Greetings and welcome to post #47! If this is your first visit to Shopping my Wardrobe, a special welcome to you today. For the new visitor, you might find a quick tour around some of our most popular articles helpful…. last week’s posting shows you where you might like to stop off for a quick visit, before coming back to you join us here.
Today is the halfway point of the challenge. It is June 15 2010 and I’ve been on this challenge for six months. The photo accompanying this posting is apt – it’s a real road sign from the town of Kimba in South Australia, which is situated halfway across Australia on the Eyre Highway. I’ve not been to Kimba but it could be that that sign is the most interesting thing there. The outback is only romantic in the movies.
You said it was big, but I never knew it was…. big! Ok! So, we’re halfway huh? Who knew I’d make it this far? C’mon – show of hands now, don’t be shy. I’m a pretty stick-at-it kind of person; there’s not much I simply give up on. But this was a real challenge, not one of those faux challenges that aren’t really hard at all. Nosiree – no mock quest here! And why was this such a challenge? Well, let’s start with the obvious. I love clothes. Some of them even love me. My wardrobe is humongous — if you want to see some shots of it, check out the NZTV segment from Breakfast. I felt a little exposed, with so much footage of my wardrobe on that segment, but then again, I did send them the file and it kinda puts this challenge into perspective, right? Anyway, it gives you a visual of how large my wardrobe is. It has furniture in for Pradas sake! I have been known to sit in with with a girlfriend, champagne glasses in hand, for minutes at a time.
If you build it….This is one of the reasons this challenge has been a true test for me. I’ve been building my wardrobe for over a decade – I buy well so I don’t need to throw things out for seasonal reasons – if it’s not “in” it can’t really go “out”. And I like what I have so I don’t tend to throw things out for “I’m over this now” reasons – I’m fairly loyal to my clothes. I don’t have many ‘orphans’ so I don’t need to throw things out because they don’t work — everything in my wardrobe pays its rent and plays well with all my other clothes.
Tell me again… why? Being asked this question a few times recently, I’ve had time to reflect on and polish up my answer to it. And halfway through the challenge is a good time to review why I’m doing this challenge. There are actually five reasons I’m doing this challenge, which you can skip on over to the new site and read. What I’d like to talk about today, on this special day, are the psychological and emotional reasons (Reason #3).
Psyched, man! The biggest thing I have learned so far on this challenge is that I’ve had an unconscious set of habits around clothing consumption (that’s part A) and that I truly am able to develop new habits (that’s part B). Ok, so I know about changing habits and patterns – that’s been a large part of the work I did as a corporate facilitator, coach and trainer. But it’s one thing to help other people attempt to change their habits and patterns, and it’s quite another to be your own best coach and change your own.
I’m calling this the Silencing of the Seagulls. Remember the seagulls from Finding Nemo – chanting “mine! mine! mine!” when they saw something (like a potato chip) they wanted? That’s what the voice in my head was like when I saw something in a store that I desired. And I’m talking clothes, shoes, earrings, handbags, here, people…
Emotocon. Well, forget the ‘con’. The emotional stuff has been owning up to that voice — who wants to admit you have Pixar characters in your brain? — and really claiming that. The 9.6 degree of difficulty with this manoeuvre is not making myself bad or wrong because of it. I’ve felt a range of emotions as I’ve reflected on my buying behaviour – a dusting of delight, a spritz of shame, a pinch of pleasure, a sprinkle of self-loathing…. you know, the usual.
What this buffet table of emotions has led me to is recognition that there is stuff to be uncovered, work to be done, unconsciousness to be awoken in this a-here space. And I’m doing it. Some days the editing voice is strong (“you idiot – how could you have gotten into a situation where you own 3, yes, 3, animal print trench coats? children in India don’t even have one!”). Carl Jung spoke to this point when he said “we cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses”. So, being a fan of Jung, on other days I’m kinder on myself (“you genius! how did you ever convince yourself to buy 3, yes 3, animal print trench coats! there are women in Paris who only own two!”).
So far, the emotional and psychological factors have been the biggest hurdles and the most rewarding wins… I feel like I’ve just come out of the Thieves Forest. A sense of satisfaction at where I’ve come from, and a growing sense of anticipation about what’s to come. And who knows what the next 6 months will bring? Large hail? Damaging winds? Margaritas with umbrellas?
Thank you. To those who have supported me by reading this blog and contacting me “off-blog” with words of inspiration, encouragement and support… I salute you. I’ve never yearned to be Robinson Crusoe and don’t believe that anything worthwhile is ever accomplished on one’s own. Basically, I need you. There, I said it. I need you to keep reading, to keep emailing, and to keep sending those cheques. Ok, no-one has sent a cheque, but it’s never too late to start, right? Ha!
What now? Well, it’s onward and upward… another six months to go. My focus will remain on blogging my usual fresh, fruity and faintly informed insights here. And I’d like to grow this blog a little. You can help! I’d love it if you could share the word about the challenge and this blog and its matching website…. If you’re new here and aren’t yet signed up to read my blogs as they’re published, please do — it’s free! (and you wont get sent any rubbishy emails) — When you sign up, it tells me I have a readership (and any passing literary agents that we have a potential best-seller…. sorry, did I say that out loud?). When you write into the great boundless blogosphere, knowing people are reading makes a huge difference to your levels of enthusiasm. (Why am I writing that in the third person? It makes a huge difference to my levels of enthusiasm!) So thanks for reading, thanks for being (or becoming) a Follower, and thanks for sharing the word.
Your own year without clothes shopping? If this idea has taken root somewhere in your brain or body…. pay attention! I wish I’d had what I’m developing to help me as I’ve been going through this challenge…. But you don’t have to wish – I’m building it, just for you. Oooh, what a creative delight this project represents! I guess that’s what Albert Einstein meant (I’m pulling out the big guns with the quotes in this post, aren’t I?) when he said “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. Right?