Monday, 15 February 2016

I know, I know. This is not a very inspiring picture, but it’s my best offering instead of a selfie, after I got put off them by realizing pictures of me were all over the internet like a virulent rash. It’s a picture of what I’m looking at instead of a picture of me. So it has my eyes in it, if you see what I mean.

Ooh, yes – and – now this is worth commenting on – see that houki hanging on the door? That Japanese brush?

I started searching around for a soft brush to sweep out my room with in the mornings when I get up – but something beautiful, none of your nylon bristles and bright blue handle nonsense. Oh. Apologies if yours is like that and you like it. Never mind – moving on.

My searches eventually took me to this website. Oh, my. Take your time there. Look at all the pages. Made me want to throw everything in our house out and start again, sourcing our entire household implementary from that shop alone. However, as things stood, realistically, I didn’t even have the dosh for one brush – I mean, £85 ?!?  So, hey.

Undeterred, I continued to search, and eventually found a little houki straight outa Japan, meant for entrance ways and porches – so, pretty much intended for the size my room is, then. For a fiver. £5. ($7.50ish) And there it now hangs on my door. Bamboo handle, soft bristles from some kind of Japanese plants. Absolutely perfect in every way. Result! If curious, search on "japanese brush houki" – just "houki" leaves you lost in a gargantuan array of manga characters.

But that’s not what I meant to say. Had a difficult few days. Health trouble, people trouble, anxiety trouble – yawnworthiness in abundance. Not so much Te Deum as tedium. Life writ large, in my terms – so life writ medium in anyone else’s. Medium tedium, that's been me. Tired. Cross. Defeated. 

And what did I notice? It made me want to go shopping!!!

First, I wanted to buy clothes. Now, it has taken me much effort and application to get my wardrobe down to this.

A triumph, I can tell you – because what you see there does for every eventuality my life contains – meetings, preachings, walkings, gardenings, slouching-aboutings, visitings, cookings, houseworkings – everything I need to do.

So when I found myself Wistfully Wandering eBaywards (aye – deliver us from eBay!) I thought – woah – what? Don’t buy anything more for mercy’s sake – you only just weeded out what you had before. So I didn’t.

And then – weirder still – I took it into my head to buy a bed.

This – hang on, let me take a pic – this is where I sleep. 

It’s where I’m sitting right now. Very comfy. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. “Step away from your shopping habit!” says I firmly unto myself. And, on second thoughts, “What’s the matter?”

And I realized what it was. Trying to assuage the difficulties of things I cannot change by changing what I can even though I don’t need or want to. Trying to make myself more – more effective, powerful or something – by purchases. The endless game of acquiring and ditching. Purse-bulimia.

And this made me look harder at the real sore points – the things I really do want to change.

So – ha! Minimalism strikes again. It is good medicine. Or I think so, anyway. Takes me right out of distraction and into reality. Gandhi would approve, I think. And the Buddha. And Jesus.


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Purse-bulimia is astoundingly apt for my book habit. Mea culpa.

Pen Wilcock said...



But let me not stand in the way of your book-buying habit . . .

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

LOLOL, I have got about 100 books I have culled from my book collection in a giant heap, waiting to be taken to various places (local church, charity shop etc), and I still had to go in a charity shop and look at their books, which resulted in bringing home another six.
There is no hope for me :-)

Ganeida said...

I head to books too. Sorry Pen. The real world just makes me sad.

Pen Wilcock said...

Elizabeth - the Badger (my husband) has the exact same track record! x

Ganeida - Books are possibly an aspect of the real world, aren't they? x

MaryR said...

Like Elizabeth, there is no hope for me where books are concerned - and she and I add to this by sending each other books as gifts. I think, for women, the itch is always there to perhaps have something new, especially if we're down. I'm sorry you're feeling like that, Pen, but take it from me: YOU ARE NOT INEFFECTIVE! Far from it. Take heart and keep smiling.

rebecca said...

It might be epidemic - the "tired, cross, defeated" thing...

I said to my husband this morning (through tears), "I'm not depressed, really. Just tired. Not sleepy tired. Weary!" It's hard to explain. Shopping is not my particular way to assuage my symptoms. Procrastination is. A lazy sort of despair. Not knowing where to start and/or starting but stopping too soon. Lingering pain from a fall doesn't help, but is no excuse....

There. Just facing it and writing it all out helps. Well, I THINK it helps. The results will tell.

Southern Catholic said...

Wow! I am impressed with your wardrobe.

My problem with clothing is that I frequently change sizes. I have been trending up in size for several years now. So I store boxes of clothes in various sizes with the idea that when I lose weight I won't have to buy new clothes. Of course, I know this is unrealistic thinking. What better way to celebrate losing weight than to buy a new outfit?

I will not broach the subject of book bulimia...

Pen Wilcock said...

MaryR - Hooray! You got in! You identified all the pizzas or garden furniture or whatever challenge the security-bot set you! Not ineffective? Why, thank you! xxx

Rebecca - Is it a time of year thing, maybe? Ready for the sun. My Badger has been the same today, where normally he has all the vim of a labrador on speed. Roll on summer, I say.

Southern Catholic - I have the EXACT SAME problem! My winter solution to that is having shirts two sizes too big, and everything else knitted - stretchy jersey skirts and trousers, knitted jackets. So everything has give. My summer solution is loose, waistless lagenlook dresses in a big size. This way I can grow and shrink and my clothes don't care, they just accommodate. Away with the tailoring! I was very VERY inspired by Jennifer Scott's TED talk - it revolutionised my wardrobe dilemmas, and I do believe I've cracked it at last. She's here:

BLD in MT said...

This post is fantastic. From your eyes to your words. Wonderful--and yes, I wish I could buy out that shop, too! Such warmth in natural materials that one would never find in the synthetic, the er, blue handled brooms, so to speak! Also, you make me laugh!

And thanks for that TedTalk link!

Pen Wilcock said...


Waving! xx