Dear Dr. Feelgood, A Realization Of My Biggest Weakness
My ‘happy doc’ only needs to prescribe retail therapy
Dr. Feelgood tends to evoke images of a man who wears platforms with a perspex heel and aviator-style glasses. A doc who is more likely to be found with the pockets of his coat lined full of hallucinogens, than a stethoscope around his shoulders.
Yet, the original Dr. Feelgood was a very real entity. A medical professional who peddled homemade ‘booster’ cocktails to Hollywood’s illustrious stars and Washington’s elite. They called on him for his signature mix of amphetamines, vitamins, and tranquilizers to cure what ailed them. Or at least, numb the pain for long enough.
When it comes to my maladies, I don’t need a prescription, referrals, or placebo pills. I just need a computer and a checking account balance that isn’t teetering into the negative. Shopping is the only medication strong enough to give me the euphoric high I seek.
I associate the ring of a cashier drawer, the footsteps of the UPS man, and the rustling of gift wrap with an unrivaled sense of ecstacy. It doesn’t take an expert in a white coat brandishing an Ivy League qualification to tell me what the crux of my addiction is either. Instant gratification in the format of self-gifting has always been my crutch. Celebrations mean “add to cart”. Accomplishments equate to, “Do you have these shoes in a size 8?” As for life’s milestones; I have a graveyard of unworn investment pieces comparative to all those moments.
Some of my most treasured pieces can be traced back to my happiest personal achievements, thus releasing that serotonin all over again as soon as they come off the hanger. And while nothing else seems to initiate that buyers bliss quite like a splurge, I am fully aware that there are just as many purchases that correlate with the not-so-feel-good times.
I moved to New York to pursue my dream of working in fashion. My initial attempts to make it had their high points, but after some setbacks I found myself working in a restaurant. It wasn’t where I wanted to be, literally or figuratively. Yet, as anyone who served their time serving tables will tell you: a steady influx of $$$ has a knack for putting your problems on the back-burner. My closet is rife with the purchases I made, exhausted, to brighten my day after double shifts. Somewhere along the way, it became almost necessary to hotfoot it to Fifth Avenue with my hard-earned cash and exchange it for something tangible (and usually, long and flowing in a floral print) to lift my mood.
My closet is like the visual representation of a diary that I wish I kept during those times; vintage jackets to cover-up my feelings of frustration with my stalled career; retro two-piece sets and gypset-style maxi skirts for a lifestyle I definitely wasn’t leading. Clothes are funny like that. Trying them on, even years later, can still make you feel good even if their origin were the results of low points or disillusionment.
A year ago, I hung up my apron, that one piece of clothing I definitely never asked for, to concentrate on doing what I needed to: writing. I moved to LA where I could shed both the weight of bulky winter layers and the heavy burden of feeling unfulfilled.
Still, if feelings of elation or desolation arise: I tend to get itchy fingers for my Dr. Feelgood fix. Luckily, it only takes five minutes - less than the time it generally takes to get a doctor’s prognosis. No need for mind altering substance, my vice usually comes in the form of something embroidered or embellished - and it’s usually with me in five to seven business days.
*adds to cart*
Photos by the wonderful Lauren Lotz
Iris Dress by Rixo