So now what?

No, really? So now what? I asked myself.

What am I supposed to do now? Just waltz into a thrift store, or a sock store with the wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket? (–Umh, Lily? Umh, hunny, to what cash are you referring?)

After a year of being hypervigilant about my shopping habits, of curtailing my impulses, of redirecting my covetous thoughts, of avoiding temptation at all cost, am I to be trusted to not go hog wild?

There is a very simple answer to that: NO.

And, to be absolutely honest, the fact that I have not been permitted to leave my apartment–nay, nary a foot outside of my bedroom–since my challenge ended is a very good thing.

Before I got my positive you-know-what (just replace the last two letters of covet with an ID, in case you haven’t been following along) test result last week, I had already informed my sister that the minute those scalawags were back in school, I was taking myself to the thrift store, my favorite one, the one that I have –no joke–had several extremely vivid dreams about in the last three weeks with my list of items that I really did want and think I needed.

Do you want to know what was on my list?

Wait. Don’t judge.

Before I tell you what was on my list: please don’t go changing your opinion of me just because I am now allowed to shop and am no longer frustrating myself. If you’re here for the self-flagellation, don’t worry, there will be more of that. I still have plenty of rough edges to sand.

But, honestly, the Buy-No-Clothes-In 2021 Challenge did its work: I have re-vamped, in some very practical ways, how I deal with my self-worth problems. It ain’t perfect, but I have seen what I am capable of, and the difference it makes when I speak kindly to myself and when I react to my shortcomings with curiosity instead of judgment. It’s freakin’ revolutionary.

And, let’s be honest, the fact that my podcast premieres tomorrow, and that this podcast, in all its magic wand and fairy dust splendor, is my reward for dealing with my self-worth problems has made every single moment of homesickness for my favorite thrift store worth it.

So yes. I have a list of items that I want and have saved up a little bit of cash to purchase.

Except that I have been thwarted by the Fates!!!!

The List

  • Nice black leather wear-everywhere boots because my Elf Boots ain’t gonna survive the winter. (My father made this happen for me. He is a saint.)
  • Replacement Levi’s in my cut and color (No guarantee they would be at the thrift store, but ya never know)
  • A few winter dresses (I only have summer dresses–plus, I need something to go with those gorgeous black leather boots, ahem.)
  • A real leather perfecto (that’s what the French call a motorcycle jacket. I’ve wanted this for six years. Six years, ever since my sister-in-law wore one to her own wedding.)
  • Socks. (Yay! Glamour!)
  • A zebra wrap dress (Oh, yes, I am still on that. Did my father not buy me a zebra dress with pockets? Yes he did. Am I wearing it this very second? Yes I am (I am out of my COVID sweats and back to–at least looking like–myself.) Nonetheless. I still want a zebra wrap dress. I just love wrap dresses. I feel like my very existence depends on a zebra wrap dress. Not my self-worth, mind you. Only my very existence.)
  • A black full-length slip (for those winter dresses, and of course, the zebra wrap dress. We have entered the old lady who swallowed a fly-level logic here. I know. But remember, my podcast is coming out tomorrow. I’ve done my time.)

That’s it. That’s the list.

The Questions

My friend Deana said, “You need some questions to go with your list.”

Here are Deana’s questions (God bless this woman for being such a good friend):

  • Can you make seven outfits with this from what you have in your closet?
  • Is it something unique that you don’t already have?
  • If you really want it, can you take two other things out of your closet to make room?
  • Is it an upgrade of something you already have and will you replace it?

Curse this woman for being so practical! (No! Not really! I’m kidding!! Well, she is practical.)

Where I am hung up on is the “taking two things out” to make room thing. On every other point, I feel pretty confident about my list.

Try something different

Since I have been bedridden for the entire year (haha! Lily got her sense of humor back, although her sense of smell has not returned), I made a fateful decision.

I downloaded an app.–an app I’ve heard friends rave about here in France called Vinted. It’s a Posh-Mark equivalent, a gigantic thrift store in the Cloud, if you will. Since I couldn’t go to the thrift store, I brought the thrift store to me!

This was both a brilliant idea and a very very very bad idea.

First, to dispense with the bad, I mean…come on. You know why.

But this is brilliant. Do you know how many zebra dresses there were in my size on the app? More than twenty. How many of those were wrap dresses? Exactly six. How many of those were at a price point I was willing to engage with? Exactly two. Which one had floaty little sleeves, just the way I like ’em? Exactly one.

And basta. I found my zebra wrap dress. It is on the way to my house right this instant. I bought it on January 1, 2022. I was still in the throes of my sickness but darn it, I have priorities, people.

I found exactly my cut and color Levi’s, in “like new condition” at a price that was probably better than I would have found at the thrift store. This is also on its way to my house.

And…Oh My Goodness…I studied probably thirty different perfectos until I got my choices down to three. My mother, bless her, will be buying me my six-years-in-the-waiting perfecto for Christmas. (Thank you, Mama!)

Once I have that perfecto in my grubby little paw, I will be deleting the app. This isn’t about my self-worth anymore. I just don’t need anything else, but the temptation to browse is just too strong. It is in the browsing that the little cockroaches of “I want” and “I need” start to procreate. I do not need cockroaches. I need zebras.

It’s a start

I’m really quite glad I didn’t end up at the thrift store. I wouldn’t have been able to keep to my list, not in the face of all the beautiful things, the existence of which I wouldn’t have suspected until I was touching them.

The most critical virtues that are forming the edge pieces of this part of my puzzle are accountability, honesty and lucidity.

I actually feel quite solid in my footing today. I will feel even better once that app is off my iPad!

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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