while people may have some sympathy for the overeater—or at least a vague patronizing view that they are “eating their feelings”—shopping as a way to deal with feelings has become almost normalized. It’s even become something of a sport, to vicariously watch women shop on TV without much thought as to why and what part of themselves they are trying to fill. Shows like “The Real Housewives” franchise revel in letting viewers watch women buy things, totally frivolous things, extravagant things. People laugh, but there wasn’t anything lighthearted about my situation. The truth is that there’s nothing funny or cute or charming or feminine about having trouble with money.
go somewhere quiet—the mountains, a bathtub, a library—and ask yourself the same set of questions: What do you need to give yourself permission to do? Earn money? Not earn money? Live to work? Work to live? Ask your inner child what she always wished you would do as a grown up. Ask your gut what she craves and fears. Ask your id, your superego, your shy, awkward, repressed tween. None of them gets to drive the car, ultimately, but they all have to ride in it. Every one of their opinions is worth hearing.
Now find patterns. The night sky is a graveyard, a battlefield of stars, but there are also constellations—stories—if you know how to look.
It’s weird to quote oneself! Moving on.
+ Objective stats on what makes you middle class in the nation’s largest 30 cities!
Now we can stop fighting about it! Just kidding, that’s silly, we will fight forever, because some people will always continue to “feel” middle class, no matter what the statistics say. (But can one really “feel” middle class? Or is that like “feeling” fat, in which case we need a version of those “Fat Is Not A Feeling” t-shirts?)
+ Our friend Helaine Olen gives David Brooks a piece of her mind, and recommends A Tree Grows in Brooklyn while she’s at it. Maybe someday in the not-too-distant future she can boot him out of that chair at the Times he has occupied for so long and take over.
+ If you’re a freelancer / artist / off-the-grid type, and you’ve been procrastinating, and you need help because April 15th draweth nigh, consider Brass Taxes, which I’ve seen recommended several different places and which has a nifty website.