Okay, so I finally I screwed up my courage and did what my therapists have been asking me to do for the last 2 years.....
I voluntarily went shopping at the mall--- by myself.
Yep, I did it. And it would actually kill 2 birds with one stone. One, that I would finally do what my dang therapists have been preaching to me for the last 2 years; and two, I have been drooling over the above Coach handbag (on the internet) for months---but I would need to actually see it in person to find out if it had all the characteristics I wanted. But going outside in public, especially to a mall, was a daunting task for which I could barely find a tiny bit of what my therapists call "doing the opposite of what you feel" and also "willingness". Willingness schmillingness.
And so I went. And I found out something disturbing---I can barely hold a meaningful conversation with strangers in public. For some reason I couldn't hear what the salesgirls were saying. Maybe that was because my blood was rushing through my ears out of nervousness. And so, I kept having to ask them (multiple times) to repeat themselves. And I was stuttering so bad that I wasn't making any sense in my sentences. I know they thought I was retarded or something.
And in addition, it makes me hideously uncomfortable for a sales person to come try to help me. I just want to skulk around, checking things, finding my size, etc.---and I absolutely abhor sales people who come up and nearly assault me in their quest to find things for me. I just don't like anybody in public paying attention to me when I want to stay quietly in the background, looking for whatever it is that I want.
I wanted to raise up a cross and a string of garlic bulbs whenever those damn pushy sales people approached me.
For example, I walked by this one kiosk where the girls there were selling hand lotion and fingernail products. And let me tell you, they were the most aggressive sales girls that I've ever experienced in my life. I clearly said "no thank you" when one of them approached me----but then she ignored that declaration and grabbed my hand---and put lotion on it! Then she asked if I always keep my fingernails "natural" with no polish. I made the giant mistake of saying "um...yes, I guess"----and then she produced a nail buffer the size of a bar of Zest soap and started vigorously buffing my fingernails on that hand which she had in a vice grip. She buffed and buffed, and I kept tugging on my hand to make my escape, repeatedly telling her that "I've got to go"--- but she kept on buffing!!! What the hell? Finally she let go of my hand and said "look!" So I looked and, sure enough, my dull "natural" fingernails were shiny and pretty---without polish or anything.
But I didn't want a fingernail buffer and so I forcefully extricated myself from her and kept on walking. But then...when I was finished shopping and had to turn around to head towards the mall exit---I was mortified to realize I had to pass that kiosk all over again! And sure enough, I was ten feet away from it when that same sales girl began hollering out her spiel to me. This time I knew better and tore ass away from her as fast as I could, heading towards the mall exit--- and away from her and other aggressive sales people who don't take no for an answer.
I haven't been to a mall in so long that I was overwhelmed with all the stimulation of so many stores and all the music coming from the inside of each store. And I was amazed to see a full sized merry-go-round in front of Dillards. It was huge and the ponies were brightly colored and just begging to be ridden. But since it was fairly early in the morning there were no kids riding the merry-go-round--- and so it was going round and round with no riders on the sad ponies.
I did so want to ride one of those ponies....
This mall trip was a huge step for me--- to go out in public to shop. And to a mall, no less. I had been putting it off for weeks. So I imagine my mobile therapist will be happy as a lark about it. But it was such an unpleasant experience that I doubt I'll repeat it again any time soon. I did get the things I wanted but I felt like it was guerrilla warfare between me and the sales people who descended on me every time I turned around---and I felt excruciatingly shameful that I couldn't talk coherently whenever I wanted to make myself understood to one of them. I really didn't feel any triumph at all over this first foray into the outside environment by myself... Sigh.... * *