It’s Not Retail Therapy That I Need – It’s Therapy Because of Retail

I find it interesting, and mildly disturbing, that I often have dreams in which the setting is a retail store.  Tonight’s REM induced ordeal was one of frustration that I couldn’t find a customer an inexpensive blue pencil.  I knew where some were located, but I was unable to find any when the time came to offer them to the customer.  As soon as the customer leaves, displeased that I was unable to help, I find different types of blue pencils everywhere in the store.  But it’s too late to satisfy the part of me that seeks approval from others – the customer is now gone.  And the icing on the cake of this bad dream was that my manager found the bank bag, with the store’s deposits enclosed, unattended on the sales floor.  My negligence and irresponsibility at the end of this mild nightmare awoke me.

I have two theories about this.  The first is that some sort of critical brain development happens in your twenties, as this was my job at that time.   And as a result of this, I often dream about this time in my life.  As I’m typing this, I’m critical of myself that I haven’t googled this already to see if this is the case.  I may have to take a break during the composition of this post to check this out.  I’m back.  It looks like the brain is still developing in our twenties.  There could be some truth in this theory.  Maybe the connections made during this time made the daily retail environment a hard-wired structure in my brain.

My second theory is that I suffered some sort of trauma during my time spent working in retail drugstores.  I have often heard it said that prison changes a person.  Perhaps working in a retail store does the same thing.

Regardless of which theory is correct, I find it odd that I dream about a life experience that ended about seventeen years ago.  It is an experience that I don’t often think about in my waking hours, either.  Maybe the fact that I shopped today at a retail drugstore triggered it.  Or it’s easier and more comical to think that it was my trip to Wal-Mart today.  Wal-Mart is often a stressful experience for me.  I prefer order and predictability over the excitement of chaos.

It amuses me, and I am proud of some habits that I’ve kept from the experience of working in retail.

  • I am aware and courteous of the other customers around me in the store, and I give them the right-of-way
  • I mindlessly straighten the items on the shelves when shopping
  • I always put an item back in its proper place in the store if I decide not to purchase it
  • I never touch the glass
  • I remain calm, assertive, open-minded and respectful when confronting the staff about a pricing issue or a problem (retail injustice)
  • My ego believes that I have acquired a superior skill for locating items in stores due to my experience on sales floors
  • I never destroy packaging to look at the product inside

So, like life itself, I see a balance of good and bad about my experience of working in retail.  There were some awful things about it, but I really don’t think that any of it was traumatic.  It can’t honestly be compared to going to war or prison.  But I do find myself wanting to share a list of behaviors I’d like to suggest.  Retail etiquette, if you’ll allow me.

  • Please don’t unnecessarily impede the flow of other customers in the store.  You are not the only person left on Earth.
  • If the rare occurrence of a cash sale happens, cashiers should hand the coins to the customer first, then the bills and receipt.  Coins should never be placed on top of paper when handing them over – they slide and often fall.
  • Don’t stick your fingers in the testers of the cosmetics displays if you intend on smearing the remaining product all over said display
  • Don’t steal items.  What I found depressing about my former job was finding the empty packaging from items stolen stashed in the store.  I found it most disturbing to find empty expensive wrinkle creme boxes – if you’re old enough to use wrinkle creme, you should be old enough to know that it is wrong to steal and be selfish (and wrinkle creme is a non-essential to life item)
  • Treat retail workers with respect, and please lose any sense of entitlement.  The customer is often, but not always right (and I feel better about the word “correct” instead of “right.”  Now I’m worried about being an elite snob.  LOL!) But seriously, I don’t believe that I am any more important, or deserve any special consideration now that I am an accounting professional instead of a retail store employee.  The retail staff aren’t your humble servants, either – please treat them as peers.
  • Try to keep your children from destroying the place.  I didn’t appreciate the woman that didn’t correct her small child as he mixed up every lipstick shade in the entire 40+ shade display, for example.  Having a child of my own, I realize that children want to touch and handle everything, but I think there is a point when your inner parent should realize when it’s too much destruction and provide intervention.

