Shopping for Love in all the Wrong Places

Designer Love
By Celeste T. Parker

The topic for this week is love. Like Chicago Public Schools (CPS), my heart is on strike and now closed. I push my pen forward knowing that this revolution may not be televised.

It was present day summer 2013. I was more excited than a May prom queen turned June valedictorian. I had reason to feel beautiful and the future again looked bright. My ex had started texting again and I, like a foolish freshman, took this to mean he was ready to graduate to the next level. I was also in the midst of winning a weight loss battle (20 pounds to date) and the exclamation to my declaration of independence was a fierce new hair cut and color. What better way to celebrate a new me than with new clothes?! And so the love affair began.

From afternoon delight on the fitting room floor to hot, late nights by a dimly lit computer screen, I was smitten. He had me at “Hello…may I get that in your size?” Not my ex–my shopping addiction. I had a fling with Dots and a one night stand with Rainbow (they are one season-wear you know). I was creeping with MAC online. I formed a much deeper commitment to Taylor (Ann) and Maxx (TJ). But I really knew I was in trouble when I woke up next to this guy Scott (Carson Pirie) and he led me to Macy’s for a ménage a trios (translation: I found myself parked in front of their doors before they were even open). It was all good until Mr. Month Lee Statement showed up unannounced and my ex simultaneously disappeared again without warning. For all of the stuff I’d amassed, my closets and drawers were full, but my account and spirit were empty.

As I walked through Orland Square Mall I carried my purse in the crook of my arm a la Kardashian, all the while knowing I’m really a “carries coupons in a boho bag” kinda girl. Not a total dunce, my extreme makeover was at least in part for me. As women we all need to switch our style up from time to time. But if my soul were to go commando, err…bare itself, I would have to admit that I thought if I were cooler, prettier, thinner…that my ex would adorn me with the love and affection I so desperately desire. And yet, he continues to only occasionally pull me off the shelf and try me on for size. I’m not so sure we are a good fit.

As it relates to this writing assignment I think I’m finally beginning to learn that I must first fall in love with myself.

I can’t continue to allow my needs to be marked down, my feelings discounted. To be sure, moving forward again on the conveyor belt of life will be difficult and not labeling all men the same will be a hard task (pun intended). There has got to be someone out there who is tailor-made for me. In the meantime I must “do the work” of not selling myself short. Neither can I make others pay the price for my past. Please pray for me, that I will see my value and that my decisions will reflect my worth. And by all means if you see me heading into a store, tackle me faster than you can say, “BOGO!” (Buy One, Get One free).

Etiquette Correspondent Celeste Parker is an educator and author of ‘Pigs Don’t Wear Pearls’ Bedtime Stories That Awaken Your Child to the Gem That Lies Within. Follow Celeste on Twitter @PigsDWPearls.

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