A Smile is Not Happiness.

Assume the worst when there is an absence of posts. Yes, I have been stuck in a maelstrom of shopping. Justified, and not. I need new spring clothing. But goodness, does any one person really need to spend so much time researching a pair of cropped pants?

I had a great thought this week, and wanted to write about it so that I don’t forget.

I keep saying (yes, out loud) that if I could just find the perfect-fitting trench for the spring, I’ll be happy. If I could just get that bright pink bag for the summer, I’ll be happy. If I could just find… Well, the list goes on and on, and it ends with me being happy.

A few days ago, I realized that was all wrong. What I’ve been meaning to say is, “If I could just find [item 1,567], it would make me smile.”

Oh, there it is! Finally I’ve put into words that all this stuff does not make me happy just because it puts a smile on my face. I’m having fun buying a new wardrobe out of necessity, and I’m finding some pretty great things. I look at my outfits each day and really feel great… for a moment or two. Everything that I’m adding to my wardrobe is the best item I think I can find, fits me and/or my lifestyle about as perfectly as I would hope, and makes me feel confident and put-together.


Happiness doesn’t even factor in.  I am quite broken, actually.  I must’ve sprung a leak some time ago because I have no substance left. I’ve become a clothing hanger.

(That was today’s epiphany.)

My stuff looks great on. It looked good on the hanger at Nordstrom, too. Is there anything more to ME? Do I have any interests left other than clothing? Does anything else motivate me? What am I living this life for?

My older son needs a supportive mom who can help him control his impulses, not someone who has no time for him because she needs to check the new arrivals at ten different online stores. He needs a mom who will listen to his current interests, not someone who shushes him away so she can check her wishlist to see if anything’s gone on sale so she can pounce on it. He needs a mom who will listen to his side of the story, not someone who immediately punishes the screaming and crying because it disrupted figuring out who has the latest 20% off sale.

My younger son needs a loving mom who can teach him to be strong, not someone who tells him to go cry alone until he can be quiet. He needs a nurturing mom to match his gentleness, not someone who takes advantage of his obedient nature by sending him away to play by himself. He needs a mom who can “fill up his hugs and kisses when they are red” (empty), not someone who constantly asks for more space so she can type faster and browse the web easier.

My husband needs a wife who can fill his life with love, laughter, and memories, not someone who heads to the stores every weekend.

I need to redevelop the spiritual depth that carried me all my life until recently. I seem to have squashed it with my credit card.

So, here I am. I looked at my (awesome) pants today, and acknowledged that they make me smile, but they do not make me whole. It’s OK that they make me smile. It’s OK that my new jacket makes me giddy when I get to wear it. As long as I know that that’s not IT. There’s more work to do, and it doesn’t involve TJ Maxx.

Weight, Lifted.

After my last post, I decided to return a few items that were weighing on me. They were pricey things that I desperately wanted to work for me, but were not working. One item was a gorgeous dress that I would never have the occasion to wear, another was a much-needed trench coat that was a smidge too small. The last was a pair of shoes that needed some finagling to fit correctly.

The total return was well over my monthly budget for clothing, and the relief was immediate. Actually, I felt happy and lighter the second I made the decision to return them. Finally, I was thinking with a clear head.

I’m still trying to attain something I know I’ll never reach. I’m not even sure I know how to put it into words. I see a photo, and I want to look like that. I want to be surrounded by the aura that the photo implies. Carefree, fun, nonchalant.

The truth is, I don’t want to look like a catalog picture. I know that even the people in the pictures don’t look like they do in the pictures (thank you, Indy Ink). I don’t want to be a 2D version of myself. I don’t want to have to fuss with clothing and hair for it to look just so, all day long.

I want to hang out with my kids while I’m still their #1. I want to build more muscle so that I can do things without help. I want to keep doing workouts and increasing my energy levels so that I’m inspired to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer.

I want to stay in touch with real life, rather than cultivate a Photoshopped life. I want to develop depth again. Those painful clothing returns were the start of a new commitment.