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Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to The Shabby Suitcase - a blog documenting the creative outlets and general wanderings of a nomadic twenty-something. 


The latest adventure.


A Consumer Rebellion

Marissa Conway

the look: top by Anthropologie, pants by Pilcro and the Letterpress, sunnies from Target, thrifted shoes

For all the growth and change a person can muster, I often find that people (myself included!) will unintentionally place others within a static box, holding only a snapshot of what they understand of a person, rarely taking the lid off to allow for expansion.  It can be easier to boil people down to a few key personality markers and descriptors - it certainly makes humanity less complicated, more rational.  Just as I am guilty of having done so to countless others, this very phenomena has happened to me too, twice distinctly.  Once, in high school, when I was a self-proclaimed princess, defined by a closet full of designer clothing and a mind warped by the twisted societal expectations of womanhood.  I still notice that on occasion, and much to my amusement, my old classmates will fall back to this assumption of my character, sometimes even confused as to how I ended up a feminist, because I just loved shopping so much (and the two are clearly incompatible).

The second was after college, when perhaps in defiant response to the slightly conceited and extremely materialistic Marissa of the past, I became small, as humble as I possibly could, pouring myself out to help others and keeping nothing for myself.  I started shopping exclusively at thrift stores, determined to attain minimalist enlightenment, desperately attempting to evade the hunger for acquisition - forgetting that there can be a light beauty in a soft dress, dreamy happiness in a pair of green linen pants, as long as I don't let that rule my mind.  But my world at the time was a world of absolutes - if I wasn't living simply for the sake of serving others, then I was feeding my ego, the greedy beast I had been warned would consume me if I didn't let go of my world.  And while my reality has since shifted, I find myself occasionally viewed through that lens - the forever activist, the girl who binds herself to impossible ideas of a faithful justice and leaves no room for her messy humanity.

I suppose the current version of myself is trying to pull these pieces together, trying to walk the ethical line of consumerism while still allowing for moments of indulgence, giving myself permission to gaze at and even own rather frivolous things while remaining grounded.  Permission to buy the crop top from Urban Outfitters that makes me feel like Beyonce despite their CEO's conservative political views.  My mom told me I'm going through a rebellion against myself.  I can't help but laugh that this might include shopping at stores like Urban Outfitters or American Apparel - my consumer rebellion, in fact, calls for consuming a bit more!  So it would seem that my new me is performing a balancing act as I embrace the bold call of feminism while indulging in the siren call of beautiful clothing - or in other words, attempting to mix what some would see as oil and water.  Can it be done?  I believe so!  But check back in a few years when time has worn me down a bit, and I may very well say this eccentric caprice might have been nothing more than foolish whimsy.