P.S.  Here’s an interesting reference that I used when hoping to correctly spell Wal-Mart in my blog:  Updates to AP Stylebook include ‘over,’ hyphenation of Wal-Mart

Happy New Year!

We have a tradition of coming up with resolutions for the new year. In that spirit, here are some things that I want to work on this year, and probably much longer than that!
I want to let love be a guiding principle in my life, and I want to let go of fear whenever I can. This idea feels good and right to me. I don’t have well-defined plan how exactly how to accomplish this. But I’m reading some good books about it, and I believe some of my other areas of focus for the year will help me.
I want to become more mindful and meet each moment with my deepest values. Inherent in this idea is the need to define my deepest values. This sounds like a lot of work, but I think there are some truly meaningful rewards to be found here.
I want to live my life more intentionally. I want to examine my automatic scripts that I use in my daily life and rid myself of the ones that really don’t serve me. I want to be responsive instead of reactive.
This one is not a unique New Year’s resolution: I want to make care of my physical self a bigger priority. A long time ago, I got the idea that physical talents weren’t my strength. I think this core idea has allowed me to justify not focusing on physical fitness. But as I find myself smack dab in middle age, I think it would serve me to focus on fitness so that I can continue to do the things that I enjoy. There’s also this crazy possibility that I could gain physical skills and abilities!

I hope that you have a wonderful new year!  And I also wish that we all are successful working towards the goals that we choose to pursue!

My Three Areas of Focus

I am an Oprah groupie.  I am not ashamed to admit it.  I have been watching her broadcasts of Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s Lifeclass on her OWN network since its inception.  Integrating some of the great ideas that have been brought to my attention through these shows has been an awesome, fulfilling and a truly joyful experience.  I enjoy exploring ideas that might shift my perception, and allow me to arrive at a new appreciation of life as a human being.

One of the things related to Oprah that I am entertaining currently is a “O-Course” called “Thrive.”  The instructor is Arianna Huffington.  Many of the things we have covered so far make me feel proud of myself.  I didn’t need the instruction to know that plentiful sleep is important or that working until you fall over is not success.  Today’s assignment was to identify three goals, and then to let go of goals that aren’t a priority and that you can’t realistically include in your life.  Completing this assignment gave me the opportunity to clarify and re-affirm three key areas of focus in my life.  I’ve decided to share these with the biosphere of the internet.  Here we go…

Living life by being present and full of love.  Using this presence to cultivate awesome relationships with myself, my husband, my son and each person I encounter each day.  Removing mindless and numbing things I do out of habit.  Practicing gratitude and making decisions made from love.  Being aware and fully experiencing all the joy in my daily experiences.

Getting my “house” in order:  removing chaos and providing management for my daily life.  Employing self-care strategies to feel great physically:  improve diet, increase exercise, increase physical touch and massage and remove unnecessary stressors.  Employing strategies to make household chores and administrative tasks more manageable and less stressful…and get them completed to create an environment of peace and harmony instead of worry about what needs to be done.  Letting go of self-judgment regarding the things that I realistically don’t have time to do.

Using my employment opportunity not only to help support my family, but as a fertile training ground for helping others while achieving personal growth.  Monitoring the amount of energy I allow my career to consume.  Continuing to cultivate a positive, curious and helpful attitude while working.  Cherishing those with whom I get to spend so much time each work day.  Doing excellent work by focusing on one task at a time and maintaining a slow, steady way of being.

Maybe I’ll Do It Tomorrow

I am not my hair

I am not this skin

I am not your expectations, no

I am not my hair

I am not this skin

I am the soul that lives within


Do you over-think things? I do. I’ve been procrastinating. It’s time to color my hair. I’ve been hiding my gray hair for years now. It was really important to me when my son was born. Pregnancy hormones help you have strong feelings, and I was not going to be a gray-haired mom with an infant. I did cut back while he was baking in the oven, because the jury is out on how safe it is. But my OB said that it was OK.

But that is irrelevant now. My son is now six, and the hormonal decree has long expired. But, am I ready to give up the hair dye? I’m on the fence about it. Like India.Arie says, “I am not my hair.” Where is that line between vanity and a healthy practice of taking care of yourself and your appearance? Should I be changing the natural state of my hair? What does coloring my hair say about me and my relationship with my ego?

