I was up to my elbows in warm sudsy water washing the dishes (again) when it suddenly struck me: I am wearing a $400 dress. This realization hit me in the emotions exactly the way missing a step on the stairs does. You know, when you're going up the stairs and you think there's one more step, and there…isn't?
The idea of forking over $400 for a dress today causes a tidal wave of nausea to wash over me. Well. That actually might be the Drunken Monkey Pills. But still. The very idea seems absolutely foreign to my nature. Rejected at the DNA level. How much? For what? When I could probably get it's twin at Goodwill for $10 to maybe $25?
I bought this dress nine years ago, to wear to my brother-in-law's wedding. It is the last purchase of its kind, the end of an era if you will. Oh, what's that? A summer wedding? Oh, dahling, I simply must have something Fresh! and New! to wear to it…!
I rushed out to Nordstrom's and bought a $400 dress of dubious fabulosity (honestly – I'm looking at it today and asking myself if it has always been this shapeless, because it hangs on me with all the elegance of a sack…I haven't lost that much weight) without regard for the fact that our checking account had about, oh, maybe…$5 in it. That we owed $65,000 on credit cards. That we had $30,000 in car loans. That our combined income was under $60,000. That I was, in point of fact, unemployed at that precise moment.
That we were >>>this<<< close to utter and complete fiscal disaster, that I didn't need a new dress, that even if I had "needed" a new dress, there were other options that would have covered my nekkedness just as well for a fraction the cost.
I bought it because, uh, well. I like the colors. And it is a Designer Label. Can't remember what designer and aren't going to take it off to check, but I do remember that it was a Designer. Somebody…famous.
Sometimes, it's hard to reconcile that yes – I was that person. I was that shallow, that vain, that…idiotic. So lacking in self-esteem, so utterly self-absorbed and petty. Immature. Blissfully unaware of the consequences of taking such a short-sighted approach to life, and completely out of touch with what really matter to me.
I had the same core values then that I do now, really. The same basic belief set, the same overall philosophies, the same 'guiding principles'. I just…didn't pay much attention to them.
But it was shortly after buying this dress that a pregnancy test put an interesting spin on my psyche. It took things not being All About Me anymore to make me pay attention to things like my core values, choosing what really matters to me and focusing my energy on those things, and to stop rushing around trying to borrow the values of others.
Yeah. I thought so, too.
Now. If you'll excuse me…the sink has somehow filled up with dirty dishes yet again (how does it do that?!), so the $400 gown and I will just toddle off to wash them. See, I could have had a dishwasher installed today, but it would have cost $500 more than waiting a week or two while they ordered the non-stainless-steel model and brought it on the normally scheduled truck instead of rush-delivering it…which is more in line with my core value of providing best possible stewardship for our resources, you see…
NASA, Cocoa Beach and points north
7 months ago