I’ve posted before about when I moved to Las Vegas, cramming everything I owned into my car and driving 2,000 miles across North America. After surgery I’m having difficulty lifting and moving things and trying to keep my space tidy has intensified for me the dilemma of materialism.
At this point in my life I’ve consistently had more money and earning power than I’ve ever had before. (Key word is consistently) Even when I was a poor college kid, though, I would collect things. Whether it were cool plastic cups or Incredibles tee shirts I was always the queen of employee discounts and clearance sales – I was good at finding ways to find things that would express myself and make me smile.
Let me be clear – I wasn’t focused on showing my status by spending money, it was surrounding myself with things that expressed my likes, my point of view. I wasn’t a hoarder but it was similar I guess.
After I moved down here and had to keep carting my life around in my car with little or no money I came to appreciate not acquiring things. When I moved into my own two-bedroom apartment almost 3 years ago I didn’t have much in the way of furniture. I didn’t even have a TV. My need for furniture subsided and I slowly got focused on clothes.
I’ve got more clothes than I can wear. It’s still not about status – this time it’s more about an idea of “replacing”. I’ve gone down two dress sizes and had to buy new clothes a couple of times, so on top of “replacing” the things I’ve left behind I still feel like I need to replenish my clothes.
How many pairs of jeans does one girl need? How many shirts, dresses, sweatshirts are really vital to life? Over the last two or three years my self image has changed too. At first I went from being comfortable with being a curvy size 10-11 to feeling insecure in Vegas culture. I lost some weight and started to feel a little better about myself until I went through some unrelated issues and just stopped eating out of nerves. People commented on how sickly I looked and I honestly started to miss my curves. Now I’m at the point where I realize I’m on the doorstep of 30 but at the same time I really do look the best I ever have. I feel the best I ever have, save for that I currently can’t exercise much because of recovery.
Once I get a handle on how I see myself I don’t think I’ll need to keep buying things. I know that the clothes I wear won’t change me and what size I wear doesn’t determine my value. A small part of the problem is that I travel to Europe for work frequently and I feel the need to fit in. I’m starting to embrace the sexiness and maturity I finally feel and once I get a handle on that I think the rest will fall by the wayside.
Weeding out the toys, books, and cups is easy. Clothes are harder – I really need to get a handle on my self image and NOT use clothes shopping as self-discovery.