For the past few months I’ve been working really hard to build up my savings. With every paycheck, I put a certain amount into a separate account that I don’t allow myself to touch. I do this because it’s responsible and because I’m trying to build towards my future, to achieve my happily ever after, so to speak.
See, I’m really into romantic comedies. REALLY. I eat that stuff up like fat kids eat cake. And what I’ve learned from romantic comedies is that leading ladies are always perfect in almost every way, except that they have one tiny little flaw that prevents them from finding their happy ending. The flaw is never something completely repulsive like drug addiction or nose hair. Those people don’t get movies, unless it’s a documentary. Romantic heroines like myself have the type of flaw that might actually be considered admirable if it wasn’t standing in the way of our dreams. Something like being “too hard-working,” or “too demanding,” or, “too impulsive.”
Impulsivity is definitely my flaw-that-is-not-a-flaw. It’s the thing about me that’s cute and funny and makes me just a bit different from all the other girls. It gives me enough quirkiness to stand out without completely alienating me from the viewer, making me the perfect star for the leading role that is my life. Unfortunately, my flaw-that-is-not-a-flaw is also what prevents me from getting my happy ending. It’s the thing that will inevitably lead to my downfall, causing me to temporarily lose everything I love until I come to some sort of realization and change my impulsive ways.
That’s why I’ve been fighting it, resisting the impulse to be impulsive, and playing it safe by carefully planning and budgeting instead.
Make no mistake: it has not been easy. Doing this requires willpower. Once, when I was still an arrogant college student who was pretentious enough to read psychology magazines and use them to explain people’s behavior to them, I read an article about willpower. The article stated that willpower acts like a muscle: to build it, you need to use it on a regular basis and slowly increase the amount of weight you put on it. If you try to do too much at once, you overwork it and then you’re out of the game for weeks, if not months.
Well, up until a fateful Saturday a couple of weeks ago, I’d been exerting my willpower excessively. I was going to the gym on a fairly regular basis, eating well, writing every day and putting money away with every paycheck, for crying out loud. I may as well have just injected temptation juice straight into my veins, I was working that willpower muscle so hard. Obviously, I was a breakdown waiting to happen.
I woke up like every other day and put on my shoes to go for a bike ride. My shoes were old converse sneakers. They were dirty and ripped, displaying my socks at the seams. Usually, I slip them on without thinking twice, but that day was different. I stared at them. I poked my fingers through the rips and touched my foot. I wiggled my toes and watched the entire shoe open and close like a muppet pretending to talk. I lifted my feet and smelled them. Euw. This was unacceptable. I’m a leading lady, and I deserve a pair of sneakers that show people I have some self-respect.
As fate would have it, I spotted a pair of converse immediately upon entering the shoe section at Winners. They were sitting right next to a very pretty pair of snakeskin flats from Dior. “Well, that was easy,” I thought.
But it wasn’t. As I reached toward the shelf, my hand completely bypassed the practical sneakers that were the sole purpose of my trip. They went straight for the pretty snakeskin shoes with the shiny metallic pointed toes.
Something inside of me got very excited. I held them for a minute and touched their skin. They weren’t made of plastic like the usual flats I buy. No, the skin on these shoes was soft. The pattern was dyed straight into the skin, instead of plastered on top. The interior was made of leather, like some fancy car a rich person might drive. I had never owned a pair of shoes like this in my life. In a moment of impulsivity, I reached down and tried them on.
That’s when it hit me:
In every romantic comedy, there’s a makeover scene. It’s a climactic moment, like when Julia Roberts goes shopping in the prissy stores in Pretty Woman. It’s a metaphor for the internal transformation that she’s undertaken, a symbolic event in which her physical appearance is altered to reflect her heightened status. It became fairly obvious that, as a leading lady, I needed to buy those shoes.
That’s when I went mad. I’m talking batshit crazy, people. I went from one store to another, leaving only a trail of Mastercard receipts and ecstatic saleswomen in my path. I accumulated bags upon bags, like a homeless woman on ecstasy. I smiled happily as the saleswomen catered to my every need. “Have you seen this yet?” “Would you like another size?” They knew this was my moment. They were all extras in my romantic comedy, mere background noise to the focal point of the scene - which was me.
The transformative power was immediate. I could feel it emerging from within and bursting outwards with every item I handed to the saleswoman, staring straight into her eyes and stating, “I’ll take it.”
When I arrived home, I took all my bags and dumped everything on the floor. I stared, completely in awe of what I had just done. I began to sift through the clothing, finding items I didn’t even remember trying on. I counted my purchases, rounding them up for a final tally:
- 1 scarf
- 4 pairs of shoes
- 7 sleeveless shirts
- 5 pairs of pants
- 3 sweaters
- 5 dress shirts
- 6 bras
- 8 pairs of underwear
Total shopping time: less than 4 hours.
Slowly, I began hanging my clothes up in the closet, which I cleaned to make it look more like the closet in Thirteen Going on Thirty or In Her Shoes. I removed all my boots from my shoe rack and hid them away so my new shoes could have the place they deserved, lined up like soldiers ready to march with me into the sunset of happily ever after.
For the rest of that evening, I could not get over how perfect of a romantic heroine I was. I was Sandra Bullock after she got her eyebrows plucked, Anne Hathaway after she learned how to dress, Renee Zwellweger after losing the weight. I found excuses to keep walking in front of my closet. I had to go to the bathroom. I had to get a blanket. I had to pet my cat. Every time I did so, I stopped for a moment to take a look inside and stare at its contents. There they were, my prizes. Shiny symbolic representations of my transformation. I smiled, satisfied. My happily ever after was on its way.
My latest post!
Hey, I know you. You’re the student who doesn’t recognize that the feedback given to you by a wise and experienced teacher is a precious gift. You say things like “yeah, but-” and “I was trying to…” instead of LISTENING to the feedback and using it to grow.
Listen, I get it, Tasha. Notes…