Am I caught up in believing that a youthful appearance is more beautiful? Not completely. Am I ready to deal with the awkward stages of growing my hair out? Probably not. My husband thinks that long hair is sexy, and he does not want me to cut it short, so that’s not a good solution.

Probably the best thing to do is to stop analyzing it. Just do it, like Nike. Stop wasting energy on this insignificant decision.

Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.

A New Holiday: Zankieween

A deep analysis of a curious & possibly not age-appropriate fascination.

I am typically a responsible, forty-four year old woman with a fantastic husband and a wonderful kindergarten-aged son.  But each summer, I enjoy watching the show Big Brother, and I have recently become intrigued by one of Big Brother 16’s contestants, Zach Rance.  I periodically check his tweets and I follow him on Instagram.  I’ve also recently subscribed to his fledgling YouTube channel.  In addition, I happened to notice the #Zankieween tweets on Halloween, and I stayed up late into the wee hours to read the tweets and see the pictures and videos of Zach with his friend, Frankie Grande, at a Halloween party.  I enjoyed seeing them be each other for Halloween, watching them dance together, and enjoyed seeing the salacious selfie of Frankie with Zach biting his ear.

Zach biting Frankie's ear

Zach biting Frankie’s ear

Frankie and Zach with the Rance Family

Frankie and Zach with the Rance Family

For those who do not watch Big Brother, I’ll need to tell you the “Zankie” story.  Zankie is a combination of the names “Zach” and “Frankie,” Zach met Frankie, an openly gay man, in the Big Brother house.  They pretty much instantly became great friends (called a “Bromance” on Big Brother), and possibly something more in the romantic sense.  Zach says that Frankie is one of the funniest and smartest people he knows, and those are the most important qualities to him in other people.  They were more than typically physically affectionate for two guys while together in the BB House, often hugging and cuddling each other.  But, Zach, in a few of the serious interviews I’ve read online, professes that he is straight and that Frankie is just his best friend.  But his words, actions and reactions to Frankie in the Big Brother House, and after leaving, seem to go contrary to that of a straight man.  And there are still a bunch of Big Brother fans that are hoping that the relationship develops into something more.  This was the main fuel for the trending of #Zankieween on October 31, 2014.

Being an introspective personality, I have given some deep thought about why I (a middle-aged, happily married, straight woman) am so fascinated with this young kid from Florida, and additionally, his relationship with his friend Frankie.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I genuinely like Zach’s personality. He is energetic, funny and clever.  Even though he is highly sarcastic, I still can sense that he is a good-hearted person.  I have not seen a boring interview of Zach Rance yet.  He just doesn’t take himself, life or other people too seriously, which is a quality I admire.  He also seems to have a supporting and loving relationship with his younger brother and the rest of his family.  Moms love this.
  • But most importantly, I am impressed with his bravery. He is not afraid to openly express his feelings and emotions, at least some of the time.  I think this is what got me hooked.  He professed to Frankie that he was in love with him on the show, and he knew that thousands of people could see the footage.  He wasn’t afraid to be physically close with Frankie on the show with everyone watching.  He is also, evident after #Zankieween, still friends and physically close with Frankie even though it may go against the theory that he is straight.  I wish I were as brave as Zach, and I desire to be more open expressing myself and my thoughts, emotions and feelings.
  • I simply enjoy a romantic, “odds are against it,” love story. Just as I like watching a fictional “chick flick,” I enjoy the suspense and possibility that there could be something more, and that everything will turn out great in the end, even with difficultly and betrayal in the relationship (Frankie betrayed Zach on Big Brother).  What I think makes this even more interesting to me, is that these are actual people, not just fictional characters.  Will there be a “Happily Ever After?”

Irregardless of my temporary state of teen-aged-like obsession, it doesn’t really matter to me whether or not Zach has romantic feelings for Frankie.  There is a true love that exists between the two of them.  Whether it is romantic or platonic – it truly doesn’t matter to me.  Love is so much bigger than those limiting ideas.  And in the end, what is more important than rooting for love?