I have a shopping addiction. Well, I should specify: I actually don’t like shopping, it really stresses me out, but I LOVE clothing. Anything with ruffles, ribbons, lace, or bows and I’m totally hooked. It’s my drug, my vice, and also my passion. What’s a girl to do? Well that’s tricky since goodness knows I’ve tried to give up the glam in times past and just haven’t been able to kick the habit. Now here we are, 2013, and I’m back to dreaming about a life where clothes don’t concern me and Anthropologie doesn’t call to me. Here’s where the fine line needs to be drawn. I adore a beautiful outfit. In fact, dressing up for my day makes me feel alive, vibrant, and on top of the world. If I’m not looking my best, I’m not feeling my best. So I don’t want to put the kibosh on shopping altogether, but rather on the kind of shopping that owns me. The kind where a particularly expensive dress sinks into the corners of my mind until I’ve become so infatuated with it that the only thing I can do is buy it. Clothing in itself isn’t bad, owning pretty things is obviously awesome, but needing it is a place I don’t want to be.
Finding Balance in Addiction
I know how to combat addiction. I’m a health coach for crying out loud! But this time it’s personal and more than that, it’s spiritual. So this is just something I want to do. For me, for God, for a life lived and loved, not spent wanting or desiring. Over and over again I open my bible to the same place: “You can’t serve God and money” Matthew tells me. I believe him. I know it. But I can’t shake it. I sneak new purchases past my husband despite having asked him to hold me accountable. I try, I fail, I serve money. I just need a sliver of balance. A way to tip the scales away from fashion I need and over to fashion I adore. There’s a difference. One is fun, the other destructive. Even as I write this I’m drowning in my own need for new clothes. I’m thinking about ending this post right here and heading over to the Madewell website to see what’s new. I want a new dress, need a new swimsuit, long for something ruffled and pretty to get me through the winter. That’s just it though. At the end of the day, I don’t want to need anything.
Learning to Forgive Myself… Again
There is something I’ve realized about myself in all of this and I hope its something that could make a difference. For one, my motivation isn’t debt, or that I’ve spent myself into oblivion. I haven’t. It’s God. As always, I’m here to serve and that means not my own desires, but His. For two, if I’m feeling blue even the tiniest sparkle will do. A headband, new blush, or a sweet vintage find, are just as fulfilling (if not even more satisfying) than a $300 dress from Free People. Sure, it’s easy to walk into Nordstrom on a bad day and find something beautiful and expensive that guarantees to give my soul a pick-me-up. I’ve done that, I’ve been there, but I have changed. Something in me realizes before a big purchase that I will feel guilt later. Something dings in the back of my mind warning me that this isn’t what I want for myself, that this is the very ugly habit I’ve been trying to forsake. So instead I forgive. I realize that this is me here. My soul. My wants and desires at play. This is a comfort, something pretty to give me a boost and head back on my way. Now I realize I don’t need that.
I’m not going to give up shopping, I never will. I still adore it and as long as I can keep balanced and in-check, I have no desire to stop wearing beautiful things. But I don’t need to spend this much. I don’t need the easy out, the big purchase, the big guilt. Instead I want tiny pleasures. Beautiful things that I treasure and admire and know in my heart will cherish throughout my lifetime. Impulse shopping won’t do that. My impulses go to Goodwill the next year just as my husband said they would. So this time I’m OK with myself as I am. I realize my flaws, we all have them. But to let myself be consumed by them isn’t healthy either. So this year, while I vow once more to keep fashion from owning me, I vow also to forgive myself. After all, I’m already forgiven by God, by my husband, by everyone that knows me. It’s my own mind that keeps giving me shaft, and I know I deserve better from myself.