Do you ever picture something you want and when you go to find that thing you can’t? It doesn’t exist, you just designed your perfect item and then were crushed to discover you could not, in fact, purchase that item?
That happens to me all the time. You’d think someone would have offered me some sort of platform to design things the masses, but alas, no. I wore this black strapless dress with a tuxedo stripe down the side to my senior prom. I knew I wanted simply black strappy sandals, but in the year…well I shan’t say what year, just please know I wore a black velvet choker as well…those shoes did not exist. There were strappy sandals, but they had so many straps like your foot was in a birdcage. I wanted one thin strap around the ankle and one across the toes, and it took weeks to find a pair that was almost right (and painful AF).
Of course, pre-pandemic those exact shoes were having a serious moment on every celebrity’s foot, accompanying everything from gowns to cut off denim. I had no idea how ahead of the trends I was at eighteen. I often have an idea for something I think would serve us well just sitting in my head and I cannot believe no one has made a reasonably priced mass market version for Target.
I am not a terribly fashionable person, and if I were fashionable you’d never know because where the fuck am I going besides school drop off and the grocery store. I like what I like, and now that I’m a mom I dress for function. I have to be able to chase kids and squat in public to retrieve the toy that rolled under the soda display at Target, and no I absolutely do not wear anything that has to be dry cleaned because that would be insane. But when I am looking for something new, I’m looking for something very specific.
I’m a minimalist and have been a minimalist-in-training for years, which means my closet used to be full, but it was full of the same things. I bought clothes all the time in past years, but deep down I was already a minimalist, so when I went to purge my closets I discovered seven V-neck black t-shirts. I only liked to wear one type of shirt, and studying minimalism and tidying helped me realize I didn’t need to have things I didn’t love, and I only needed as many black t-shirts as I could wear between loads of laundry. I don’t literally wear a black t-shirt every day, so it turns out I require fewer than seven.
Now, though, I take purchases pretty seriously. I don’t want to be wasteful and buy something I know I’ll need to replace because it doesn’t quite work, but I also don’t want to spend a fortune on something the kids will ruin no matter what. When I decided we needed to replace our couch I looked at couches online for two weeks. By the time I narrowed down the color choice to grey (how whimsical) I was dreaming of scrolling through photos and reviews of grey couches. I had in my mind exactly what I wanted, but that thing did not exist. I like the couch we ended up with, though.
We need a lamp. I moved my bedside lamp down to the living room as a placeholder when family visited a couple months ago, but I need it back so it’s time to pull the trigger. I don’t want anything round, and I don’t want anything too trendy, and I don’t want it to sit on the end table so it has to be a standing lamp, and I only want black, and I don’t just want down light, I think I want ambient lighting? It’s a process. I can’t ask anyone for advice because they would absolutely stab me to death when I made gagging sounds in response to every suggestion they offered. I am particular.
We got a really nice table for the kids to do virtual school and the first week I found my five year old scratching a picture into the top with scissors, so don’t tell me you get what you pay for and if you spend a buttload it will last forever! LOL. On the other hand, if by some miracle my kids don’t ruin something, I don’t want it to just fall apart. It’s a long and winding road to settling on a purchase in this house.
I don’t want to just throw away things that are good. We donate stuff all the time, but there is some stuff I bought hastily years ago and I am sitting around waiting for it to finally collapse so I can replace it without being frivolous. But also maybe I’ll pass my five year old the scissors next time he’s loitering around something I would like to replace and he will take care of it for me.