The Unexpected Challenge

One thing I hadn’t considered very closely when I undertook this challenge to buy no clothes in 2021 has to do nothing at all with clothes. It has to do with the fact that I need to stop overindulging on snacks and stress-eating.

Okay, so this does have something to do with clothes, in that if I am to make it a year without buying any new clothes, this requires that my body size remain equivalently distributed for this whole year, because I won’t, according to my resolution for the year to which I am steadfast, be buying any new clothes in 2021.

Always the fan of the wrap dress and wrap sweater, my clothes can accommodate some ups and downs. But a precious few of my favorites (my denim shirt, my jeans) are absolutely size dependent and leave zero wiggle room.

Here is something that I am discovering, however, which closely links the “don’t buy/don’t covet” aspect of my challenge in a surprising way to the fact that I need to maintain an equivalent body size: The urge for something new, which drives my covetousness in the wardrobe department, is very similar to the urge that drives me to stress-eat and binge.

I am fascinated by the similarities: In the past, I could have walked into a store, wanting for absolutely nothing, and seen, oh, I don’t know, a fabulous kelly green scarf and immediately felt the need, the urge, the drive to possess it, as if this one thing would make me whole. I would have ended up at the cashier’s desk with that scarf. It is much the same with my stress-eating. I am not hungry. I want nothing. Yet I open the fridge and stand in front of it as if something inside that fridge will make me feel whole.

The reptile brain, the urge brain, pushes me in ways that literally feel like I am in survival mode. We are talking here about basic, human urges: to wear clothes and eat food.

So I return to one of the earliest questions my Buy No Clothes in 2021 challenge raised for me: What is it that would actually make me feel whole? What is it that I am actually lacking? I have clothes. I have food. I have a place to live. I have community.

I have more than enough.

I genuinely hope that by the end of this year, I will have an answer the question of what it would take to feel whole. If I don’t have an answer, at least I will have a solution to dismiss the thoughts which are lying to me and telling me I am not.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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