Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anger and lust for Anthropologie sweaters are not Buddhist

I started my day angry. That's a little different than being cranky, as discussed in a previous post. Angry, to me, is wanting to kick something or someone, hard, maybe even draw blood. Cranky is just being mildly annoyed. I have days when I can't stand being around anyone, and I'm sure my antisocial vibes reverberate like a gong, compelling people away from me. The truth is I like being social, but only in the right circumstances, when I'm feeling and looking my best, the lighting is right, the people are friendly, and the music is lounge-y and not too loud.

Living in a city with so many college kids, I often don't feel any of this--it's more like noise and yelling and cheap beer and obnoxious 18 year-olds and bright lighting in fast food joints. I've done this, and frankly I'm glad to put it behind me. But now it's back, barking at the door, except I'm a different person, a person who wants to find peace and loving-kindness and longs to just chill out.

Today, for some reason, I was not feeling the loving-kindness AT ALL. I guess I haven't been doing my part to appreciate the now. I did notice the leaves on the ground the color of popcorn kernels as I was walking to the "T." But beyond that, I was deep in my angry thoughts, just wanting to get to the office as quickly as possible so I could bury myself in my work. But even then, I was short with an author whom I usually like. And I fed my anger mindlessly with mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, popcorn, and cinnamon almonds.

When that didn't improve my mood, I started online window shopping (screen shopping?), lusting after soft sweaters with laced butterflies and silky tops embroidered with irises. I'm not supposed to shop, no one should with the economy the way it is. I'm actually working on a book about shopping addiction--an addiction I don't have, but would love to acquire--and sometimes talking about the book makes me want to go out and spend money!

The only things I allow myself right now are drug store products. I'm a CVS junkie, wielding my Extra-Care card and various coupons. Yesterday I bought yet another red lipstick (I have yet to find a shade in the drug store that I like as much as MAC's New York Apple.) I also bought new mascara and brightening concealer to hide my dark under-eye circles--or at least deceive people into thinking I don't have any.

I think I was hating on people today because I've made their opinion of me the only one that matters. I have to learn to accept myself first, and then I can accept and even help other people. But accepting myself--that's like solving the riddle of the Sphinx. It's like scaling a wall covered in grease. It's something your mother tells you as if it should come naturally to you because it does for her. But when you try to accept yourself and not take everything so seriously, you end up feeling like you're letting yourself off the hook. For me, I'm always striving for improvement and other's approval. It's a recipe for unhappiness, for sure, but a hard habit to shake off.

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