death by mall

just home from shopping.  harrowing really.  i think it’s all the mirrors.  and the shiny people.  there are enough ugly ones sprinkled through for morale, for sure.  but the shiny ones still do you in.  it’s hard on the self-esteem.  i think it’s because i haven’t been out in a while that the contrast seemed so stark.  home is my little buttressed oasis.  just the way i like it.  the world, on the other hand, likes to make you well aware of your inadequacies.  people approach the overtures of real world in all manner of ways.  some are along for the ride, some never knew what hit them, some are ravenous pits of envy, others pick over the shiny bits and look down on the rest, while the conspiracy theorists run away in terror.

but i don’t want to run from the world, i kind of want to bludgeon it.  that’s what was congealing in my mind as i was picking through the clothes with my daughter.  now, i don’t want to get on my holy pony and head back to the ranch in my romper.  but the racks of synthetic china insulted my dignity.  for the last time.  i don’t like coveting things i can’t afford.  and if i had the money, i don’t want to pay for someone else’s mass produced, faux originality.  it almost pains me to admit it…but i think i’m going to say something nasty about consumerism.  these last few months i’ve been trenched in with my people and we’ve been busy.  i’ve been watching the first sprouts of our own culture.  you’ve heard of homeschool nerds, right?  only i don’t want our cultural differences to be a difference of inadequacy, but rather a difference of surplus.  i don’t want to row beside the ocean liner in my dingy, with my children looking longingly over the side.  i want a trim vintage yacht that can turn circles around the hulking disney cruise liner, a.k.a. floating strip mall.  and i want it to be more fun.  because freedom always is.

you can never beat the enemy by trenching it up with the powdered milk.  you have to be better.  the engine of consumerism is insatiable, it will take it all.  it tells you what to watch, what to wear, what to think, what to drive, what to eat, etc..  which would be fine, i guess, if you didn’t have something better to do.  but we do.  life is good.  too good for plastic.  too good for fast food.  too good fore reality shows.  too good for beyonce.  too good for public education.  and too good for synthetic textiles with licensed screen-printing.  isn’t there some kind of saying about life being too short to drink cheap beer?  it’s way too short.  culture is like this mushrooming, corporate monolith, and we’re the pond scum floating on top.  it doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle or nit picking around the edges, odds are, it was still made in china.  we come and go, but brand names live forever.

anyways, i don’t want to go back.  i don’t want to suffer involuntary sidelong glances at soulless mass productions that serve as mere indicators of my income.  i don’t want to score them on sale after scouring endless clearance racks so i can fake it.  i don’t want to wear their jersey at all.  i want my own.  i don’t want my children to have the impression that we have the things we have because we can’t afford better, but because we are better.  the difference between a consumer and a creator is vast.  one can only wonder if our dependent stance in life is just another cozy kick in the shorts from the devil.  you know, people used to make stuff.  i wonder if there is some kind of redemption in that.  a kind of liberty.  a kind of dignity.

and no, scrap booking doesn’t count.

the girls and i are going to have more fun.  we’re going to make stuff.  jael lights up like a little bug when i get out the sewing machine.  so mama’s going to try a little harder.  i was looking at the cheaper end hand-made dresses on etsy.  you can have a lot of fun with things you whip up.  and no one would ever suspect you bought it at wal-mart.  they would know there was something not quite right miiiiiles away.  and it’s not that i’m ungrateful for our giant web of convenience, produced by cheap oil, globalization, and “little slave kids,”  it’s just that i’m stuck up.  mostly.

Think About It by Flight of The Conchords from feyzan ustaoglu on Vimeo.

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7 Responses to “death by mall”


  1. 2 Violet February 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Anyone wanna teach me to sew?

  2. 3 Michelle February 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

    amazing read. really a good reminder for me… cause i like beyonce… and stuff. hahh. but really. puts things into perpective. I love the line about wearing things cause you ARE better not cause you can’t afford it. love.

  3. 5 mavis March 19, 2013 at 11:04 am

    thanks treva. 🙂 we’re on it. reminds me of the oliver + s patterns.

  4. 6 mavis March 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

    wearing “michelle” by “michelle.” i’m sure it would look fab too. 😉


  1. 1 I have the most fun when I’m being BAD | The Bucket Woman Trackback on March 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm
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