Friday, January 14, 2011

Shopping & My Ex-Husband

My most depressing and most empowering shopping experiences were both because of my ex-husband.

Shopping for a maternity wedding dress used on eBay was the single most depressing shopping experience of my life. All five plus size dresses available were ridiculously, ludicrously white. There were ruffles and flounces and fabric trains all desperately trying to hide (and thus drawing even more attention to) THE BELLY. The belly made it down the aisle half a second before I did, protuberant as it was on the day of my ill-fated nuptials. I ended up wearing my sister's wedding dress, altered to fit my third-trimester girth.

The best, most satisfying shopping experience I have EVER had happened two and a half years later, long after I'd left the drunken lout I married because I didn't want my son to be a bastard (which, it turns out, doesn't matter *at all*.)

There was a phone call, and then a 16-page hand-written death threat (that rhymed, badly), and then QUICKLY after that there was a restraining order. But that was what started my PTSD. That was the first blow that led to my confined state.

I went with a friend, at the advice of one of my university's mental health counselors, to the local Army/Navy surplus store. I walked inside and a man who looked like Jamie from MythBusters greeted me at the door.

"Hi, what can I help you with today?"
"I'm looking for something in personal protection."

He spent a full hour with me, letting me test out his wares on a martial arts dummy. I ended up leaving with a pepper spray keychain (in hot pink! Fashion-fear doesn't have to be all black, m'dears) and an extendable steel baton (which I loved but then lent to a friend who never returned it.) He didn't load me down with weaponry I was likely to have used against me (why arm your assailant with a gun if they don't already have one?) and he didn't belittle me. It was at least as good as the therapy for helping me deal with that semester of school.

Maybe I should buy more weapons. I carried knives all through high school and I know it helped me with my sense of fear. Panic attacks are such a bitch, ya know? But weapons don't seem so great when you have a get-into-everything 5-year-old in the house.

Any suggestions?

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