I’m Amy, and I’m a shopaholic

The past couple of days, I’ve been waking up with a face full of cold, feeling like I have man-flu (the fatal kind). My ears have that horrible cold feeling where I feel like I could topple over at any moment, I sound like a man (and a very husky voiced one at that) and my nose periodically leaks. As the day goes on, I feel better, but the mornings, I feel like death warmed up.

So I awoke super early this morning (especially since I had nothing to do until work at 6pm) and in my severe self-pitying state I decided to put a DVD on and wrap up in a blanket. It was a toss-up… between Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds and Confessions of a Shopaholic. I know… I’ve seen Inglourious Basterds way too many times. Anyway, I wasn’t feeling particularly bloodthirsty. So I settled with Confessions.

I will forever maintain that this film is loosely based on my life.

I haven’t watched it in the longest time, but Isla Fisher could easily be me… if I was more petite and ginger… Fortunately, I’m not quite in that much debt, but there was a time when I would not answer the phone for the fear of debt collectors and the bank.

Sure it’s a comedy, when she slaps the Finnish man in the face and exclaims “Men like you are the reason I left Finland!” will always make me chuckle, but there are also words I can so relate to.

It takes a true shopaholic to know that moment when you walk into a shop and you feel that by buying things, you can make the bad things go away, just for a moment.

And it’s worth it, isn’t it? To make the bad things go away? Even if just for a second. Those horrible girls who judge you, when you buy that skirt, those voices that echo round your head are silenced for a moment. That really bad day at work? It melts away when you buy that new DVD and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Because you know that it’s over. That something better awaits you. That awful mark you got on your coursework? Well, who needs good grades when you have the perfect shoes?

It’s so easy to tell yourself these things, like Rebecca Bloomwood does. You tell yourself that the shop will never stop loving you, the shop assistants will always be kind and friendly. They’ll never tell you you’re hideous, they’ll never let you have a bad day, they’ll never let you receive a terrible grade. Who said money can’t buy happiness?!

But that is only superficial. The shop will never stop loving you, as long as you keep spending money. The shop assistants love you because you’re paying their wages. And when you run up too much debt? When you’ve spiralled out of control and you can’t reign it back in? You think the shop will be there for you then? The shop assistants will be interested when you can’t pay?

Is it all worth the permanent fear that your card will be declined? When you buy your groceries, when you go to pay your bills? The actual important stuff. Is it worth it then?

Sure it’s nice to forget your problems for five minutes by running up some debt, but isn’t that actually adding to your problems, in the long run?

I’m very much like Rebecca Bloomwood… writing about debt management would make me the biggest hypocrite, but I have got better. I can look at a stunning pair of shoes, admire them, and walk away. Something I would never have done 3 years ago.

My theory has always been your feet never change size. So when you’re having a fat day, shoe shopping is the answer. I can’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I own that cost me more than £50 and I’ve worn less than 5 times, because I’m ashamed to admit it.

I am trying my best to get better… the last pair of shoes I bought were functional, not pretty, and I’ve worn them everyday (almost) since. Now when I have a fat day, I avoid the mirror and put on my favourite DVD and try to remember that image isn’t everything (which is so hard).

So, yes, I’m Amy. I’m a shopaholic. I have more shoes than I will ever wear, I have more dresses than I’ll ever need, I have more DVDs than I can ever watch. But I also know that I can’t find happiness in the little bits of plastic in my purse. I’m on the road to recovery, but I’ll never be tee-total.

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