Fingers inside your skull push your eyeballs up towards your brain. Your knees lose the ability to hold up your body, their sides feel like they are in zero gravity.
The first one gets rejected. You have a prescience about it. But for now, you know that it's not good enough. It's going to be a long day. You walk the next hundred miles within the centrally heated glass cage with your symptoms getting worse.
They have a place for those like you; tired, stressed people quickly deteriorating into a darker realm of consciousness. You reach this area of the forlorn and exchange pathetic glances with your fellow sufferers. You realise that although they feel your pain, they cannot help you. Their presence makes you more miserable, their pitiable faces multiply your tribulation so that you cannot share the cushions of suffering anymore. You escape from the frying pan.
It is time to opine on a sequined flutter of red, purple, mauve, magenta. You look up in desperation to understand whether an approval, rejection or something in between is sought. You are not sure, so you go with implied thoughtfulness -- a good point counterbalanced by a bad one. The reaction makes you proud, it's been many years and you have learned your lessons well.
You're now near the end, the plastic bags in your hand are drawn to the earth, as if magnetized. However, your experience overrides your fading strength. Like a champion boxer, you know that the abuse must be suffered, yielding to the ache and staying knocked down would mean humiliation and defeat. The circuitous path leads you to the beginning of the journey.
At the portal to this world, faced with Hobson's choice, you knew you would be back. But there's much to be proud of. Even though you are poorer and enervated, you smile to yourself when you observe that the cushions of suffering are vacant. You have survived.
The trek whose defining characteristic was its lack of definition is in its final hour. You muster up everything that is within you and say, "I think this is it. This is the dress, honey." She smiles with contentment, the shopping will soon be over.
Images combined from here and here.