I’m grateful for the wonderful comments and emails I received on my last two posts, “Recapping Balance and Striving for Peace” and “The End Game of Project 333 and Capsule Wardrobes.” I’m always happy when my writing resonates with readers and I appreciate those who took the time to let me know that what I wrote was meaningful to them. I’m actually quite proud of these two essays, as well as much of the content I’ve published in the past four years.
The Value of the “Power Pause”
I’ve often written about the “power pause” (a term borrowed from Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe”) as a helpful technique for cutting down on mindless shopping and compulsive buying. So many of us feel utterly convinced in the moment that we have to have a particular item of clothing, but if we push ourselves to wait for a couple of days – or even a few hours – that need often dissipates. I use this technique as much as possible, even if it means leaving items in my online shopping cart overnight or having to backtrack to a brick-and-mortar store the next day to buy something. More often than not, I don’t end up purchasing the item in question because the passage of time shows me that it’s just not critical to my wardrobe or my life. I simply don’t need it as much as I thought I did, if at all. The power pause has saved me a lot of money I might have spent on items I didn’t really need or even want. It’s also saved me countless hours spent on making returns, as well as deep feelings of guilt regarding the sheer waste of it all.
So much has been going through my mind since I published my last post. Crystallizing the thoughts I shared with you earlier this month was a breakthrough for me and has created an opening for new breakthroughs. I believe that this is the year when things will finally fall more into place for me after years of feeling stuck in the mire of my anxiety and discontent. Granted, I still feel stuck in many ways, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel, a clearing for a new and better reality.
Seeing a Clearing for a New and Better Reality…
Today’s post is another one I’ve been intending to write since the beginning of the year, but I wasn’t able to slow down and take the time to pull it all together. These more introspective essays don’t necessarily take longer to write than the ones with lots of photos and numbers, but they are more difficult for me to complete. I need to have the internal clarity in order to be able to express myself in a way that makes sense. My brain has felt like a big jumble for quite a while now with so much inner noise that it’s been hard for me to relax or sleep.
Back in September, I attended the San Diego session of Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour.” As I mentioned in my post the following day, knowing that I’d be attending this talk motivated me to create a hypothetical summer Project 333 capsule wardrobe (which I later decided to dress with for the month of October). At that time, I promised to share some of the insights I gained from the Tiny Wardrobe Tour presentation, but I haven’t been able to do so until now…
Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour” – September 2016, San Diego
A lot of thoughts came up for me during Courtney’s talk and I found myself on the verge of tears several times. I started capturing my thoughts shortly after the event, but I was unable to finish the post for some reason. I came back to it a couple of times, but ended up leaving it unfinished again. It wasn’t until this week that I was able to complete it to my satisfaction and share my musings here. Sometimes we need to sit with something for a while, and perhaps what’s happened in my life over the ensuing months has helped to crystalize the lessons in my mind.
Today’s post kicks off a series of at least two installments on the topics of weight, body image, shopping, and personal style. These subjects have been at the top of my mind lately, as I’ve experienced some weight fluctuations resulting from health challenges and hormonal changes. This has been going on for months now, but sometimes things feel too emotionally raw for me to post about. However, since I realize that I’m not alone in these struggles, I’ve broached the subject in my private Facebook group and will do so here as well.
How does your body image affect your shopping and style?
As someone with a long history of eating disorders (which I wrote about here) and negative body image (I even used to have a blog about that topic), it’s very challenging for me to deal with what I’ve been going through lately. What makes it even more problematic is that I don’t really understand the reasons for my body shifts or what to do about them (I’m not overeating and I continue to exercise regularly). It’s often difficult for me to get dressed and I sometimes don’t feel good about how I look at all. I experienced similar issues in the early days of the blog, which I wrote about in this April 2013 post. Interestingly, I could basically write the same words again today, except I also have the specter of turning 50 hanging over my head (just over a month now…).
I have been writing this blog for almost 3.5 years now (here’s my very first post, from January 2, 2013). When I started, I thought it was perhaps a one-year endeavor or maybe two years at the most. I believed that through setting goals and rules and writing about my motivations and behavior, I would overcome my compulsive shopping problem in relatively short order. I never expected to attract as many readers as I have or continue the blog for as long as I have. But the readers came (for which I’m very thankful) and it hasn’t been as easy for me to recover as I thought it would be.
This was a typical scene for me before I started this blog…
Earlier this year, I published two posts on the topic of recovery, both my own and in general:
I also shared insights from my private Facebook group on the causes of members’ shopaholic behavior. These are all great posts that I’m quite proud of, but I’d like to further the discussion today and get more personal about the state of my recovery.
Thank you to all those who responded to my last post, both in the comments section and via email. I was very touched by the tremendous amount of support, encouragement, and advice that I received. I loved reading your stories and perspectives on the issues of going gray, aging, dealing with hair woes, and more. Because I know that many subscribers don’t read the comments, I’ve decided to share some of the input I received in a follow-up post today. This post can also serve as a resource on this issue for those who need it, as it’s a lot easier to find and navigate than perusing the comments.
For those who aren’t particularly interested in this subject, don’t worry. I will return to writing about shopping, wardrobe, and style-related topics shortly (I invite you to check out my archives of over 350 articles if you’d like to read about one of those topics today). But I know that for me and many others, there are a lot of emotions attached to hair. I’ve known for many years that I’ve resided in a sort of “hair prison,” but it was more comfortable for me to stick with the status quo than try to change. It’s only the rapid approach of the big 5-0 that has led me to think more deeply about what I want for the rest of my life, and I’ve decided that I want to release myself from my self-imposed bondage.
I’ll be sharing more thoughts on turning 50 as the milestone approaches, as I have been quite introspective in recent months. But for today, I hope you enjoy these words of wisdom from readers.
In less than three months, I will turn 50. As is often the case with milestone birthdays, I am experiencing some anxiety around moving into a new decade and have been giving a lot of thought to the transition and what it means to me. Although it could be said that it’s just a number and age doesn’t really mean anything, that’s not how I’ve been feeling. I decided to do a few “stream of consciousness” posts leading up to the big day (August 8) to share my thoughts and insights. This first post will focus on issues related to my appearance, specifically around my hair.
But You Don’t Look 50…
I’m often told that I don’t look 50 and I take that as a compliment. It’s nice to look younger, especially since I have not yet availed myself of Botox, fillers, or plastic surgery (save the rhinoplasty I had following a bicycle accident at age 20). But there is one thing I do to stay looking younger, I color my hair. I started to go gray in my mid-thirties, so I’ve been having my hair professionally colored since that time. This really wasn’t a problem for many years, but the interval at which it was necessary kept getting shorter and shorter.