Monday, March 30, 2009

ugly confession.CLOTHES

My parents separated when I was young—their divorce was finalized before I hit age six. And although the years of my youth were difficult, I now see our situation as a late-blooming blessing.

I spent my weekends split between two homes, two sets of rules, & two different environments. My dad lives out in the country—I played in the hay, ran through the apple orchards, & took sunset rides into the mountains on horseback. Looking back, my time there was full of imagination & magic (& hives from the hay…but that is another story). The adventures my mom & I had were entirely different in their own right—she was the creative parent, always prompting my imagination, challenging me to think in new ways & see the world through different glasses. She made alphabet flashcards each year—cards which I would fill with treasures from our nature walks. I glued sand on the “S” card, leaves on the “L” card; and we wrote our memories on the back (I really need to find those, by the way…). I was always welcome in the kitchen…and she encouraged creative concoctions—which she’d hesitantly cheeked (& probably spit out when I left the room with self-satisfied glory). Both of my parents were overwhelmingly supportive…& my childhood memories abound with leisurely days of creativity & imagination.

The time I spent between two homes & two parents also meant that I was torn between two closets. Albeit trivial, I felt like I was constantly traveling—my life was always in flux. If I needed my red shirt on Wednesday but left it at my Dad’s on Sunday, I had to go without. And when I forgot my makeup over the weekend & needed it for school on Monday morning, I went to school looking like a zombie.

My departure for college meant that, officially, my “visitation” requirements were null—although I will add that both sets of parents were increasingly understanding of my desire to spend the weekends on retreats & with my friends during high school. I was looking forward to my time at Gonzaga—it meant new opportunities, new challenges…and quite ridiculously, that I would no longer feel like I was living from a suitcase. Or so I thought.

Do you know how small those little tiny closets are? WOW. I ended up leaving some of my clothes at home—the clothes I had gathered from my closets at my Dad’s, my dresser at my Mom’s. Winter came—I needed my sweaters…but they were back home in storage. We had a surprisingly warm day in October…I wanted my jean shorts…but they were back home in storage.

And wouldn’t you know, I’m still living the life of two closets (at least it isn’t a closet life, huh?!). My work clothes stay with me on my rotations…the remainder of them have their home in North Carolina. But when I want to take a trip to Walmart on a Thursday night & all I have to wear are black pants & a button-up shirt or my pajamas, it causes a bit of issue for me! It is no secret that I’m a planner—I like schedules, I like to know what is happening next…I like to be prepared.

{Note: Let me just say that I did not plan on writing this much about my clothes…who knew closets could be so interesting!?}

My closet “situation” has, in my psychologically minded-brain, lead to an increased inclination towards clothing. I LOVE CLOTHES. There, I said it.

And unfortunately, I have lots of them. I realized last week that in my mind, I’m prone to buying more (always on sale, mind you) because I can’t see all of what I have--& my brain is filled with ridiculous pathologies & useless medical information—so I can’t remember what I have, either.

I’m realizing that God doesn’t want me to be so focused on clothing. The truth is that I treasure it—I love what I have… (do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds when I see it in a sentence?!). But lately I’ve found myself overly drawn to looking, to wanting more. And in the meantime, I’m missing the simpler pleasures of life: rolling in the hay, running through the apple orchards, spending an afternoon on a nature walk.

Time has given me the insight—although difficult to swallow—that, in an odd way, my clothing has overwhelmed me. Washing it. Caring for it. Loving it... (again, ridiculous…). My tendency to feel like I “need more” has taken its grip…and I’d like it to stop. Now please don’t think that this “love for clothing” as caused any problems in our marriage, damage to our bank account, or violence at the after-Thanksgiving Day-sales…it certainly has NOT.

The “clothing” category of our budget has rarely gone over (aside from a few times with unexpected purchases)…and I always make it a point to buy items on sale. We haven’t suffered because of this…the point, though, is that it is consuming.

I want my treasure to be somewhere else…whether it is in creativity, relationships, service, or all of the above…

And so…I’m instigating a change—on my part entirely. I’m challenging myself in a new way—one that will certainly be difficult for me over the course of the next year (especially living with two cute, stylish sisters who socialize by shopping). I’m going to try to abandon my tendency toward more while Jon is deployed. With the goal of saving as much money as possible, I’m going to honestly assess the motives behind my actions in buying clothes. Given, there will be some items I need (hello yellow pit stains??!)…but realizing that this will be difficult for me, I’m going to try.

What is at the back of your closet? Where do you find your material idols? How do they consume you?...and what steps can you take to get rid of them?


Brianna said...

I found your blog through a message you left on another blog "MY Longest Year" Let me just say that I love your blog, and I think you are an amazing person. I have been thinking about what consumes me too, that takes me away from what Jesus wants me to be. The computer, and T.V consumes me. If I weren't so consumed by these things I think cooking, and sewing would consume me, which would probably serve more people, because it would be a way for me to share with others by craft... but it is nice to read that I am not the only one that struggles with this. I really enjoy reading your blog, you are an excellent writer. God Bless!

joyfuliving said...

darn the secret level at macy's!! ;)

Katie @ said...

Super thoughts on clothes! Isn't it amazing what we start realizing about our habits? I think the huge closet spaces make it so easy. That's where we were when I said, "no more!" too.

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