Earlier this week, I braved the chaos that is the thrift store on 50% off day, in search of something with long sleeves. I became what I term "edgy" within a very short space of time. It's the sort of feeling that makes me wonder whether or not I'll be bursting into tears in front of a crowd of strangers momentarily.
It may be the general stress of the end of the semester. It may be something else entirely. Who knows? But the anxiety that lurks beneath everything has resurfaced at intervals this week, and crowded stores are, as I am well-aware, a trigger point for this. Exiting the store and returning home where quiet reigns solved the problem, but the anxiety continued to lurk.
As Black Friday has spread northward, I am celebrating "Buy Nothing Day" almost incidentally. Very little could induce me to enter the mall or most retail outlets today (if, superhero-like, going would prevent a major disaster, then yes, I would go; since going might induce a panic attack, it's better to stay home and attempt to focus on my paper). I don't need to go to the grocery store today, only the library, so buying nothing is a given.
I think Buy Nothing Day is commendable, but there are many days in the year when I do buy things. I go through spates of cleaning out our excess, but the fact remains that I truly do have more than I actually need. This North American problem of acquisition has been debated, constantly, by many people wiser than myself. My own contribution today is my wondering what it accomplishes. Where is what I value? How would I react if I suddenly found myself with drastically fewer items in my possession?
The answer is that I simply don't know. I know that I am far more a product of my culture than I would like to be, and that I sometimes envy my friends who could care less about stuff. I confess an attachment to my stuff. I'm very fond of the books on the shelves, the teacups in the cupboards, and the yarn in the chest. Sometimes, getting rid of old clothes that I don't wear anymore is a wrench. Getting rid of books is even harder, because it feels like getting rid of friends.
Is this attachment to things okay or not? Again, I don't know.
Where is my treasure? And where is my heart?