Wednesday, 31 March 2021

730 things — Day 20 of 365

A couple of days ago, Suzan said something that made me stop and think. She commented: "My mother loves to buy clothes and doesn't understand I don't like to shop much at all."

It snagged my attention. I asked myself, "Do I like to shop? Do I enjoy clothes shopping?" I mean, I buy a lot of clothes (and other things), and always have, but do I enjoy it, honestly?

My husband says every now and then that he thinks shopping is my hobby. I see why he says it, but at the same time it doesn't quite ring true to me.

I could see I needed to think about this.

I've noticed that I buy clothing (and other things) as a psychological method of getting ready — of resourcing myself. It's not that I feel inadequate exactly, more that sometimes I feel I don't have what it takes to face what's coming towards me, so I reach outside myself for back-up, to make sure I'm kitted out and ready to meet what's inside that dust cloud on the horizon. A form of prepping, I guess.

Officiating at funerals is a good example of what I mean. Over the years I've officiated at hundreds of funerals, but nowadays I almost always decline that opportunity, even though it feels like such a privilege and honour. On the rare occasions I say "yes", I can guarantee that as the day approaches I will begin to panic that I don't have the right things to wear; and that's when I start shopping.

I was required to speak at my mother's funeral in January, and the legacy of that is a very good black cashmere coat (secondhand from eBay) and a pair of high quality black boots (extremely expensive and not second-hand — my feet are hard to fit). I don't like the coat and I don't like the boots and I don't like the mental association. I bought them because I thought them appropriate, but they are not my kind of thing. I am weary of attire donned to make a good impression, and of trying to summon enough energy to do something very difficult by dressing as if I could.

I have to officiate at a funeral tomorrow. I'll either wear the black boots and black coat (if it's cold) one more time, and then offer them to someone who would like them; or, if I'm feeling especially self-confident (and if it's warm, because spring's here), I'll  wear my regular clothes and just be who I am. I'm not sure which way to go. 

But I am entirely certain that coat and those boots are the next things leaving my life. 


Suzan said...

It has been a life long struggle about clothes. My mother is very demanding and wants everything her way. She has retrieved clothing from charity bins. One very babyish silk dress she made me when I was nearly 21 has been hanging for 48 years. It has never been worn and no one else has wanted it. It is rotting now but it still isn't allowed to go.

I have bought so many clothes because mum said what I had to wear was unsuitable. Most were worn very reluctantly once. Last year my Bethany decided she would choose the outfit I would wear to her wedding. It was synthetic and uncomfortable and I hated it. I don't think it will ever be worn again. Meanwhile when Philippa married a few months later she said choose what you feel happy in. Despite it being a very fancy dress for me I have worn it twice. Choosing it took no time either.

For me the secret is to shop alone and only yo look got a short while. If I don't find anything on that shop I will try again later because a tired and cranky me is not ideal.

Pen Wilcock said...

May you find the secret of creating and maintaining firm boundaries. May you be peaceful, may you be contented, may you learn how to stand in your own space, may you be strong. I bless you with the love of the Lord. Blessed be. xxx

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Truly I think my mother could be diagnosed as a narcissist. She wants everything to be her way and does not seem to understand that she crosses boundaries. I have had outright battles with her over the years. She seems to think because she is my mother I should do all she wants etc and that is her version of respect. I know she won't change but there is nobody else to care for her.

God grant you a happy and blessed Easter.

Pen Wilcock said...