure and did not have a trace of children’s paraphernalia. I tried on shirt from the clearance rack and let my hands drape over the luxurious fabric of items that have no place in my daily life of dirt and ketchup. I tried on two shirts that actually flattered me and I smiled because I remembered that I used to look beautiful and turn heads. My now go-to outfit of yoga pants and t-shirts doesn’t do that. I splurged on a shirt that made me feel beautiful. And I cringed at the register, because I don’t remember the last time I spent so much money on myself.

And as I blared the Wicked soundtrack again on my way home, I let tears fall and thoughts form and rushed inside to find a home for them here.

My life is so different than it used to be. My reflection always surprises me when a mirror suddenly appears in my view. But there are pieces of me that are still the same. It was so nice to find some of them this morning and reawaken beauty and inspiration and indulgence within my world that has become devoted to my child’s innocence.

It was nice to find some lost pieces.