The One That Just Can't Let Go

Goshhhhh. I really do have a problem, guys. This past Friday, when I was out wandering around Union Square half-delirious with heat stroke, it occurred to me that I might actually be a bit of a shopaholic. Granted, I don’t spend beyond my means and I usually only buy the stuff I really want or need, but I think I enjoy the thrill of the Bargain Hunt a little too much for my own good. It doesn’t help that boredom is usually a trigger for me (“hmmm… need a writing break, let’s see what’s new on ModCloth today—omg, CUTEEEEE. I definitely need that owl necklace!! And those oxfords!! I didn’t even know I wanted a dress like that until I laid eyes on it!!”) The good news is that I really dislike online shopping, unless I’ve already tried something on or can’t find it in the stores. So at least I’m not up at 4 AM, firing my credit card number off into the dark, nefarious abyss of the interwebs. I’m pretty sure I get that trait from my dad, who, having grown up in what you might consider a moneyed household, really does like shopping. (Yes, these rare beasts DO exist! Maybe it’s the area I grew up in, but I know quite a few of them.) And when he has nothing else to do on the weekend, is all for going to the mall or Best Buy or Target. So while I’m a bargain hunter and spend money (fairly) wisely (aka going to F21 for trendy stuff, saving up for investment pieces), I just own… a lot of clothes and shoes.

Mom, on the other hand, is NOT a big shopper. She grew up in the opposite of a moneyed household. Unlike Dad, who has no problem having ten thousand yard sales and whose response to “I’m not sure I want to keep this…” is always “GET RID OF IT,” Mom has a hard time of giving stuff away or throwing things out. So while Dad has bestowed upon me the habit of shopping, Mom has also conditioned me to never want to get rid of anything I own, just in case I might one day wear it or use it again.

Case in point: my Lilly Pulitzer dresses.

I looooove Lilly. I think her clothes are really bright and happy and totally adorable (I know some people would disagree that wearing green monkeys on a skirt is attractive BUT THOSE PEOPLE OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO HEARTS). I built up quite the collection in my four years as a sorority girl in the South, mostly because no one wears Lilly in Arizona and I would always find the dresses for anywhere between 50-75% their normal price when I was at home over summer break. I really adore how girly and cute they are, and they have a special place in my heart.

But could you guys imagine me wearing some of these dresses on the streets of New York? New York, where my usual winter wardrobe consists of my black pants, black boots, black cardigan and black coat. Realistically, I’ll only wear a few of these skirts and dresses, and only for a few occasions. It’s sad, but I’m coming to terms with it. My Mom has been sending me pictures of all of the Lilly I left behind so I can tell her which ones she can resell, and I’m so pathetically attached to them that it took me almost two weeks to finally decide on what to keep.

I noticed this weekend that this need also carries over into my writing. There’s that well-worn expression, “Kill your darlings,” but, sadly, I am just not the murdering type. I latch onto ideas/scenes/dialogue snippets and I—foolishly, I might add—keep them in the manuscript for as long as I can before reality kicks in and I realize I’m doing the story or character a disservice. It’s silly of me to think that I’ll be able to keep every scene I write, that I won’t have to take a sharp pair of scissors to each and every chapter and snip, snip, snip…

Alas, one of my many faults as a human being. But I’m working on it… (And clearing out my closet!)