Friday, May 22, 2015

Cold Turkey and Everyone's Hungry.

On the long road trip to spring break last month I triumphantly declared to my husband that I have pretty much learned all there is to learn through this "no new clothes" challenge. If I remember correctly I did indeed use "air quotes" and eye rolling to emphasize the fact that it was all just a bunch of silliness. Silliness,  it appeared I was ready to be done with.

I had arrived.  Lessons were learned,  my eyes opened, and seeds of contentment sown.   I could wear the same shirt for days because I was so enlightened.

In a humbling twist of thought, the moment I think I've learned all I can, becomes precisely the moment in which I have so much more to learn.

I thought I had it licked.  I could declare my purchasing purity and it wasn't really as hard as I thought.  Sure, I saw all the new spring hues and trends starting to appear on the arms and legs of my peers,  but I would burrow into my closet and find something suitable to me, and I'd survive.   The hardest part was picking out something to wear from my old news selections,  but once I was dressed --I didn't think twice about it.

That felt like progress.   And it was.
But probably not enough. 4 months wasn't the end all to this challenge as I learned shortly after my victorious rant in the van.

My success thus far cannot be attributed to my strong will and resolve - But probably more to my complete and intentional avoidance of placing myself in situations where I would be faced with temptation.  In other words,  I was avoiding stores like the plague.

My kids would clammer,  "Mom!  why don't we have like, any food?!"

My husband would woefully discover no soda in the refrigerator.

My Target card had a zero balance.

I ordered take out Pizza two times in one week.

In an effort to avoid what I thought was temptation, but was really just frustration with the fact that I couldn't get what I want,  I cut myself off. Cold Turkey.

That truth hit me when we were in Florida and the ladies were going to take a morning and do a little vacation mall shopping.   Vacation shopping is special and my favorite.  Since, when on vacation the wallet is a little loose and the impulse buys are more acceptable.  My daughter really wanted to go and I felt uneasy.
Do I stay?
Do I go?
I don't know.
The group of gals we vacationed with were extremely gracious and understood why I stayed home.  Even my daughter seemed OK when I shared that "I better just stay home so I don't buy any clothes"

She was picked up and as the minivan that carried her drove away,  I felt horrible.   Somehow this challenge had taken over in a way that I needed to adjust.   I was missing a moment with my daughter and friends so I could keep myself comfortable.

I've written here before that shopping isn't only about the acquisition of stuff, it can also be about spending time together and connecting.  I need to find a way to do this.   

So tomorrow,  I will go with my girl to Target.  She's grown like a flower and needs a few new summer duds.
We will drive there together,  we will loiter,
I will want to buy her a floral dress and she will say "ugh, no."
I will make eye contact with the Women's Clearance rack and respectfully walk away.
We will get a Starbucks Frappucino.   She might tell me how she feels about entering middle school next fall.
And I will learn that although this year will be annoying and frustrating at times...
that's precisely the way it's supposed to be.

Also.  It's really time to grocery get. We can't survive on box wine and string cheese!

Monday, May 04, 2015

caramel colored loopholes.

I had a few moments of weakness early in this challenge.

When 2015 was brand spanking new I was dilly-dallying with the idea of not buying any new clothes for one year.  I was "trying it out" just to see if I could get 2 weeks into the new year without a clothing purchase.

I did it!

You may be sarcastically thinking,  wow! what a feat!
I know.  It's laughable.  But not easy.

During that time I was hot after a pair of caramel colored booties.
I had ordered and returned 2 pair prior to Christmas because the first one didn't fit tight enough around my ankles and the other pair smelled like moth balls.
So there I sat,  in January with a nice credit on my ModCloth account.   (Oh, how I miss you

SO, what's a girl with no caramel colored booties to do?

Find a loophole.  So...technically ... I bought the boots in December.
Make the rationalization.  I can't just let ModCloth keep my money!
Do what I want.   I ordered the booties 

And it felt right.
Until it didn't.
The boots sat in their pretty box in my closest for a week or so, as I debated if I could/should wear them. Technically speaking, they were new and purchased during the reign of Contentment 365.

It confounds me how shifty my thoughts can be! If one day I am unsure that the boots are legit, the next day I wear them because they and only they could complete my outfit.

What I am beginning to see as a bigger picture here is just how easily I loophole my way to get what I want.
Sometimes it's a mindless click of a mouse,
Other times it is a twist of thought.
Most commonly it's a manipulation of truth.

It's a changing season...  I need new shoes.
It's Spring Break... I need a new swimsuit.
I feel fugly today.  I for sure need a new floral dress.
It's finally Friday and I made it though the week.  Steer me to the nearest sale rack!

I did wear the boots a handful of times the last couple of months,  hoping no one would notice the new shoe shine and my sad little failure.

They didn't.  (Or maybe they did and were quietly kind) 

Yet my eyes have been opened if but a bit more.
And I suppose that's what this year might be about.

To identify the deliciously caramel colored loopholes in my life... and close them.

More posts in this series:
Life Lessons From First Grade
Blue Light Special
To Be Clothed In Contentment