Carefully yet offensively dissecting the Christmas message: Thoughts on shopping, fashion and brand-names

The concept of shopping is something that couldn't possibly be further away from my world. Going into a shop (other than groceries, of course) is something I would do only on the rarest of occations - and then only if I really did need a pair of trousers or a jacket or whatever. And even then I am likely to walk into a Tescos or Asda (Wal-Mart, for the Americans in the audience) first, in the hope they had something there I liked - because I basically think clothes are a waste of money, no matter how much I would pay for them.

The idea of actually voluntarily walking into a shop, look around, and move on to the next shop is alien to me. The further idea of spending several hundred pounds on an item of clothing that isn't substantial (I can imagine spending several hundred on a good winter jacket or a pair of walking shoes, but those are warmth / comfort issues, rather than fashion statements), such as a pair of jeans, a top or whatever, is not part of reality as I can understand.

The few occations I actually *do* buy branded goods, it's because they are actually better: I use Canon cameras because Sigma doesn't cut it. I buy Apple computers because Dell sucks balls. (or rather. I buy Apple computers because Dell won't run OS X). But in just about every other part of life I can think off, I'm happy buying something cheaper. I have never owned something that has been stamped with a brand name unless it was given to me by someone, and even then I didn't have any stronger affiliation with the item than I would with a £7.99 sweater from Asda or Hennes & Mauritz.

I know that I work in the fashion industry, but even then I didn't manage to understand why some of the items were several hundred - nay - several thousand pounds for clothes that frankly, I could have knit / sewn myself. And I don't even know how to knit or sow.

I think I am slowly growing to realise that my dislike for fashion clothes actually goes further than me personally - I have started to look down on the people around me who are deeply interested / occupied with fashion and brands, with a thought somewhat along the lines of "Gah, if they need fashion clothing to cover up their personality, I want nothing to do with them". In most cases, sadly enough, it appears to be the case.

When going to VIP-functions and similar events especially, I feel like screaming out: "No, I dont give a flying fuck if your dress is armani or if your shoes are gucci or if your vibrating anal butt plug was designed by burberry, nor do I want to know the price of any of these items. The more you seem to care how much your clothes cost, the less likely I am to like you! Now fuck off".

See, there are a few people who manage to do it gracefully. They wear fashion items, but don't tell anyone about it - until they notice themselves. Which means that it is completely lost on me: I would never notice somebodys clothes, because I generally don't see them as part of a person. I occationally compliment someone on their clothing, but that is only when I am present-minded enough to realise that someone has made some sort of effort, not because I actually like it or because I give a flying fuck.

The fashion industry is a sick, diseased puppy. And it worries me how many people seem to be willing to stroke it anyway.

Frigid night
A certain star
Seems to flutter
Unnaturally bright

Shadows grow late
In the deepening dark
Are becoming too black
As if solid, living, lying in wait

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a time, and a place where great change is about to take place, and this everyday world that I move around in is soon going to be different forever. Now, I begin to fear that one of two things will happen. I fear that it is my country's citizens that will be slaughtered in the streets as they as blasted into a thin vaporous haze; it will be my country that will be seen as the enemy of freedom on earth for its actions against others and its blatant abuses and disregard of others; that change will come, but it will not be the change toward peace and unity that I envisioned. -Or- I fear that this country will go on as it has been, taking charge where it feels it should, when it feels it should, regardless of anything else; I fear our continued centrism, ignorance and hedonistic gluttony. I fear that what is bad about my country will spread, and what is good will shrink. Either way, I worry that as a nation, there will be no massive movement toward peace and restoration. I am afraid; the president has created in me what he set out to. Yet despite all of this; I hope. I hope, if for nothing else, that the next four years will go by lightning fast, as if I had dreamed them and suddenly wake up to something brighter than this.

I find myself clinging to my home and those things in my life that I love with a strange ferocity.

My mother's health keeps sliding down. It gets harder to be positive about anything around her; she seems like she's in nearly constant pain. I really want to just be able to fucking do something more to help her; I've never felt so helpless about anything in my life. I feel like a spectator, watching the sort of thing you'd normally turn your eyes away from, yet I keep trying to charge in to help, knowing that no matter what I do, it'll make no difference. My only consolation is that I know, to her, I matter. But to myself, watching my actions from some disembodied perch above me, I look like a fool who knows too little about what it means to live in this world, really live, really carve out a life with a few cents in your pocket and no one to do the thinking for you.

In the last couple of years, I've learned more about the world than I ever thought I could, and with a speed that is astounding. To this academic girl who thought life was created through the study of information and the acquisition of knowledge, reality is both much simpler and much more fucking subtle than my university-trained brain could've ever wrapped around.

Does this make any sense? These are the words that I've longed to say to someone now for years, and reading them now, I get it. I've just crashed into the meaning of life, and it's more gritty and common and comprehensible than I would've imaged.

Maybe I'm just young, and trying to find my way.

At work, I've learned what it's like to know people, and let them know me. I've realized that my old desire to seem "mysterious" really just makes me look like a bitch, and while I'm not looking to toss all my eggs in one basket all the time, I've realized that my old ways were just a means to hide myself for fear of being hurt, or scrutinized, for having the flaws that all of us have: average body image, nervousness in large groups of strangers, being a bit unsure of my place in the world.

I've learned that it's okay to sweat, it's alright if my hair looks a bit windblown or disheveled, and who cares if I've got a mark on my khakis where my uncapped pen cleaved an uneven arc through the air as it tumbled to the floor. I've learned to remove the pole from my ass.

A point: I've lived "harder," poorer, and occasionally, sadder than I ever have. Yet, overall, I feel strangely like I'm really getting to the heart of who I am even though life quite literally is kicking the ever-loving shit out of me.

Another point of all of this is: thank you. I've been poking about this website for awhile now, off and on, but now I see it with the fresh eyes of an actual noder and participant. While I'm still new and trying to figure things out, I am very thankful for this site and it's collection of poets, prose writers, factual noding geniuses, and those of you cool enough to master these three and more. I'm grateful to those of you who have sent me messages of encouragement and gratitude for what I've done. There's something in me that needs this place. In places like this, with people like those here, sometimes you feel like you can't ever give enough back.

Found on my floor whilst cleaning and listening to Led Zeppelin's III, writ upon the back of a Land & Sea Diner placemat:

"What if the father of mathematics has an abortion?" - Phil
"That was the most titannically and deliciously irrational statement I've heard in a while." - Joe

Shrapnel Flakes! They're grr-rr-arr!
Now there's a great slogan:
Tired of your children?

Andrey: "Mommy, why does this milk smell like gasoline? ...Don't worry..."

"Here, come sit on this holy hand grenade, it'll fill you with spirituality...and lead..." -G'zone

"If they had a movie, 3 hours of this guy drinking coffee, it would make sense. He was thirsty, he drank coffee. It makes sense. Minority Report doesn't do that." -Andrey

"Am I going to have my leg torn off and shoved up my ass?" -Dan
"Depends on if you pay or not." -Phil

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