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Yes, You Can Buy Happiness

With products that target ‘90s nostalgia, a writer makes a case for purchasing some peace of mind

Watching Selena Quintanilla per­form in the early ’90s was, for me, a religious experience. Her thick, brown hair formed a halo as she danced onstage singing “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” beaming into my living room with that magnetic smile and signature bedazzled bra—which I tried to replicate, although I had yet to reach puberty.

She was a popular Mexican- American Tejano singer from Corpus Christi, Texas. I was an 11-year-old immigrant from Iran living in Los Angeles and navigating an identity crisis. Witnessing her seamlessly blend dual cultures, in music and style, helped me come to terms with who I wanted to be. Though Selena died young—shot by a friend in 1995—her legacy helps me re­member who I had been: a shy junior high schooler who took comfort in creating distance from the outside world in order to recover from it. Listening to Selena now, I’m taken back to my childhood room, where I wrote bad poetry in my journal and choreographed dance routines to her songs, safe from anyone’s judg­ment but my own.

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