Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


It's interesting how much you notice about a thing when you return to it after a long absence. In my case today, it was retail.

It's not that I never go in stores. I do. I sometimes buy things other than groceries. But I haven't been in a department store for YEARS, and I wandered into one this afternoon. Macy's, to be exact. The fancy downtown one.

Wow. There are big photographs everywhere of the kind of people they want their customers to imagine themselves to be: if you are female, then young and very skinny. If you are male, then it's okay to be up to about 43 years of age, but please stay skinny if you get that old. And for god's sake, be beautiful.

This is nothing new, of course. It's a large part of the reason that I avoid every aspect of corporate, retail, consumer culture that I can possibly avoid.

The way I felt on leaving Macy's is the reason I avoid that stuff: activated, on high alert, threatened and unsafe, unboundaried, excessive, ashamed. In a nutshell, like crap. When I was younger, I would feel like young, desperate crap. Now that I'm older, I find that I feel like old, worthless crap.

And to think: I used to feel that way all the time. I exposed myself to those stimuli dozens of times a day. The activation of my sympathetic nervous system was constant. Who knows what damage I did?

It's a subtle feeling. It took me four years of intensive training just to learn to recognize it, and I still usually only catch it by observing its fruits: the tension in my neck and shoulders; the negative thoughts; the fear of things that ten minutes earlier seemed perfectly safe; the sudden reappearance of the inner browbeater saying mean, mean things to me in my head.

I managed to sneak invisibly back up the street to my office, where I've buried myself safely in difficult work all afternoon. Now I have to go ride my bike home in the dark.

Damn Macy's.

This entry is cross-posted from DarkEmeralds on Dreamwidth.


Feb. 4th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
Well crap, crap, crappity crap. Fucked up notions of body image and beauty are teh suxx0r.

I've never been in a Macy's. Or a Nordstrom's, Saks, etc. etc. They've always seemed pretty clearly places where I Am Not Invited, even when I was young and thin (though I didn't have access to such places then, and anyway, wouldn't have had the money to buy anything anyway, but still). Even having never gone in one, I still got the message loud and clear that I was in some way inadequate, or backward, or unsophisticated.

In other words, that societal rottenness runs deep, yo. The really, really terrific thing is that you're able to recognize it, and exert control in removing yourself from that environment. AND! To issue a big ol' "FUCK YOU" to the establishment by quite cheerfully walking your own unique path frequently and with relish. I find it's rather like belonging to a secret club. ;) And who wouldn't want to belong to our secret club? It's awesome and our food is way better.
Feb. 4th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
LOL! Our food IS better!

You want to know the really ironic thing? (I think it was ironic--I'm never quite sure of that word.) I only went into Macy's because my sis and I were parting ways there following an afternoon coffee break, and I desperately needed a restroom.

Hah! That'll teach me to have to pee.



Latest Month

December 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow