Heartbroken? Let's Go Shopping!...eh, the downside of emotional shopping habits from a *reforming* shopaholic.Read Now
Over five years ago, I was in love. Yeah, yeah - I've in been in love since then. This love was intense. Intensely unhealthily that is. Maybe he was my Mr. Big, sure as hell wasn't my Aiden. So, for the fun of it *coughing to cover laugh* let's call him Mr. Big.
Mr. Big and I were in that kind of "relationship" that's really popular nowadays. We were friends with benefits, only I was hopelessly in love with him. He knew it. I told him. He made it clear he didn't love me...kinda.
Mr. Big: Have you ever loved someone but not enough you wanted to marry them?
Me: (Mentally) I'm gonna fuck this bitch up!
So, I did what any sane woman would do. I went shopping. I bought shoes. I bought dresses. I bought everything under the sun and killed my credit score. I killed it dead.
Now, this story might not be so bad, but I didn't break up with him. Oh no, me, in my naive state of adolesce *cough cough 20 cough cough* felt that if I stayed long enough he'd change his mind. So we ran the merry-go-round. Every few weeks he'd say something utterly soul crushing or sleep with someone else. I'd go shopping and put another dent in my credit card. Hell, I started opening credit cards.
All of this shopping bought me a fantastic wardrobe. I'm talking everything from fast-fashion to high end. I was wearing Jimmy Choo red stilettos and bulking up on $50 dresses at Maurices and had more Wal-mart jewelry that any one person could hope to wear in a life time. I spent enough money that I could've visited Paris for two weeks and stayed in a four-star hotel eating out and shopping. Okay - I really dug myself into a debt dungeon.
Oddly, though - that debet isn't the bad part of the story. Can you believe that? Well, these thousands of dollars in purchases, they amounted to nothing. This past week I was decluttering my closetest. I'd kept most of the items in storage. I can count on two hands how many items I'd used. Over 200 pieces, less than 10 didn't still have the tags on them. I'd wasted all the money for nothing.
Why didn't I wear these clothes? It's simple - they had a negative memory attached to them. Every time I'd open my closet and see that wonderful dress or shoes, I'd remember the fight that sent me into a shopping spiral. Then I'd scan on and pick something else. Something I'd purchased to celebrate a success or while having girl-time with my BFF.
It hit me, seeing the massive piles of clothing fresh and unworn. When I went shopping to cure a broken heart that piece of clothing was forever marked. I could never see past the emotional connection to the beauty that was the piece anymore. And, worse, each time I opened my closet and saw it, I relived that negativity.
I got out of that relationship. I moved on with my life. Let me tell you, Mr. Big and I rang up one hell of a shit storm first. I mean, just thinking about how it ended makes me sick.
I'd moved those clothes to storage because I hadn't wanted to see them anymore. I let them sit unloved and unwanted in a dusty (actually it was air-tight - I worship my clothing) box in some shed. I felt like I needed to keep them because I spent money on them. I held onto them and I held onto the memories and feelings.
Letting them go - it was liberating.
What I walked away with was knowing that shopping out of emotional distress was only hurting me. I couldn't fix an emotion with objects. Gucci boots don't cure everything and Besty Johnson isn't a bandaid to fasten my broken heart back together. Only experience was the cure.
Since, I haven't stopped shopping when broken hearted. No. No. I'm a girl. I like shopping. I like the beautiful piles and the smells and the helpful clerks telling me I'm beautiful. But...I degress. I still shop, but now I do it smartly. I don't take my money with me when I shop out of emotional pain. Eh, I bring enough for a Jamba Juice. We all need a good Jamba Juice to pep us up for a moll-marathon work out.
Not having money with me keeps me from buying items I will regret but it doesn't rob me of the experience. I still get girl time. I still get sales clerks telling me that's a hot rebound dress. And, if I find something that I truely love, I allow myself time to heal then I go back and try it on again. This time during a fun shopping spree so that I only have positive emotions tied to the item.
It's hard. Fuck it's hard. It's so hard it needed a curse word.
Now, you're probably wondering what happened to all the clothing? I sold it and donated the rest. I made a pretty good penny too. I tried out those online resell apps. Nothing. I tried Facebook. Nothing. I wasted a ton of time taking pictures. Now, plenty of girls make money using online selling apps for clothing. I just wasn't one of them. I'm sure I did it wrong or wasn't willing to wait for a result. Whichever. I'm pretty impatient. I sold mine locally. I packed it all up and took it to Buffalo Exchange. This is a West-Cost USA store chain for used brand-name items. A lot of big cities in Cali and Oregon have them. You probably have something near you....if you live in a big city in a fashion-driven country.
The rest I donated to a charity that provides clothing to low-income teenagers, children, and parents during the major back-to-school and change over seasons. (Late Aug and Early Dec) There are going to be some very fashionable well-dressed kids in Portland.
Part of the journy to taking control over your life is to really ask yourself the hard-hitting questions. Be brutal. Be ruthless. Be honest with yourself. No one can judge you for what's in your own head, they aren't mind-readers. Flip off the one who broke your heart not your credit limit. (It didn't do anything to you!)
Daily Decluttering: Day 1
Decluttering is a huge commitment, but it doesn't have to be all or nothing right outside of the gate. That works for some people, but not everyone - we're all unique. So, another way to work through the decluttering process is to purge one type of item, one room, and/or one category a day. Let's ease into this. Let's purge something that most people aren't going to miss first.
Yes, I want you to open that fearful catch-all drawer. The crap drawer. The sauce drawer. The random drawer. Whatever you call it. We all have it....or at least everyone I know has one. It's full of screws, sauce packets, chopstick and manuals for kitchen gadgets (some that we don't even have anymore).
Now, I know the argument. Those are something I'm going to need. So ask yourself - honestly and ruthlessly - "When was the last time you used one of these packets INSTEAD of your own bottle of sauce? And this time cannot be when you received the packets."
Didn't like your answer did you?
I know I didn't like mine. I'm always going out to eat (sadly realizes she is probably unhealthy) because when I've got finals and a book deadline it's just easier to get takeout. I love this place near me called "Joe's." If you live in PDX you've got to try it. I'll link it for you.
They are very thoughtful of their customer's needs when you order food to go. They always provide a stack of 3+ napkins and 2 ketchup packets. Now, when I get french fries I like to dip them in a homemade fry sauce. When I say homemade, what I really mean is a swirl of ranch (and or mayo) with ketchup. Disgusting right? Such a yummy disgusting!
I always end up with one packet left. My roommate doesn't dip at all. So we have 3 packets and nothing to do with them. I won't let her throw them away, that's food waste. And, not to rant about it today - I hate food waste.
I toss them into the drawer. I never use them again. Today, I challenge you to go to wherever you keep those pesky packets. Purge them. I'm not going to get mad if you just throw them away (at least not to your face) so if you need to - do it. Donate them. Leave them outside near the trash for the homeless or freegans. (We have a lot of that in Portland) Whatever it takes to get them out of the house.
Here is the thing with donating. If you leave something in your house, waiting for a donation, for more than a week it can become a part of your stuff again. Every week that passes in which you leave something in the house the more likely you are to integrate that item into your life again. It might be 'in the way' so you just toss the bag in a closet and forget about it. Someone could be cleaning and put the packets back in the drawer. So, if the only way to keep them 'gone' is to throw them away - do it. I hate saying that, but do it!
A great tip for cutting down on this waste is to request that no one gives you packets. If you know a place is likely to put them into your bag, just politely ask that they skip the sauce packets.
Here's my daily question for you; "What are you going to do with the space in that drawer? Or, is there any space yet?"
This is my vow to speak frankly and honestly....about me, about life, & about
I am a blogger, writer, and producer. My style is blunt, unapologetic and honest. I blog about lifestyle and confessions. I am constantly on the journey to becoming a better person and I share that journey. I do not tailor myself to easily offended or underage audiences. So, be prepared for cursing when it feels natural, adult topics, and highly controversial topics.