This is a tough one. To explain things I have to go somewhere I wasn’t going to go. Her Mission To Buy sounds so frivolous. Shopping is. But is it? Shopping doesn’t change lives. Not really? Well I can say it did change mine a little bit and continues to. Shopping brought me back to myself at a time in my life that was the darkest and most difficult. My husband dropped dead at 38. I was 36. My children, our wee girls, were 22-months old and nine weeks old. I was barely able to breath. Every minute was a challenge never mind days or weeks. I wanted him back. I wanted my old life back. When I looked in the mirror I saw a hollow person. I didn’t really care about the reflection anymore. Nothing mattered because he was gone. My love, my everything, had died so what did it matter? Clothes were to keep me from being naked, they were functional and nothing more. Shopping for food was hard enough now he was gone, why on earth would I shop for anything else.
Shopping to wear something to his funeral made me nauseous. But I did it thanks to my sister and one of my best friends. I got through that moment when the poor woman in one shop asked: “Is it for something special?’. I don’t think she expected the reply: “yes, my husband’s funeral.” I could feel her pity as I wheeled my tiny baby out the store.
Weeks after he died an old work friend camera to visit. She’d been widowed some years before, on her honeymoon. She said so many honest and real things to me that day. One that really resonated though was that I needed to treat myself to one thing for me everyday. It could be a bath, time away from the kids or perhaps buy something that I wouldn’t have before. It was with that in mind that I went shopping the day I bought ‘those‘ shoes. Buying them told me I was healing. I would never be better or the same but I was healing.
So yes shopping is frivolous but there really is something in the words ‘retail therapy’. I didn’t shop myself happy again, I put a lot of hard work into that in other ways, but I did find moments of pure, indulgent joy in my shopping frivolity. I still do. And I know many other women do too. And that is why I am asking women like me to share their #shoppingmehappy stories.