(Almost) a work of art

When the indulgent husband and I married nearly twenty-two years ago, we made an idealistic young-person vow to make our lives a work of art.

If I have learned anything from my seven week foray into seeking contentment by buying nothing, it is that loving what I own is an artform. I am learning the importance of treasuring what I own, of spending as much time caring for it and enjoying it as I might otherwise spend looking for or fantasizing about something new.

According to the rules of my buy no clothes in 2021 challenge, I must make sure that everything in my wardrobe gets put into my Pantheon of Legends Journal. To get there, it needs a little photograph and a quick rundown of where and when I acquired it, how much it cost (if anything, given my propensity to do clothing exchanges with friends!), and repairs or alterations I’ve done on it. I also like to mention things it looks good with, in case I hit a wall while trying to get dressed.

You can’t keep throwing money at your self-worth problems.

-the voice of reason

Pretending to be my own fashion photographer and fashion model, while using what is on hand in my own closet is its own quirky kind of fun. It forces me to view each item I currently own as deserving of a spotlight.

It becomes a choice to see my life, the current one, the one I am actually living today, as a work of art.

It’s a shift in mindset, really, and really, it is a welcome one.

I am finding significant benefit in this exercise, both in terms of wardrobe contentment and personal fulfillment. I love to make art, I like to make pretty things. I like to look at art, I like to look at pretty things.

I would be the first to admit that me, a forty-three year old mother of two, and my wardrobe, which is the result of a lifetime of haphazard shopping, happy accidents and relentless crafting, probably isn’t fodder for compelling literature.

What I find fascinating is that back in December 2020, when the idea to begin this buy-no-clothes challenge was birthed in my heart, it came along with a fully formed sentence: You can’t keep throwing money at your self-worth problems.

If I can start chipping away at my problems of self-loathing and lack of self-esteem by taking a few photos of my pretty clothes with me in them, creating positive mental pathways instead of the toxic pathways that have been there for most of my life, this challenge will have worked an unexpected miracle: to make me not hate me anymore.

““And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:28-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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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